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01.11.22 January 2022 Listening Room12.20.21 Something Something 2021
03.04.21 Bring Back Prog Tournaments12.13.20 Something Something 2020
06.12.20 Let's all cry our hearts out12.12.18 2018 goes up to 11
12.17.16 Something something 2016 10.19.16 Albums that expand the borders of music
07.15.16 Coup in Turkey02.16.15 Prog Archives Pt.II
02.14.15 Prog Archives Pt.I12.24.14 A Year And Some More Days
11.21.14 Your Top 5 Bands09.07.14 Sputnikbook Maybe?
06.26.14 Digs From My Doom/gothic/folk/black Day06.25.14 Where Are You From?
06.20.14 Psychosocial Animals05.15.14 Stories And Melodies
More »

Something Something 2021

This is a significant list since it's my first one for an odd year (apparently I *can* make a year-reviw list two times in a row, look at me going!). List contains some thoughts on albums released in '21, in no particular order. Thanks especially to Dewinged and Trifolium for albums they've suggested throughout the year via their lists, to Casavir and parksungjoon for their ''beyond thrash, beyond god'' list that got me in touch with the varied and vast genre of thrash metal, RolyPoly for their ''never give up'' list with pop/hyper-pop/beat suggestions, Friday13th for the resurrection of the ''Prog Tournament'' (what an amazing ride that was) and each and every one of you I got to know and talk with through the year.

Genre: Classical (???)

A mysterious figure came out of nowhere, released five albums of eccentric piano pieces, and their real identity remains unknown to this day. Excellent for the insomniac nights.
2Anneke van Giersbergen
The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest


Not an album you would listen to for the artistic innovations, ‘’The Darkest Skies…’’ remains likeable mostly because of Anneke’s shiny personality and warm voice.
3So Hideous
None But a Pure Heart can Sing

Genre: Black Metal / Post Metal (USA)

A late-year offering that made me reconsider my Top 10, mixes jazzy explosions, orchestral runs, primal screams and groovy dialogues in the rhythmic section with apparent ease, balance and clarity.
Hushed and Grim

Genre: Prog Metal / Sludge / Alternative (USA)

Music is still one of the few fields where grief over a loved one’s death can still be the object of creative expression, and in the hands of experienced artists it can even take the form of celebration. Mastodon raise the bar for themselves with one of the most fulfilling and varied releases in their discography, broadening their sound yet preserving their identity.
5Dream Theater
A View From The Top Of The World

Genre: Progressive Metal (USA)

After a disappointing streak of albums and a subpar decade for the band, Dream Theater return with apparent inspiration, probably ignited by Petrucci’s completion of various side-projects. The final result is benefited by Labrie’s most balanced delivery in a long time.
6Unto Others

Genre: Gothic / Heavy Metal (USA)

Previously known as ‘’Idle Hands’’, Unto Others repeat the successful recipe of acts like Danzig or – more recently – In Solitude, and with questionable, cliché aesthetics but undeniable talent provide one of the best and more ferocious albums of the year.
7Rivers of Nihil
The Work

Genre: Progressive Metal / Death Metal (USA)

Undeniably one of the protagonists of last decade’s metal scene, Rivers of Nihil might have disappointed a fair share of their fanbase, however ‘’The Work’’ is an unapologetic album, bombastic, heavy, sensitive and chaotic; to me a step to the right direction mindset-wise, even if the content is not as face-grabbing as before.
8Trophy Scars
Astral Pariah

Genre: Blues Rock / Hardcore (USA)

Trophy Scars keep their discography immaculate, opting for substance over fanfare, returning six years after the phenomenal ‘’Holy Vacants’’ with an album of equal plot complexity, but different musical approach, which sacrifices nothing in its mere 30 minutes of the runtime.
9Iron Maiden

Genre: NWOBHM (UK)

Long durations and a tiresome predecessor biased most of us against this, however Senjutsu is one of Iron Maiden’s best albums in the post-2000 era. Blessed by Adrian Smith’s compositional prowess and Harris’s talent in cinematic epics, Senjutsu also shines due to Dickinson’s carefully structured vocal lines.

