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Dedes 2021 end of year list kinda sorta

Music that makes sounds and stuff
1Rivers of Nihil
The Work

I already went over this extensively in my review (if you haven't seen it please take a looksees) but my opinion of this is that of bewilderment. There are fantastic moments that illustrate how cathartic and engaging their brand of tech death can be, but just as much, maybe moreso, are there moments that sound unnecessary and jarring. This is an album that was pulled out of the oven 15 minutes early and was still baked to a charcoal crisp. 2.5/5
2While She Sleeps
Sleeps Society

Post-Hardcore/Alt Rock

This one was equally as disappointing, albeit not too shocking. Imo WSS have never touched the fiery emotive hardcore behemoth that This is the Six had, but it's still a bit sad to see how deeply they've shifted into mediocre stadium rock with some slightly shoehorned rap/electronic elements. When the heavier elements rear their head they are relatively good, but overall this left me with an unfortunate feeling of nothingness. 2.5/5
3God's Hate
God's Hate

Meat-headed Beatdown

It's meaty, chunky, riffy beatdown. It's incredibly pissed in the silliest and most fun of ways. Ultimately somewhat forgettable but it does channel the primal ape within, and that's a hard feeling to not be satisfied with. This probably sits between a 3 and 3.5 i think.
4Blindfolded and Led to the Woods
Nightmare Withdrawals

Dissonant Death Metal

Dissonant death metal is a surprisingly saturated market right now, but not in a necessarily bad way. Now, I myself will admit that while I enjoy dissodeath I do generally prefer more melodic leanings, hence my affinity for bands like Insomnium, Garden of Shadows, etc. Still, the dizzying chaos that an album like Nightmare Withdrawals is nothing short of mind-numbingly impressive, even if the disjointed nature of it can make it a -touch- frustrating. 3.5/5
5Andrea Von Kampen
That Spell


Andrea Von Kampen is an absolute seraph, a trait I think is shown astoundingly in her debut (which is, imo, a fair step above this), but quite well here as well. That Spell evokes feelings of gentle spring mists, of new life slowly reemerging after winter's harsh long bite. I'd speak more on this but I haven't jammed this since a week or so after it came out so imma slap a 3.5 on this bad boy.

Dissonant Death Metal/Doom

Ok, this album put me through a sonic assault test. Many an occasion of Succumb are just an ultimately frightening guttural barrage-deep, incomprehensible utterances, fuzzy dirty tremolo riffs, light speed drum beats that crash into droning thumps. These faster moments definitely prove to be more enjoyable to me, cause when the 22 minute closer came the 10 minutes of droning fuzz definitely left me with a feeling of slight incompletion. 3.5/5

Prog Metal/Chuggathon

Fortitude, while greatly enjoyable, feels lost. Not without direction per say, no-Gojira here has no problem resting on their laurels and crafting the same wonky time signature chug fest they've always done. What makes the album lost is Gojira's other album's, and the fact that amongst them Fortitude doesn't have a distinctive purpose other than to service you with more Gojira. With this being said the fact that it still manages to cave your ribcage in like a charging rhino does serve as a compliment to the band when one of their least interesting records still manage to, erm, own. 3.5/5
8Julien Baker
Little Oblivions

Indie Folk

Julien Baker set incredibly high standards for herself-both the bare bones simplicity and honesty of Sprained Ankle and the more orchestral and nuances Turn Out the Lights show that Julien can master both simplicity and complexity quite well. Little Oblivion sits somewhere between these two, and while it doesn't reach the lofty heights of either, there is no denying that her rawness is as harsh and honest as it is here.
"Honey, I'm not stupid
I know no one wins this kind of thing
It's just another way to kill an hour
Wishing I was different
Nobody deserves a second chance
But honey, I keep getting them"
9Sermon of Flames
I Have Seen the Light, and It Was Repulsive

Death Metal

On the opposite side of irreversible darkness from where Altarage sits we have Sermon of Flames. This is a band that is much more immediate, with track titles such as "Cauldrons of Boiling Piss" leaving little to imagination in regards to what kind of bile-rife emotion they spit forth. Fast, furious, cacophonous, interrupted only by a fair share of ritualistic ambient sounds. My only gripe is that the tracks don't always seem to have a true direction, feeling as if in their own ridiculous rage they trail off into an empty void. 3.5/5
Eternal Hails

