|DavidYowi's Top 30* Albums of 2021|
*and two non LP records
Wild Type Droid
It’s kinda odd how subdued Failure’s reunion seems considering that they’ve never lost an iota of what made them special.
Preserved in Torment
Among many other things, 2021 was the year I discovered that death doom is really fuckin cool!
Delightfully deranged death metal with a terrifying as hell vocal performance.
Solar Drone Ceremony
A sick jazz/drone metal live album that really does not feel like a 52 minute album at all.
|29||Every Time I Die|
Hey look at that! Music that tries to channel our anger, fears, and anxiety of our current times that actually sounds pissed off. Eat your heart out Jeff Rosenstock.
|28||Portrayal of Guilt|
Better that We Are Always Alone in almost every way. Love how the shimmer of the guitars contrasts with the black metal fuzz of the production.
Most energetic album of 2021. Breathless excitement at being itself.
Really charming King Crimson worship that y’all were too harsh on. Of all the Speedy Wunderground releases that blew up this year, this one goes the hardest.
Rien ne suffit
I imagine these are the noises cattle and other livestock hear before they die.
Make Drunk Cool Again
Beat for beat the funniest album of the year. My favorite bit he does is rap three bars in a row with the same punchline. You can shoot up your own troubles.
Realms of Exquisite Morbidity
The perfect example of what a modern OSDM record should aspire to be: In debt to the classics but with so many tricks up its sleeve, all of which are deployed with ease.
This is everything I wanted Songs for You to be. Captures the late 90s R&B sound wonderfully and is carried by Tinashe effortlessly gliding between brash confidence and open-hearted delicacy.
The Cyclic Reckoning
Shows how much mileage you can get with a damn good guitar tone. It’s insane how far that SNES ass guitar tone goes to instilling this album with a sense of mood and atmosphere. Killer songwriting also helps matters too.
Like that new Portal record but with actual payoffs. Even when it doesn’t always land, I admire the lengths this band goes to fuck with you. This album is full of sudden shifts, inhuman vocals, and parts zone out only for the band to barge right in at full volume. It operates like some malicious storm. “Forgone” is probably my favorite song of the year, and is a perfect simulacrum of everything that makes this album great.
A Tear in the Fabric of Life
Doubles down on everything that made A Different Shade of Blue special in a condensed package. I’m hoping to 5 their next LP.
I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES
With this and my #1 pick, I’ve noticed a trend of trans women musicians making borderline nu metal and frankly I’m here for it. Every song hits like a brick to the face.
I maintain that the best dissodeath bands are the ones that know how to groove. Goddamn this is just an extremely tight band with excellent chemistry and a deft understanding of rhythm. This shit is like comfort food to me.
Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss
A perfect example of why avant-garde metal kicks ass. Achieves grandiose beauty and also grooves like a motherfucker. The excellent album pacing is the cherry on top that makes it all come together.
It’s funny, when I first listened to this I almost stopped listening after the first 30 seconds, really glad I stuck with this. It’s such a unique and endearingly nerdy record that thrives in how strange it can get. Also has one of the most interesting and encouraging behind-the-scenes stories of any release this year.
Excellent psychedelic rock with some of the most soulful and skilled guitar playing you’ll hear all year. Very urgent yet spontaneous sounding. I also recommend their “Live in Niamey, Niger” video on YouTube, which wasn’t originally planned to be concert until people started showing up after hearing the band play. It ended up becoming a three day concert. That’s as pure of an expression of music as you can get. Also fuck France.
I’ve been thinking about why I’ve lost interest in OSDM in recent years, and this album proved to me that I just prefer the sound of OSDM in a death doom context. Wonderfully spooky album that really gives a gothic vibe to the classic Florida sound. The album that got me interested in death doom.
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Disorientating, but in a way brought on by a devastating tragedy that your mind is unable to comprehend but cannot act like it never happened. Discordant but with a quiet, vulnerable heart. RIP Stepa J. Groggs.
I have a real soft spot for alternative metal albums. They’re what got me into metal, and it always thrills me to hear bands try to merge heaviness and accessibility without either feeling forced. Not only does this album achieve this goal, but also has a lot of heart and pathos as well. Continues the story and songwriting of The Valley and improves upon it in every conceivable way.