Genre: Progressive Rock (SWEDEN)

Leprous have been the leading force of prog in the past decade, not only because they expanded the musical vocabulary of a tired genre, but also because they sold pop sensibilities to a fanbase that glides to pretentiousness more often than not. Spontaneous and unfiltered, Aphelion is the perfect point of entry into a surprisingly varied catalogue.
11White Stones
Dancing Into Oblivion

Genre: Progressive Death (SPAIN)

Martin Mendez’s side-project for a raw, personal blend of progressive death remains interesting besides the obvious weaknesses. A strong rhythm section and a few smart ideas however can’t conceal the fact that this might have benefitted from a few more months of brainstorming and refining.
Glow On

Genre: Punk / Hardcore (USA)

You probably have already heard about how this is our generation’s Nevermind in terms of cultural impact, and although I’m still not convinced, I admit this is way more enjoyable and energetic than it has any right to be.
13Lingua Ignota

Genre: Avant Garde / Experimental (USA)

Lingua Ignota’s bone-chilling music is toned down this time around, and maybe art has lost the ability to make us kneel in awe, yet we all can’t but silently nod our heads with compassion and existential dread, and collectively wish all hell to abusers.
14Alora Crucible

Genre: Ambient / Experimental (USA)

Toby Driver is an eccentric musician of many faces, and Alora Crucible is another entity to express his soft and fragile leanings. Warm and lengthy compositions to bathe our minds in during the late hours.
15Thy Catafalque

Genre: Progressive Metal (HUNGARY)

This might be Thy Catafalque’s most balanced release, masterfully blending the many aspects of Kátai’s artistic vision. Tasteful experimentations, brooding atmospheres, and brilliant ideas are generously scattered throughout, in one of the most filling albums of the year.

Genre: Garage Rock / Punk (SPAIN)

A dynamite of an album, finds the duo in amazing form. Soaring screams, crunchy guitars and a take-no-shit attitude, the ideal ingredients for an exceptional garage punk album.
17Fucked Up
Year of the Horse

Genre: Post Hardcore / Rock Opera (USA)

My AOTY and I still can't scribble a few words to express how fantastic this is. Comprised of four lengthy ‘’Acts’’, it tells the story of a female horse and a young girl striving for salvation in an evil, dusty world in the likes of Stephen King’s The Tower.

Genre: Progressive Metal / Death Metal (FRANCE)

Another band that has played an immense role in shaping the extreme sound of the last two decades, Gojira return to their ecological sensibilities after the more personal ‘’Magma’’. With all their signature tricks present, ‘’Fortitude’’ might not bring anything new to the table, but it pridely represents the band’s jaw-dropping career.
19Neptunian Maximalism
Solar Drone Ceremony

Genre: Experimental / Drone (BELGIUM)

We are still collectively processing last year’s Eons, so NNMM help us out by offering a shorter – albeit neither denser, nor weaker – version of their sound in this captivating live recording, which doesn’t feel half as long as it is. Cosmic horror has found a new soundtrack.
Kingdom of Oblivion

Genre: Progressive Rock (NORWAY)

Motorpsycho has been an exceptionally prolific band, going through an impressive second golden age and releasing non-stop albums of significant quality. ‘’Kingdom of Oblivion’’ might not reach the highs of the albums released in the ‘10s, but it still is a great addition with fun cuts and tasteful jams.
21Liquid Tension Experiment
Liquid Tension Experiment 3

Genre: Progressive Rock / Fusion (USA)

If you opt for instrumental dexterity that brings excessive musical masturbation to the center of the stage, you can’t go wrong with LTE. Seasoned musicians that helped define the aesthetic of a whole generation of prog musicians return with their third album 22 years later, with enough experimentation to cover-up for the limited possibilities this recipe provides.
Etemen Ænka

Genre: Progressive Metal / Post Metal (SCOTLAND)

A surprise only a few could have foreseen, Dvne’s Etemen Ænka is a furious mix of progressive metal, post and a little bit of sludge, that spirals uncontrollably to many directions. A bit difficult to digest, but every bit rewarding.
23Haunt (USA-CA)
Beautiful Distraction

Genre: Heavy Metal (USA)

Not the most pioneering album of the bunch, but definitely an honest and loveable retro creation that got into rotation far more than other ‘’quality realeses’’ of the year. This might be Church’s weakest effort so far, but that’s not to say it isn’t what it claims to be: a beautiful distraction.