Black Metal/Doom Metal/Rawk

Speaking of bands I forgot released an album this year, here's one of the sweetest things Darkthrone has released since The Underground Resistance. Darkthrone definitely still retains their frosty trad-black metal bite, but with a deeply enjoyable old school doom metal trudge that they explored heavily off of "Old Star". I probably don't have to speak much on this-it's gritty, it's cold, the riffs are sweet and dripping with a little more doom than usual. 3.5/5.
11Dread Sovereign
Alchemical Warfare

Doom Metal/Trad Metal

Man Alan Averill was born for this brand of epic rock-infused doom. Alan's voice has the ability to project with unrivaled power-enough to turn endless pyres into little poots of dust. Of course the riffs are fantastic as well, striking a balance between being brooding/morose and fun/cathartic. It is no surprise that a band spawned from Primordial's own vocalist would be so damn good, but it is still satisfying to see how that kind of energy translates into a more casual metal outfit. For more you can also czech my review on this one. 3.5/5- 4/5

Goth Metal

Moonspell has always coasted on a line of forgettable enjoyment, and I think on some level Hermitage manages to chip at that, at least a bit. There's a certain ethereal mood that shrouds much of Hermitage (The Greater Good being an incredible example), and this feeling coupled with some of the more directly fiery moments make for an awesome intertwining of the two. Tbh, this may very well be the best thing they've released next to Wolfheart, although I'm sure many would contest such a sentiment with albums like Irreligious existing.
Graveside Confessions

Deathcore/Death Metal/Black Metal(?)

Carnifex, in spite of their small tweaks, are an unyielding tour de force from deathcore's slightly forgotten past. While bands like Suicide Silence and Chelsea Grin are delving deeper into unfathomable pits of mediocrity (the former moreso than any major deathcore act) Carnifex have only upped the crunchy riffs and gut wrenching gutturals to a dizzying apex. This is all supplemented nicely with a Cradle of Filth-esque knack for symphonic bm that sets them apart from the rabid and disjointed deathcore pack. Maybe it's not on the level of a track such as "Countess of the Crescent Moon" (a track title that could have easily fit somewhere into any CoF album), but it's enough to add just enough creative spark to not tire of the hefty number of sledgehammer breakdowns. 3.5/5.

Tech Death

I greatly appreciate tech death with the goal to remain as straightforward and fun as possible, and the flurry of guitar sweeps and tightly knit drum fills that make up Upheaval embody this perfectly. It's an undeniably no-frill style somewhat in the vein of bands like Archspire and Virvum, and this incredibly-melodic frenetic nature is what makes this album nearly as great as those aforementioned bands. Hymns and The Mouth That Cannot Speak are like groovy balls of goddamn lightning and are among the best death metal tracks of the year. 4/5
15Braison Cyrus


Brother of Miley Cyrus? Son of Achy Breaky Heart Billy Ray Cyrus? These connections alone are enough to make one dismissive of the legitimacy of a vaguely-country anything that could spawn from such a family, and yet here we are. This is one of the dreamiest and pleasant country albums to grace my ear canals, with a feeling of somber beauty and elation I've only ever heard albums like Pony (Orville Peck) capture. He definitely doesn't have the deep baritone vibrato of many great country artists, but his nearly-whispered more reserved tenor voice is still incredibly refreshing. 4/5
16Suffering Hour
The Cyclic Reckoning

Blackened Death Metal

The Cyclic Reckoning occupies a niche that sounds somewhat like a more guttural Deathspell Omega. Imagine the wonky guitar effects, the strange scaling tremolo riffs, the electrifying blast beats paired together with distant howls and some truly ~disgusting~ gutturals and you have the mainframe of Suffering Hour. That isn't to say they hinge completely on this influence, but rather they take this down a new direction, one with their own flair for a dismal descent into dilapidated death metal deviations (for my alliteration hotline please press "F"). Good shit, thank you to dope reviewer TheNoTrap for continuing to bring sweet metulz to our hungry earholes. 4/5

I want to Mork
4 outta 5 it's Darkthrone with good production
18The Temple (NZ)
The Temple

Doom Metal/Dissonant Death Metal

First off, this consists mainly of members of Ulcerate. Ok now I have your attention it's a 4 jam it. Ok for real, this is fantastic and is maybe even as good as albums such as Destroyers of All, but I think the comparison isn't totally fair-this isn't attempting to depict the image of galaxies being violent torn asunder so much as it's trying to depict the disarray of an already dismal decaying universe. There are for sure many moments of brain-melting chaos, but they're balanced equally so by moments of gut wrenching gloom. 4/5
19Dark Watcher
Hymns Of A Godless Land

