Annually, we at INSYMMETRY CREATIONS publish a set of end-of-year articles, one of which is always Top/Notable music of that year. This year we are partnering with the Midwest Metal Show, so if you are reading the article on the INSYM sites, we hope you'll check out what MWM has to offer. Likewise, if you are seeing this for the first time on MWM, we hope you'll check out everything we do on the INSYM side (like the Heirs of Isildur, Tales From Nocturnia, and Misfitz Clubhouse comics, our own metal music, movie reviews, and more). Insymmetry Creations Links: WEBSITE FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM Midwest Metal Show Links: WEBSITE FACEBOOK
One of the bands on this year's list has the catch phrase 'Stay Tech', and so as not to go against their wishes, the vast majority of what is on the list this year leans heavily that way. That doesn't mean we tried exclusively to pigeon-hole the list into that genre, but the fact remains that 2021 saw some significant releases in that realm.
We know there's another article already on MWM and there are no duplicates between our two lists - different strokes for different folks. Hopefully you'll check out both of these articles and will find some new gems you'd previously not have been exposed to otherwise.
FORMAT: I'm not gonna sit here and say I've heard every single album produced across the entire year. What I WILL say is that I heard a TON and if it grabbed me, it's on the list. We'll talk INDIVIDUAL SONGS that blew me away, favorite 'NEW TO ME' band, FULL ALBUMS that rocked, and then finally the TOP ALBUM of the year. ********
INDIVIDUAL SONGS THAT BLEW ME AWAY This doesn't mean that there's not a great album attached to the songs below, it simply means this SONG caught me and needs recognition.
ARCHSPIRE - DRONE CORPSE AVIATOR
If Nathan Explosion from Dethklok was a genetically engineered cyborg (and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways), he'd be Oli Peters, vocalist of ARCHSPIRE. The band stated the motivation for this video was to 'use special effects to blow up their own heads'. I think the same thing happened to just about every fan while listening.
BERRIED ALIVE - Blood Orange Speaking of genetically engineered cyborgs, many have a hard time believing BERRIED ALIVE main man Charles Caswell produces what he does without it being 'technologically enhanced'. I don't care if he's genetically enhanced, technologically manipulated, an alien life form, or some combination of the above. What he does is badass and that's what matters.
ABIOTIC - IF I DO DIE The breakdown at 3:47 is reason enough for this song to make the list. One of the nastiest, gnarliest, most vicious of the year.
LORNA SHORE - TO THE HELLFIRE Lorna Shore heard Abiotic's nasty end of song breakdown and said 'hold my beer'! The reaction videos to this song are some serious gold.
LUTHARO - LOST IN A SOUL
Every album by this band has one serious standout song. This song is one of the heaviest and most notable they've ever released. Vocalist Krista Shipperbottom will be a breakout star in the coming years.
GYZE - SAMURAI METAL You know I have a love for metal from the other side of the pacific, after featuring bands like WAGAKKI BAND and CHTHONIC in previous year's articles. GYZE is catchy and silly, but we also have to give them credit for all the legit cameos they have in this video!
CYNIC - Mythical Serpents After the deaths of multiple founding members, I wasn't sure what to expect from a new release from Florida's CYNIC. It was misplaced worry. This song may just be the most mature they've done to date.
INTERLOPER - 'Pathkeeper' Rarely do I see a band that 'slowed their role' that still appeals to me. Interloper can go in that exception list. Their early uber-tech material is some of my favorite. I did not expect to dig their current, more commercial material, but I was pleasantly surprised. The vocal melodies especially are beyond catchy.
(Tried to imbed the video but youtube was being cranky, so click here for the video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc5gBDvXfeE&list=PL_AgY6vmKDkB7ZC9sy_MJlsinjzBlI4lm&index=8
IRON MAIDEN- THE WRITING ON THE WALL A band the size of Iron Maiden can do anything they want. No budget is too big when it comes to their creative endeavors. This 'mini-movie' has some incredible storytelling and incorporates all that you'd expect from their trademark sound. I THOUGHT this was gonna be my favorite animated video of the year. It stayed that way for an entire week, until the NEXT video on our list eclipsed it.
INFERI - MESMERIC HORROR
These guys let supergroup Iron Maiden have one whole week to stand at the top of the animated video mountain over this past summer. They then unleashed this masterpiece on our unsuspecting world. Steph and I both like to hope that our version of them in the TALES FROM NOCTURNIA Issue #2 comic helped inspire them in some small way to blow the doors off their animated existences and take it to the next level. Whether that's true or just a figment of our imaginations, it doesn't really matter. This is the standout song from the album, and one of, if not THE top OVERALL videos of the year.
FAVORITE 'NEW TO ME' BAND THIS YEAR
VALHALORE Every year there is some band that pops up that makes me wonder how in the world they slipped under my radar. This year the most notable band that did this was VALHALORE out of Brisbane, Australia with their song 'Across The Frozen Ocean'. How did it take FOUR YEARS for me to first hear of them? Your guess is as good as mine.
TOP METAL ALBUMS
ZAC LEASER - OSTIARIOUS
Let's rewind all the way back (to what feels like) seventy-four years ago - to January 1st of 2021. The high bar for albums for the upcoming year was set as Mister Leaser decided to unleash his best written and produced album upon us all. We knew that no matter what happened in the next 364 days, we could always look back and know that there was at least ONE amazing album released in 2021. Luckily for us all, it was the first of many throughout the year.
OPHIDIAN I - DESOLATE
When 2021 started, we knew there were MANY potentially amazing releases that would come throughout the year. OPHIDIAN I, however, was not on anyone's radar. That changed when the 'DIAMONDS' video was released. Immediately everyone was enamored by this Icelandic Quintet and their incredibly fast, clean, and melodic million note riffs.
FIRST FRAGMENT - GLOIRE ETERNELLE Words escape me when trying to describe this album. Canadian tech death with incredible fretless bass and... flamenco interludes? One of the most unique and complete albums of the year. This WOULD HAVE BEEN my Album of the Year if not for one European release...
ALBUM OF THE YEAR STORTREGN - IMPERMANENCE
As the AOTY 2021 articles have started rolling out, I've been baffled at the lack of inclusion of this masterpiece. Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 - haven't seen it ANYWHERE! I was so confused that I started doubting if this was even a 2021 release (legit - I researched to make sure this wasn't a re-release by The Artisan Era or something). I can confirm that this WAS released this year, and it is the freshest breath of covid-free air I've heard in a while.
Imagine the catchiness of a MEGADETH album wrapped in Scandinavian extreme metal. This is Switzerland's greatest musical export since ELUVEITIE! The Artisan Era scooped up a true gem when signing these guys. An absolutely complete album from top to bottom with no flaws, by a mile the TENest 10 of the year.
There you have it. We hope there is something new that you were able to discover because of this article. Once your eardrums have been bludgeoned to a bloody pulp by the above masterpieces, we hope you'll have room to listen to one of the songs WE put out this year:
The above is taken from our most recent album HEIRS OF ISLDUR vs TALES FROM NOCTURNIA, which has tracks that relate to and expand both of our respective comic titles. Our next article will speak about our most influential (yet tragic) moment of the year, the untimely death of our longtime friend and musical partner COREY STEGER, during the production of this album. We hope you'll come back for that retrospective.
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