Genre: Alternative Metal

To me, Chevelle are what Tool might have sounded like had they gone down the path of their first EP, 72826. Tight musicianship, topped by impressive and emotive vocals, and a pinch of true brilliance in musicianship, give us one album with infectious choruses and a worthy addition to their successful career.

Genre: Symphonic Metal (NETHERLANDS)

A few bands have managed to continue unharmed by the fading of the Symphonic frenzy, but none has done it with such style as Epica. Their signature sound is as heavy and engaging as ever, however this time it feels more laid back and restrained – thankfully if you ask me. Consistency is the right word to describe them, and they have yet to disappoint us.

Genre: Gothic / Alternative (PORTUGAL)

Moonspell have solidified themselves as veterans in metal, maintaining a specific formula but not hesitating to stray a bit from time to time. In contrast to their previous album, the symphonic ‘’1755’’, this time they’re moodier, calm, and nostalgic. The music is a reflection of seasons gone by faster than promised.
27Cult of Luna
The Raging River

Genre: Post Metal (SWEDEN)

No introduction needed for this leading act of post metal. ‘’The Raging River’’ is a sweet little EP which wets our appetite for the upcoming new album in ’22 trying new things collaborating with Mark Lanegan, which while interesting, doesn’t fit as seamlessly as Julie Christmas did on 2016’s ‘’Mariner’’.
28Hayley Williams
FLOWERS for VASES / descansos

Genre: Indie (USA)

You’re Hayley Williams, the voice of a highly successful pop punk band, and you decide to release a solo album that gets praised by critics and fans alike. Instead of resting on your well-deserved laurels for a while, you return with an even more personal album, composed of little musical vignettes of your thoughts and memories. A highlight of the year for sure.
29Steven Wilson
The Future Bites

Genre: Alternative Pop (UK)

We’re in the timeline where ‘’International pop star’’ is a valid description for Steven Wilson, and while he always had pop tendencies which translated excellently within his various projects, this time around the results are unfavourable. Overtly preachy lyrics, some half-baked ideas and a few spread glimpses of potential make up for the biggest disappointment of the year, and an album that misses the same point it’s making.
Where the Gloom Becomes Sound

Genre: Gothic Metal / Dark Rock (SWEDEN)

An impressive last offering of their acclaimed line-up, sees the final contribution of guitarist Jonathan Hultén before departing. The album is an engaging amalgam of gothic, heavy metal, and black metal, with infectious licks and solos, a great vocal delivery and a distinctive attitude that will hopefully remain in the following years.

Genre: Progressive Metal (SWEDEN)

Prolific and steady with their two-year release cycle, Soen give us an adequate addition to their discography, enjoyable and predictable. You don’t change a winning team, apparently.
32Yoth Iria
As The Flame Withers

Genre: Black Meal / Heavy Metal (GREECE)

Yoth Iria is a newly formed black metal band by professional musicians who have already served acts like Rotting Christ and Varathron. An obnoxiously well balanced style of black and heavy metal, with riffs galore, crisp production and a sophisticated compositional approach, it will satisfy listeners both within and outside of the specific genre.
33Typhoon (USA-OR)
Sympathetic Magic

Genre: Indie / Folk (USA)

Our favourite of all Oregon-based, 11-piece bands, strip their sound after the grandiose ‘’Burnt Offerings’’, and invite us to a gentle afternoon stroll in the backyard garden to quietly discuss our existential anxiteties.
34Midnight Sister
Painting the Roses

Genre: Pop / Rock (USA)

A refreshing discovery of ’21, this duo plays a theatrical blend of Beatlesque blues, with rich orchestration and a warm production, with singer Juliana Giraffe channeling her inner Kate Bush. You can’t go wrong with this.
Norchestrion: Α Song For The End

Genre: Progressive Metal (GREECE)