Dark Watcher (a band pioneered completely by good sputfriend gameofmetal) manage an impressive ability to create something that should be unforgiving in its gimmickry and warp it into something that's unparalleled in its levels of bootlickin' asskickin' fun. Its spaghetti western black metal that digs its spurs into crowded saloons and starts slinging bullets at anyone caught in the crossfire. Its an endless stampede of buffalo riding down the great plains into a small unlucky gaggle of Galveston bandit's. It's only a 3 song EP as well so you damn well better jam it. 4/5
Escape of the Phoenix

Metal/Prog Metal/Prog Rock

In some ways the vocals here are reminiscent of the best moments of Scar Symmetry's own clean vocals, albeit a bit more hearty and with more projection. I state this immediately because I believe they are the showstopper and central focus throughout much of the record, and craft a bombast that is akin to the merging of two stars. The electronic flourishes add wonderful, gorgeous layers to this as well as the sweet melodies and shreds that the guitar work contributes (that monster of a chug leading into a transcendent solo at around 3:32 of "Where August Mourns" is ~wondrous~). 4/5

Prog Metalcore

Ah, the chaotic guitar wizardry and ferocious screams are back in a beautiful form. ERRA's self-title is a statement of sorts, that the same vigor that breathes life into near-masterpieces like Impulse can still be captured. That's not to say they ever became droll, but it's hard not to feel like the band had begun to slumber, until this moment, where the electricity that surely bolted them awake has flowed from their fingertips onto record magnificently. 4/5
Where the Gloom Becomes Sound

Goth Metal/Goth Rock

Tribulation are a band that have slowly molted their shell, going from a goth-tinged deaththrash outfit being fully immersed in goth metal/rock, starting at Down Below and extending even further with their most recent outing. Honestly, while I loved the frightening ferocity with which they performed cacophonous death metal, the straightforward Halloween vibes they now evoke are just as, maybe even more fun than ever. Seriously, the wicked witchy gloom of tracks like "Leviathan" conjure up fluttering spell books and autumnal haze so damn well, and that is an atmosphere I wouldn't mind being immersed in my whole life. 4/5
An Unexpected Reality

Death Metal/Grindcore

Fast, ass-reaming Deathgrind that runs on NAILS type intensity with a Dismember knack for crunchy riffage. The object of this EP is mostly simple-knock your head clean off with earth rending riffs, reattach it, dismember it again. This process repeats until the mournful doomsday epoch that is "Emptiness". This track separates the EP into two distinct sections and is what makes me feel like a starved child who has just been given a morsel of Christmas leftovers-it is wonderful, but if only there were more. This single track shows just how incredibly fantastic Gatecreeper could be at making Doom metal, with an ability to present real tangible grief as opposed to shoving it forth as a gimmick, which is incredible considering the aforementioned meat-headed bludgeoning the rest of the record delivers. EP of the year? Oh yes. 4/5
24Lorna Shore
...And I Return To Nothingness

Deathcore/Symphonic Black Metal

...or is it? This particular EP is the one that contests the top spot, if simply because of how impossibly impressive and comically frightening the vocals here can be. Deathcore continues to be a deeper exercise in excess with every new band trying to drop down to a lower tuning, trying to hit a deeper growl. If only they knew how utterly pointless their efforts were, because Lorna Shore has crafted the heaviest damned thing on this side if Black Tongue. If you've never jammed Lorna Shore, or Deathcore, or if you only listen to ambient nature soundtracks, listen to one track only-"To the Hellfire". There you'll find the only pig squeals you'll ever need.
A Valediction

Tech Death

Boy, this truly has been a gratuitous year for tech death. Valediction is a fantastic example of structured chaos-there are sweeps and bass licks and an overall extremely bombastic proficiency that every band member equally shows, but none of it ever seems lost in the maelstrom. It's like a cyclone with a predetermined destination, albeit that does not stop it from sweeping whatevers within sight.
26Wolves in the Throne Room
Primordial Arcana

