The Best Rock And Metal Albums Of 2021? We’ve heard a few and the Rushonrock team has compiled its Top 30. Check out 20-11 and look out for the Top 10 very soon!
20. Mork – Katedralen (Peaceville)
Mork’s fifth opus was a landmark for founder Thomas Eriksen.
Katedralen saw the Norwegian further hone his songcraft, while still keeping second wave black metal as his foundation.
The results were astounding.
Ice shard axework and black ‘n’ roll thrust was balanced with spectral atmospherics, and Skepticism keyboardist Eero Pöyry coated the evocative De Fortapte Sjelers Katedral in a funereal chill.
Even Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto wanted a piece of the action on Svartmalt.
A towering edifice built from cold black metal, Katedralen defined Mork.
19. Jason Aldean – Macon (BMG)
Jason Aldean used the medium of country music to create a compelling narrative paying homage to his hometown Macon.
And the first part of a much touted double set was so good we spent the end of the year counting down the days until the release of 2022’s companion piece Georgia.
Macon was a country record through and through but its bold foundations owed more to the late 80s chart rock of Def Leppard and U2.
A polished production echoed Tom Petty and Bryan Adams at their commercial peak.
And what about that Billboard-busting duet with Carrie Underwood? If I Didn’t Love You was one of the country songs of the year.
18. Mastodon – Hushed And Grim (Reprise)
Sprawling and vast.
Absorbing and complex.
That was Hushed And Grim.
A monument to Mastodon’s imperious talent, this thickly layered double album demanded attention… and a considerable attention span.
To say it lacked the immediate impact of Emperor of Sand or The Hunter was an understatement.
But it didn’t ape the epic grandeur of Crack The Skye either.
For a record that reflected the death of Mastodon’s long-time friend and manager Nick John, the quartet took a different approach.
And over 15 tracks, one of metal’s most visionary acts unveiled their own multiverse of sonic adventurism.
17. Crazy Lixx – Street Lethal (Frontiers)
Not content with kickstarting Chez Kane’s solo career, Danny Rexon reminded seasoned hair metal fans of his day job as the voice of Crazy Lixx.
And Street Lethal was a spandex clad deep dive into everything that made the genre such a thrill ride at its excessive peak.
The crazy folk at Crazy Lixx left no stone unturned in their quest for the perfect retro-fuelled set of fist-pumping late 80s-styled bangers.
Anthem For America, Reach Out and Caught Between The Rock N Roll couldn’t fail to get a crowd partying like they were front row at a Poison show circa 1990.
And fingers crossed the proof will be in the pudding as Crazy Lixx take Street Lethal on the road throughout 2022.
16. Blackwater Holylight – Silence/Motion (RidingEasy)
Born from grief, Blackwater Holylight’s third opus was their most creatively ambitious work to date.
The Portland act’s ability to weave doom, psych, shoegaze and krautrock into rich tapestries was already established by the time Silence/Motion made an appearance.
But this album flowed like a river of melancholy, while Allison ‘Sunny’ Faris and her bandmates bared their souls.
And in the likes of Around You and Falling Faster, it featured timeless, beautiful moments of sublime songcraft.
15. Seven Sisters – Shadow Of A Fallen Start Part 1 (Dissonance Productions)
Seven Sisters had been building up to this record ever since they emerged from the London underground eight years ago.
You could sense what was coming.
And Seven Sisters’ third album followed its predecessor, The Cauldron And The Cross, in some style.
On Shadow Of A Fallen Start Part 1, the quartet deftly balanced progressive flourishes with world-conquering choruses.
They gifted us stadium level songcraft in the likes of Wounds Of Design.
And the dual axework was simply exhilarating.
If you needed proof of Seven Sisters’ star quality, this was it.
14. Tribulation – When The Gloom Becomes Sound (Century Media)
2021 saw Tribulation at a crossroads.
In the run-up to When The Gloom Becomes Sound’s release, influential guitarist Jonathan Hultén quit the Swedish act.
But at least Hultén’s sensuous swangsong was a collection of career-best material.
The death metal upstarts turned Vampiric troubadours had the scent of blood in their nostrils when writing their fifth album.
And it was clear they were hungry to enter metal’s inner sanctum.
Cloaked in underworld auras and rich with pitch-black gems, this was a statement of intent from Tribulation, one etched in Gothic script.
13. Carcass – Torn Arteries (Nuclear Blast)
We had to wait eight years for Torn Arteries, the follow-up to 2013’s stunning Surgical Steel.
But after teasing fans with 2020’s Despicable EP, Carcass followed up with this mighty opus: an album that cemented their legacy as overlords of UK death metal.
Founders Bill Steer and Jeff Walker, plus drummer Daniel Wilding, dug into their past, brought back those infectious grooves, and wove melody into brutality like only they can.
Songs like Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B) and In God We Trust certainly showed that age hasn’t weathered the Carcass… RH
12. White Void – Anti… (Nuclear Blast)
Forged in the space between the occult rock of the 70s, the no excuses hard rock of the 80s and the British new wave movement, White Void wowed on this eclectic debut.
A supergroup of sorts, the various band members hailed from backgrounds in Norwegian black metal, chiptune electronica, pop and blues.
And that heady hybrid resulted in one of the most ambitious and genre-defying records of 2021.
At the centre of the void stood Borknagar and Solefald star Lars Nedland and he anchored a pulsating project to perfection.
Based on Albert Camus’s concept of Aburdism, Anti… went against almost everything else this year.
11. Yngwie Malmsteen – Parabellum (Mascot)
The supercharged Swede dropped his best album since 1988’s Joe Lynn Turner collab Odyssey as Parabellum prepared for a war on the senses.
That Malmsteen chose to add his own vocals to the non-instrumental tracks was a source for some frustration.
But he’s no bad singer.
He’s just a brilliant, peerless six stringer. Always has been, always will be.
Malmsteen opened up with the biting Wolves At The Door and ripped through the flawless Relentless Fury.
But supreme set closer Sea Of Tranquility sealed Parabellum’s place in this year’s Top 30.
Did you check out 30-21 as we count down the Best Rock And Metal Albums Of 2021? Check back in soon as we reveal the Top 10 and name this year’s number one album.