An amazing band that carries the torch lit by Fates Warning and Dream Theater, close their trilogy of SONGS in the most satisfying way possible. An album of immaculate performances, it never feels bloated in all its 66 minutes of runtime, and is an excellent example of substantial prog song-writing.
Coal People Coal Puppets

Genre: Indie / Pop (ISRAEL)

A bizarre pop album with post rock and sludgy finishes, the vision of Israeli artist Tali Green, who’s responsible for everything you hear on ‘’Coal People…’’, except for the drums, courtesy of Rom Gov. It’s not something groundbreaking, but it’s definitely rich with ideas and unorthodox at times, which is quite enough to break the cycle of polished releases without soul.
37Stellar Death
Fragments of Light

Genre: Progressive Rock / Post – Rock (USA)

Well-crafted instrumental prog/post rock, that delves into the various depths of darkness and oblivion, sweet to the ear and soothing for the mind. Gilmouresque solos, and brooding mid-tempo compositions accompany us to well-earned climaxes, granting the album the title of stellar (pun disappointingly intended). This is no music for sunny days, unless the sun is too close and light drowns everything.

Genre: Black Metal / Post Metal (RUSSIA)

A cold production straight from the icy steppan scenery, an angelic voice from Natasha, and music incorporating all the great teachings of Alcest and Agalloch. It might not be the most radical debut album, but ticks all the right boxes to be taken seriously.
39Each Morning of the World
Central Asia PhoNographic Mornings

Genre: Ambient / Field Recordings (WORLD)

A brilliant project curated by Stéphane Marin, tries to explore the morning sounds of different areas in the world. These two albums capture the first hours of the day in Central Asia and Middle-East, when small towns and neighborhoods wake up, sometimes accompanied by original pieces.

Genre: Post Punk (UK)

Another act that has helped create the post-punk wave that is currently sweeping us, Idles’ ‘’Crawler’’ comes only a year after their misunderstood third album, and finds the band in perfect shape, drawing inspiration from all directions and delivering an energetic punch in the face, without overseeing their more vulnerable sides.
41Diablo Swing Orchestra
Swagger and Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole

Genre: Swing Metal / Symphonic / Progressive Metal (SWEDEN)

I have a soft spot for these guys, with their ridiculous combination of swing and dark-cabaret music with metal. An adventurous journey where no destination is out of reach and every stop is tirelessly exhilarating. Some might insidiously call them ‘’Disney Metal’’, but don’t let deleterious comments steal the carnival fun that awaits you once you get under the Rabbit’s belly-tent.
Über den Sternen

Genre: Folk / Doom (GERMANY)

Ι have never been so excited for a band’s comeback, only to be so utterly disappointed afterwards. Since the band’s reunion in 2014, Empyrium have found comfort in a style that borrows from various artists in the genre, and mimics successfully their past self, though never even coming close to their first era. Fans of ‘’Weiland’’ and ‘’Where at Night…’’ will probably find nothing to hold onto this subpar release.
43Demoniac (CHL)
So It Goes

Genre: Thrash Metal (CHILE)

It’s not a cheat to feature this album this list, as this was published worldwide in ’21. Besides, it would be a loss for everyone to not say a few words about this behemoth of an album, which not only follows the thrash metal formula to a ‘’t’’, but also expands it with genius avant-garde flourishes with the addition of clarinet.
44Kayo Dot
Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike

Genre: Progressive Metal / Experimental (USA)

A dissonant and demanding release, made by maudlin of the Well’s classic line-up. Definitely sustains the legacy of an incredible band, but its peculiarities and left-field attitude definitely require audiences exercised in the band’s previous output.
In the Court of the Dragon

Genre: Thrash Metal / Heavy Metal (USA)

A band that was initially praised to death and later crumbled under the audiences’ expectations, has recently blossomed and established themselves as a huge name in the US metal scene. The most heart-warming element of the band has always been their honest engagement with their art, and with the ‘’Court of the Dragon’’ they are getting the recognition they deserve.
Juno to Jupiter

Genre: Electronic / Symphonic (GREECE)