Atmospheric Black Metal

If ever you began having doubts about WITTR then may this remedy those. This is nearly on par with classics such as Diadem or Two Hunters, conjuring a shamanistic mystique that is their own unique primordial take on black metal. Never mind the slight ridiculous tree-hugging the band tends to portray-they are dead fucking serious about the cinematic panorama around us they want to portray. That of wailing arctic winds, that of cool rains pattering on glistening leaves of oak, the sound of a gentle rustle of leaves from the soft trot of a white tail deer. They paint both the unrivaled beauty of nature and the dark misfortune of its destruction, with tracks like "Masters of Rain and Storm" showing these lachrymose connections incredibly well. 4/5,nearly 4.5/5
27Swallow the Sun

Doom Metal

Swallow the Sun delve deeper into the more atmospheric forays that they've been perfecting over the past decade or so, and I think now they've finally fully crafted the brooding Victorian charm that they have been looking to portray. It's all quiet tranquil and pleasant, in spite of the realness of it-Mikko has never been a stranger to the very real grasping throes of misery, and while doom often makes it a bit of a commodity, the ferocity of Mikko's shrieks undeniably peirce the heart like an icy dagger. This is juxtaposed by his soft, warbled singing, where this sadness is quietly project inward. These more subdued moments are also paired nicely by the immense classical influence that permeates the record, with moments such as the violin throughout "Moonflowers Bloom in Misery" or the soft quirky acoustic work briefly beginning "This House Has No Home" creating a great juxtaposition to the immediate tides of sorrow that come barreling in, often shortly thereafter. 4/5
28Cradle of Filth
Existence is Futile

Gothic Black Metal

I'm probably not the one who should be speaking of Cradle of Filth on a year-end list for fear of resurrecting the ever-looking ghost of Hawks, but alas the moment has come and CoF have crafted one of the finest diamonds of their career. There are moments that sweep forth like crackhead lightning, and then there are moments of soul-purging beauty ("How Many Tears To Nurture a Rose'' being oh-so-heavenly). Dani's scathing shrieks are as punchy as they have ever been, even if he isn't as insanely theatrical as he may have been in his early years (i.e, Midian). The drumming is beyond the shadow of a doubt the best it's ever been, going back and forth between speedy blast beats, satisfyingly intricate tom-work and just an overall impressive grasp on variation and, at times, even a sense of groove. Honestly I need speak no more-if you life CoF you'll adore this and if not your mind will not be swayed. 4/5
Where Fear and Weapons Meet

Black Metal

Even now, as I rerun through "FN.380" for perhaps the 7th or 8th time the chills that run through my veins at the gentle war horns thrills me. 1914 know how to craft stories, brutal and bloody as they may be. Images of men rotting in miserable trenches, of machine gunfire clouding their air with a haze of bullets and dust, leaving in its wake only spent bullets and spent bodies. The band utilizes both blaring trumpets of war and even some traditional European war songs alongside they're brand of traditional melodic and trem-heavy black metal to craft something that paints well the intensity of war, something that is hard to comprehend from the comfort of my own cozy futon while I make a music writeup on my cell phone. 4/5
Bloodmoon: I

Hardcore/Mathcore/Chelsea Wolfe

This took me a few spins to truly appreciate. My expectations were unfair as it was hard not to purge hopes for some off-the-wall Axe to Fall type lick or Jane Doe level cacophony to emerge from the dark shroud that is Blood Moon. Those moments of Converge have taken a backseat, hell, they've nearly left the auditorium, and in this spacious zone harrowing guitar tones, met by the absolutely gorgeous singing of Chelsea, who's voice travels around like a raven on flight through some forsaken land. Even Jacob manages this elated yet mournful mood at times, such as in the intertwining of the two on "Crimson Stone", a track that is as soft and battered yet beautifully brilliant as anything either artists have done. Now, there is still occasional visceral chaos, i.e the intro to Viscera of Men or Lord of Liars, and these moments definitely serve as a way to tear at the senses, just to make sure you didn't get too absorbed into the comfort of Chelsea's croon.
The Redemptive End

Black Metal/Mgła 2.0

Boy, Poland is a magical goddamn country for black. Behemoth, Mgła, Wędrujący Wiatr, and now we have the students of the Mgła class, Groza. For clarification, they are a German band, but the core identity of their sound definitely hinges on the distinctive ceaseless nihilism of Mgła. They do this semi-imitation with an admirable precision and at times even manage to outclass them (such as the melancholic slow-burn of "Elegance of Irony"). Now, they do deviate somewhat in the morose, glistening undertones of tracks like "The Redemptive End", showing that perhaps maybe through a near post-rock-esque sense of patience and passion that they desire to go about this painful loathing in a slightly different fashion. Whatever path it may be, they are doing it astoundingly well and I'm beyond excited to see their future. Almost a 4.5/5
Bleed the Future

