Have you heard the Best Rock And Metal Albums Of 2021? We have and we’ve compiled the definitive Rushonrock countdown to wrap up another fantastic year for new music. Check out 30-21 and look out for another 10 bangers very soon.
30. The Dust Coda — Mojo Skyline (Earache)
The Dust Coda crashed the UK’s Top 30 with their blistering Earache debut and the NWOCR flagbearers proved their potential in spades.
Mojo Skyline was a hard rock record for the ages — rich in heavy blues, gritty soul and garage-raw authenticity.
And in guitarist Adam Mackie, The Dust Coda boasted a fret-melting god capable of carrying the band to an exciting new level.
Mojo Skyline’s lofty ambition and hook-laden anthems grabbed us by the balls and battered us into submission.
Just like any good rock record should.
29. KK’s Priest – Sermons Of The Sinner (EX1 Records)
One of the original metal gods proved there’s life in the old deity yet as KK Downing delivered a sky cracking blast of the future past.
Sermons Of The Sinner saw Downing reunite with fellow Priest frontman Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens…and deliver the goods.
And if the result was far from the most radical record Rushonrock heard all year it was one of the most rewarding.
Denim and leather studded standout Metal Through And Through said it best…and loudest.
28. Exodus – Persona Non Grata (Nuclear Blast)
A seven-year gap between studio albums could have stripped Exodus of any semblance of momentum and relevance. Could have.
In reality, the punishing follow-up to the razor sharp Blood In, Blood Out only served to reinforce the Holt-Hunting axis as pivotal to a thrash scene in rude health.
Persona Non Grata proved the Bay Area boys still know how to turn heavy into heady…this mind-bending set of ‘Zetro’-fuelled belters was cerebral thrash at its adrenaline-fuelled best.
27. Hooded Menace – The Tritonus Bell (Season of Mist)
On The Tritonus Bell, death doomers Hooded Menace journeyed into more traditional heavy metal turf, while losing none of their supernatural essence.
There were strong hints of Mercyful Fate on Blood Ornaments and it was no surprise to learn that King Diamond axeman Andy La Rocque had a hand in the record’s mixing.
The band even recorded a cheeky W.A.S.P. cover to whip your locks to.
However, it was the quartet’s ability to expertly blend trad doom groove, ‘Peaceville three’ miserabilism and sizzling metal fretwork that really made The Tritonus Bell chime.
And in embracing a wider span of metal history, the Finns built on their formidable legacy.
26. Inglorious — We Will Ride (Frontiers)
Retro-fuelled, blues-heavy Brit rockers Inglorious released two long players in 2021 but the band’s original set easily outshone covers collection Heroine.
We Will Ride was a rollercoaster journey of Coverdale and Hughes-inspired classics underpinned by bellowing frontman Nathan James.
Guitar hero Danny Dela Cruz continued his ascension to Eddie Van Halen’s throne and his flawless live stints complemented some seriously spectacular studio work.
Medusa turned heads while She Won’t Let You Go maintained a vice like grip on the hearts and minds of classic rock fans across the country.
We Will Ride was some journey.
25. Turnstile — Glow On (Roadrunner)
Want to understand Glow On’s impact?
Well, it’s the only album in our top 30 to appear in the BBC’s Best Albums of 2021 list alongside the likes of Adele and Billie Eilish.
Time & Space, Turnstile’s 2018 hardcore punk masterpiece, put the Baltimore act on the map.
But Glow On put them on mainstream TV (Late Night with Seth Meyers, to be precise).
HC, pop, funk, indie… it all collided on Turnstile’s hook-laden third opus.
And with songs as joyously explosive as Holiday, Fly Again and Don’t Play, they deserved their time in the spotlight.
24. Funeral Mist — Deiform (NoEvDia)
Into Ashes could easily lay claim to being the greatest black metal track of 2021.
Or maybe Children Of The Urn would trump it.
In truth, there was just too much to choose from on Deiform.
For Funeral Mist’s fourth album stormed in at the end of another plague year and set the world on fire.
This was undiluted, blasphemous black metal dragged from the underworld, a fearsome record which burnt itself into the soul… and just seemed to improve with every listen.
And it was a triumph for founder Arioch.
23. Alice Cooper — Detroit Stories (earMUSIC)
How to celebrate your 21st studio album release in style?
Release your first Billboard chart topper and pack it with in-your-face fist-pumpers straight from the celebrated Cooper songbook.
Detroit Stories sounded like a record written by musicians young enough to be Alice’s grandkids such was its impossible-to-believe youthful verve.
In fact, Cooper collaborated with old buddies Bob Ezrin, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Tommy Henriksen and more to make one of the albums of his career.
Bookending Detroit Stories with Lou Reed and Bob Seger covers added a canny touch to this colossal set.
22. Thunder — All The Right Noises (BMG)
The best British blues rock band since Free continued to make all the right noises in 2021 as a fourth successive Thunder album crashed the UK Top 10.
Enjoying a rich vein of form, songwriter Luke Morley dropped another 11 songs worthy of wide acclaim.
And it seemed that Thunder could do no wrong in the same year Morley and Bowes released a brand new book charting their 50-year friendship.
Last One Turn Out The Lights emerged as an oven-ready lockdown anthem and Don’t Forget To Live Before You Die was rich in reflective power.
Thunder cracked it. Again.
21. Gojira – Fortitude (Roadrunner Records)
Gojira’s elemental power flowed through Fortitude.
But it was often found in glistening cascades, rather than raging tumults.
Indeed, the songwriting was a touch more subtle than we’d experienced before.
And there was a greater embrace of creative freedom.
The results were astonishing, with Amazonia, The Chant and New Found easily amongst the French act’s finest work.
A worthy follow-up, then, to the globe-conquering Magma.
Enjoyed looking back on some of 2021’s biggest and best rock and metal records? This was 2020’s Top 20.