It’s space, it’s NASA, it’s Vangelis, so it’s bound to be a quality release. The man behind some of the best soundtracks in cinema and space history (what a pro), has put out another great work, mixing old and new elements of his sound, from 2001’s ‘’Mythodea’’ to 1990’s ‘’The City’’ and further back to 1977’s ‘’Spiral’’.
47Violet Cold
Empire of Love

Genre: Black Metal (AZERBAIJAN)

This absolute madman has created one of the most offensive black metal album covers without showing one single drop of blood. The music is as colorful as the packaging, celebrating the radical aspects of society without resorting to naive nihilism or misanthropic edginess.
Ascension Codes

Genre: Progressive Metal (USA)

One of the most significant albums Paul Masvidal has created, since it’s an ode to Malone and Reinert, two vital members of the band and closest friends of his, who passed away in 2020. Ethereal, alien and immersive are words to describe the complex music found inside, which hopes to keep the heritage of two truly gifted musicians alive.
At Night We Prey

Genre: Black Metal / Heavy Metal (GREECE)

After a long hiatus, Greek black metallers Nightfall return with a likeable, albeit forgettable album, which will not disappoint long-time fans, but probably won’t earn them any new ones.
Bloodmoon: I

Genre: Hardcore

A collaboration we didn’t know we needed, Bloodmoon is a fierce work of art, combining all the best aspects of each individual musician’s identity. A plethora of soundscapes and genres, which could easily fall under their own weight, results in a sum not greater but different to its parts, a bold statement and a great promise for a future that could might even change the shape of extreme sound.

Genre: Hard Rock / Folk (GREECE)

Don’t be fooled by the genre tag, as Khirki’s debut album Κτηνωδία (‘’Ktenodea’’ meaning Monstrosity, but also a play on words between Ode and Beast), is not your usual hard rocker. Crossing the distance between hard rock, and folk, it takes inspiration from bands such as Kvelertak and Baroness and gives us its own interpretation of a rock fiesta, with songs like Bukovo being the absolute value of a rock n’ roll party song.
Infinite Granite

Genre: Shoegaze / Post Metal (USA)

You can’t ignore the soaring course of these guys, who have been both praised as messiahs, and rejected as… uhm, well, messiahs. Distancing themselves from their magnum opuses ‘’Sunbather’’ and ‘’New Bermuda’’, they craft a beautifully fuzzy album, which might alienate some people at first, but as soon as the element of surprise is gone, what remains is a colorful and entertaining listen.
De Doorn

Genre: Post Metal (BELGIUM)

In 2021 many bands toyed around with their image and audience’s expectations, and AmenRa are one of them. While the route change might not be as apparent to newcomers, older fans will find certain ruptures compared to the ‘’Mass’’ albums. Expanding upon their ritualistic element, they push the dynamics around and explore the silence in between sounds.
54Spectral Lore

Genre: Black Metal (GREECE)

Spectral Lore has been steadily evolving as a prominent black metal act, and without relying on black metal clichés, they have bastardized their sound with psychedelia, progressive leanings, and ambient sounds, retaining their brutality, mad riffing and suffocating atmosphere.
55Wax People
Wax People

Genre: Experimental / Math Metal (USA)

This is an album christened in a mix of acid and frenzy. Your typical rock instruments and a bass clarinet have filthy sex, carelessly licking your eardrums while doing so. Jazzy spasms, math drumming, and horrific squeals comprise this avant-garde monstrosity which is brutal, raw, cannibalistic, and so damn fucking otherworldly.
56Non Serviam (FRA)
Le Cœur Bat

Genre: Black Metal (FRANCE)

One of the most intriguing finds of 2021, this black metal anarchist collective tries to deconstruct everything we think we know about society and its values, through an equally destructive musical approach. They are not interested in evolving, or preaching, or expanding, they want to destroy any ties with norms and ethics. I’m not into black metal, but this is an absolute gem (on the king’s skull).
57Non Serviam (FRA)
Il Pleut Partout Derrière

Genre: Black Metal (FRANCE)

This EP is focused more on their electronic/industrial side, abound with spiteful vocals and radical lyrics. Another maniacal release by this anonymous collective who seeks to set fire to anything conformist.
Bleed the Future

Genre: Tech Death (CANADA)