Tech Death

The bane of all tech death opponents and simultaneously of any human being aspiring to play tech death. Archspire are the fastest. They are the shreddiest, the blastiest, the growliest. Whatever they are, they push tech death to every logical extreme in a way that kerbobles the mind. It claws at your skin, then your flesh, then your bones, then your organs, and it then proceeds to macerate all these components into an unrecognizable amorphous mass. They do all this destruction while crafting wildly fun hooks, such as, ahem, DRONE-CORPSE AVI-A-TOR. Give it up tech death. You'll never beat the spire. Almost a 4.5/5.
In the Court of the Dragon


I've always had a moderate enjoyment of Trivium, but they've made quite an impressive turn they've last few years and I'm a happier man for it. First thing of note is how drastically Matt Heafy's clean vocals have improved. Completely eradicated is the former nasally whine that made his cleans vastly inferior to his seething screams, now he sounds like the leader a medieval platoon as they open a hail of arrows and an equally numerous clashing of iron commences. His voices his hearty and potent, as are the fluid blast beats and scurrying drum fill that In The Court of the Dragon possesses. And then there's the riff, oh goddamn are they good. The groove is locked in and not letting go, aside from allowing a wicked dick-smashing solo in. If you dont like this get out poseur 4.5/5
34 Panopticon
...And Again Into the Light

Panopticon are a band incredibly close to my heart. Austin Lunn has always managed to make Panopticon flow with him-from the enraged political throes of his early years to his engagement with his home state of Kentucky to his new perceptions of himself as he moved into a more wintry Minnesota to an individual track detailing the fear of his son losing his life to a quickly deteriorating heart condition. This all seems to be the accumulation of what his newest record captures. The atrocity of mankind as we (in the U.S) enter a phase of political mayhem that turns relationships sour and cold. It captures the beauty of appreciation, the comforting love that comes with knowing that in spite of this the world isn't a bitter place and that there is care lurking where you seek it's a striking balance of a heaven and hell upon our own earth, captured well in tracks like "Dead Loons", a song that starts off dirty and downtrodden that swings upwards into a pulsing ebb of vigor and love. 4.5/5,

Progressive Melodic Death Metal

Oh man, whewwww my lad. This is fantastic. Be'lakor, even for me as a diehard fan, don't always reveal themselves immediately. Mayhaps its Be'lakors ability to restrain themselves-they are never one's to usher in a climax too soon, rather opting to create a false sense of release. Coherence weaves beautiful melancholic riffs in and out, kicking off with the most high octane energy that Be'lakor has probably ever opened up with on "Locus", then subduing themselves until the moment then again arrives to shove all the energy the record has reserved for the mammoth of a closer "Much More Was Lost" (how this bands manages to create a more lush and mind tingling closer each time will forever wrack my brain with bewilderment). Of course, these calm (relative) before the storm moments are still wonderful in their own right-the Opeth-esque instrumental of "Sweep of Days", the meandering slightly sorrowful riffwork of "Hidden Windows", all of it owns. 4.5/5
36Every Time I Die

The level of variety on this is insane for how unforgivingly fucking angry and destructive it is. The opening lines of "spare only the ones i love/slay the rest" are blood curdling and met with an equally bone shattering heaviness all throughout, and this heaviness and negative societal worldview finds its fiery tendrils on most of the tracks here. The chaotic and jarring yet stupid fun energy of "Planet Shit", the grating solemn hellraising scream by "68's frontman on "All This and War", the strangely cinematic start-stop nature of the closer "We Go Together", the anger runs incredibly deep. In spite of this nothing feels tunnel visioned. There's still groove southern-fried rockers like "Post-Boredom" and the most quaint thing I believe the band has ever done with Andy Hull's feature on "Thing With Feathers" (which is placed directly after the fermenting chaos of "All This and War". Expert timing? Maybe so). It's nothing short of incredible that Radical is the best goddamn thing they'
37Every Time I Die

made over a 9 album 23 year span and is, in my opinion, the hallmark of a truly GOAT band and that makes this my gosh darn AOTY. 5/5 Thank you class for listening to my book report.
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