While I think Cornballs is a better album, this is still Peggy at the top of his game. Peggy has always been a smartass, which I feel is part of his charm, but those tendencies have been toned down on LP! and as a result it gives him more room to revel in his talents as a producer. Also baller move to figure out how to release two albums out of one.
Beats Meshuggah at their own game, as it understands that the best Meshuggah songs are the ones you can dance to. Special praise goes to Chad Kapper’s insane vocal performance that adds another rhythmic layer to the band’s labyrinth of polyrhythms. The sound of man and machine becoming one.
Stand For Myself
We’re currently at the start of artists making music directly addressing the pandemic. I always wonder how things will age when everything feels so tied to the rapidly evolving current moment, especially when (or if) we escape the grasp of COVID. This album really manages to feel both of its current moment and timeless at the same time.
Lower Forms of Life
Like if Defeated Sanity fucked around and tried to write a Korn album. Some people might scoff at that description (losers), but man is it right up my alley. Album is front-to-back ass shakers, no record this year consistently made me make dumbass grins like this one.
SINNER GET READY
I’m gonna be honest, I had listened to this in response to the news of the abuse the Daughters frontman inflicted on Krystin Hayter. That information will forever color this album, but taking the album extracted from that context shows album of violent stillness. Moments of docility that suddenly shift to loud anguishes of pain. With the context in mind, it’s a harrowing showcase of the misanthropic cruelty men can inflict on others, in this case their spouses. Look this is an incredibly hard album to talk about, you just have to listen to it yourself. It’s a tough listen but is 100% worth it.
3/4 of the Pyrrhon dudes made another album this year, but with different textures and their drummer taking the helm on songwriting which means he gives a hell of a drum performance. This has everything you could hope for in a metal record: killer riffs, a great concept explored to its fullest, and a frigid and numbing atmosphere that hints towards the future, in this case death metal bands tinkering with shoegaze. Most of all though, I’m just impressed with the Pyrrhon dudes’ ability to create albums that feel like a complete package. Whether its this, Weeping Sores, or mainline Pyrrhon, these guys know how to make an immersive album experience with a strong emotional resonance to it.
To give a point to this album’s detractors, I don’t think this band’s 311-apprecating sound would’ve been as acclaimed as it is if we weren’t living under COVID. The fact that it got the level of praise it did is still shocking to me. But remember when concerts were just starting to be a thing again? There was this collective feeling of hope that the door out of COVIDworld was steps away, and even if it all comes crashing down we were gonna use what limited time we had of this moment and make the most of it. No album better encapsulated those feelings more than Glow On.
Imperative Imperceptible Impulse
The dissodeath kings of 2021. I’ve been thinking about why dissodeath has been making such huge waves, especially on Sput, and I think it has to do with how they contort the dissonance of death metal into a harsh yet colorful atmosphere that no other genre of music is really capable of providing. There’s just an overwhelming amount of details here. Every instruments writhes in such a specific way, and it’s so rewarding to hear the many hooks littered through each song. I feel like there’s two different (but not exclusive) audiences for dissodeath: those who love to see how a band organizes their dissonance into something resembling melody, and those who embrace the chaos and love how ugly everything sounds. Ad Nauseam appeals to both instincts as if it was second nature.
Forever In Your Heart
I first heard this album in February and didn’t relisten to it until November. It wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in listening to it again, it’s that it the album was such an intense listen that I just kept putting it off. When I did relisten to, I remembered almost everything about it. The thing that stuck with me the most is that it seemed like it was made for the sake of the band and no one else.
Forever In Your Heart
After their uniquely hellish 2020, this feels like they reached into themselves, ripped out all of their negativity from their chests and threw it to the ground. In that regard, this gave me the same sensation as I did listening to Slipknot’s Iowa, in that they’re both dauntingly abrasive albums made in periods of deep turmoil that do not give a single fuck about what you think. It’s also unflinchingly personal, to the point where it makes me question what enjoyment I would get out of a project as personal as this. But even then there are these pockets of humor that not only bring levity to the album, but highlight the strong bond these two women have; it’s genuinely heartening considering what they’ve been through. There were certainly albums I listened to more this year, but no other album was as challenging or as impactful as this.