There are tech death bands that strive to sound robotic and alien, and then there’s Archspire doing the same thing, but actually. Even faster, more mind-boggling and chaotic than their previous releases, it is also their most accessible and melodic release, skyrocketing them to the highest spheres of popularity and praise, setting unfathomable standards for newer bands in the genre.
59Bruno Pernadas
Private Reasons

Genre: Pop / Jazz (PORTUGAL)

A colorful album that celebrates the ever-expanding boundaries of pop, psychedelic and jazz, ultimately breaking free from any notion of genre, and landing straight into our hearts as one of the warmest triumphs of human artistry during these cold and dark times.
60Devin Townsend
The Puzzle

Genre: Go figure (CANADA)

An album celebrating the uncontrollable creativity of an A-List musician, who pumps the juices of inspiration from bottomless wells. Nothing like he’s done in the recent years, this is the soundtrack of a roller-coaster ride through his mind and psyche, best understood as a sole track with many phases. Imaginative and complex, this puzzle has all the right pieces.
61Between the Buried and Me
Colors II

Genre: Progressive Metal / Metalcore (USA)

The band we love to hate is back with a sequel nobody asked for but secretly we all enjoyed. A gigantic hype surrounded the album and opinions flew all over the place like shit hit the fan, but in the end this is an unapologetic release, which doesn’t care what you think of it and bursts with ideas that almost never take themselves seriously.
62A Compendium of Curiosities
Heaven Feels Like Floating Around in a Golden City

Genre: Dungeon Synth (GREECE)

The genre tag alone is confusing in this post-modern helltopia we’re living, and things go sideways when from dungeons deep we find ourselves soaring through the clouds of a golden city. Dreamy soundscapes and eerie melodies, this remains a weird listen, yet still charmingly captivating.

Genre: Folk / Progressive Rock / Symphonic Prog (GREECE)

A beautiful sympho-prog rock album, with lush production, and an entourage of instruments and voices, beautifully merging jazz, traditional and rock aesthetics. Ciccada may not be the most productive band, having only three albums under their belt in 16 years, however ‘’Harvest’’ might well be their best release yet, containing a stellar retro-prog blend that rarely sounds so colorful and young.
64Mariusz Duda
Interior Drawings

Genre: Electronic / Sampling (POLAND)

Although I’m not a huge fan of Duda’s first solo album ‘’Lockdown Spaces’’, I regularly return to his work because I respect his work on Lunatic Soul and Riverside. ‘’Interior Drawings’’ might actually be the best thing he’s done in this trilogy of quarantine music, and the album that shows that he can overcome the linear approach to composition.
Illusions of Control

Genre: Dream Pop / Goth Pop (USA)

The value of the album is far greater than the sum of its parts, mainly because the only songs here that need any praise are the ones in the middle, ‘’Nothing Else Matters’’ relying on the superb saxophone solo, and ‘’You’re Not One to Cry’’ because it’s faster and bolder than the rest. That being said, the sleepy spirit of the songs carry a sense of numbness that can be tastefully paired with a glass of your favourite liquid, and a comfy seat amidst a rainy day.
66Kishi Bashi

Genre: Indie / Folk (GEORGIA)

It takes more than a banjo to travel from Georgia to the Appalachian Mountains, and I don’t feel like this is more Americana than simply folky, but in all honesty who cares about genre tags? This is a pretty EP of sweet instrumentation and joyful personality, a playful sunbeam coming through the curtains.
67Circuit Des Yeux

Genre: Pop / Experimental (USA)

Although being on heavy rotation, I have yet to fully digest this album. Less a matter of complexity and more a matter of surprise, since the voice on this record is so valiantly bizarre. Haley Fohr has been around for 13 years and it’s only now I bump onto her. Amazing find, worths every spin.
68Manchester Orchestra
The Million Masks of God

Genre: Indie Rock (USA)

Four years after the devastating and seminal ''Black Mile to the Surface'', US indie rockers return with en equally beautiful album, although this time they're lighter and more optimistic. Don't think this is any less melancholic and nostalgic than what you might expect, but it's not brutally crushing, and still has the magic touch that makes all the songs stick to your head.
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