Hello once again to the baffling long list known as That Drummer Guy’s Top 100 Albums of 2021. With this part of the list I will have covered 100 albums in total (when including the honorable mentions) and we are starting to get deeper into the nitty gritty of it all. But before we crack the top 50 at the midpoint of this section; let’s get to the rules:
- These are 100 ALBUMS that I loved this year ranked from 100-1.
- No EPs, live albums, compilations, rarity albums, reissues, or any specialty releases. Just brand new LPs
- The list is broken down into 6 parts which I release Monday to Friday, 20 albums a piece, countdown style. Black Friday brings on the Honorable Mentions list, which is 40 albums that didn’t make my Top 100, but deserve just as much praise.
- There are many reasons that an album won’t show up on this list. I did not have enough time to hear it enough, I didn’t hear it, it wasn’t my bag...baby, and new for 2021; The band/Artist does something so stupid that I simply can’t support them anymore.
-While The top 100 is ranked, look at this as 100 albums you should check out and not 5 parts you can skip and just check out the top 20. Every album here is awesome and what may be album 100 or 72 or 47 may be your favorite album or discovery of the year. So give anything that gets your attention a spin. We live in the digital age, there’s no excuse to skip out anymore.
- These are my thoughts and my thoughts alone. No outside influences, no one asking me to put them on the list, no pressure from higher sources. Just what I dig and you just may dig as well.
- And most importantly...go discover some new music!!!
And now, let’s continue on with the festivities!
60.) Everture- Emerge
FFO- Melodic Heavy Metal, Modern Metal
This Finnish debut album combines all of the best elements of what you hear from Finnish metal, but also makes it sound much more radio friendly than you would hear from many of the band’s elders and contemporaries. Almost no screams or growls and a grand focus on clean vocals. Making songs that are just long enough without going overboard, and instrumentation that is just impeccable. Emerge is a jaw dropper of an album. That sophomore release is going to launch this band into the stratosphere.
59.) Anneke van Giersbergen- The Darkest Skies are the Brightest
FFO- Acoustic, Folk, Pop
Anneke is one of the leading voices in metal for as long as she has been involved with the genre.; Anything that she sings on turns to gold. Once in a while, you just got a make a solo album to really fill out your visions, and sometimes it’s in the wake of trying to find yourself musically and in life in general. The album is all about trying to maintain her life, marriage, and trying to wrap her mind around all of it. It’s gorgeous sounding and that’s also what makes it sound so beautiful and tragic. It’s an album you can absolutely relax to, but the more you pay attention, the more it grips you and telkls stories that so many of us can can saldy relate to. Heavy fan or not, check this one out.
58.) Eternity’s End- Deathrider
FFO- Technical Power Metal, Speed Metal
Eternity’s End is a band that not enough people listen to and again, I’m here to help change that. With such a killer lineup and all of the talent you could ever need in one band; Eternity’s End continues to rip out contagious LP after LP and it rivals anything in the genres of power and speed metal for top supremacy. You may find kinda similar bands, but you’ll only find one true band like this, and they are Eternity’s End.
57.) Dream Theater- A View From the Top of the World
FFO- Progressive Metal
It’s amazing how life works. At one point in time, this would have been my number one album and nothing would have came close to touching it. All these later and especially in the last 10 years of really trying to go out there and support all of the music I care about; Dream Theater has more or less fallen off to the way side while other bands have taken over my usually musical listening routine. That is not to say the band has gotten worse or they are not what they used to be. Some could make the argument for those statements, but for me, just life changes. After not really being too motivated about this album’s release, I did give it a chance and I’m so glad I did because it is their finest work of the Mike Mangini era. It sounds inspired, it doesn’t sound tired or regurgitated, it’s authentic. While you may hear nods to previous songs or styles from the band’s career, there is no doubt that the band’s creativity is at it’s highest point in ages with this album. It may not come off as your favorite Dream Theater album, but it should not be an album to skip out on. You are bound to find at least one song you will love if you ever dug the band.
56.) Necrofier- Prophecies of Eternal Darkness
FFO- Melodic Black Metal
Given the talent in this band and all of their resumes; you’d think this band has been around for decades, but this is the band’s first LP. It perfectly captures classic and current black metal tinges and makes them their own. You can picture the band opening for Emperor in ‘97 or touring with Dark Funeral today. The band hits the nail on the head on how to make black metal both melodic, evil, and dignified. Something that those outside of the know could rarely understand. This is how you make black metal and it’s nearly impossible to top it.
55.) Amenra- De Doorn
FFO- Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, Hardcore
This is a combination of a collective that embraces the evil of the world and it does it in a way where the pure intensity of the lyrics, music, and overall sense of the band is so captivating, you literally feel like you have entered a black mass upon each listen. Funny enough, their biggest fanbase in America may not even know the band, but the do recognize the edited version of the song Ogenroost is the theme song for AEW wrestler Malakai Black. This is an adventurous album for those that want to check out something that is truly original and innovative.
54.) Scar of the Sun- Inertia
FFO- Groove Metal, Melodic Metal, Gothic Metal
Scar of the Sun’s Inertia has some of the msot hard hitting lyrics in 2021. The album deals so much with personal loss. When you match it with the melodic tones produced, it really does make you want to shed some tears. The music in and of itse;f with wonderfully catchy and excellently produced. This is exactly how you take well established genres and make them completely your own. T^his album rules.
53.) W.E.T.- Retransmission
FFO- AOR, 80s Hard Rock
Jeff Scott Soto’s well established band knocks it out of the park once again with making an album that’s just as heavy as it is poppy. It’s super melodic and knows when to kick it into full gear at the right times. This has always been my favorite project of Soto and for good reason. Retransmission proves once again that this band is not only dangerously underrated, but dangerously proficient.
52.) Asphyx- Necroceros
FFO- Death metal
Any other year and this would have been EASILY in my top 20 of the year. Asphyx is incapable of letting it’s fans down and this album is another valued reason as to why they are so highly regarded in the underground world. It’s perfect death metal from start to finish and whenever it does let up, it’s only to pummel you even harder. This is just what you need in 2021 if you are a death metal fan. No exceptions!
51.) Liquid Tension Experiment- LTE3
FFO- Instrumental Progressive Metal
Well well well...this is not something I ever would have expected to be a possibility again. A new Liquid Tension Experiment. For those not in the know it contains 3 past and present members of Dream Theater and the legendary Tony Levin on bass. Their first two LPs were classics in the prog world, but so much time had passed (and the departure of Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater) all of us never thought that LTE could be a possibility ever again. In 2021, we were all proven wrong and I’m so happy we were. In all honesty, this is some of the finest prog you will hear in the 21st century. It’s what Dream Theater fans wanted and we didn’t even know it. Each song is so well crafted and it feels like everything is the way it should be. While again, Portnoy is out of Dream Theater, both he and DT have found their musical paths continuing to this day with the things they want to create, in the end, that’s all we could ever ask foir instead of a album that does not have 100% passion behind it. LTE is back and if that’s the case, I can’t ask for anything more.
50.) Duskmourn- Fallen Kings and Rusted Crowns
FFO- Melodic Black Metal, Folk Metal, Atmospheric Metal
Everything I love about blackened folk metal is on display with Duskmourn. Its sorrow filled, the music is melodic and tragic, and the songwriting is perfected with such craft from everyone involved. If you love bands like Agalloch, Primordial and Winterfylleth; Duskmourn will be your new obsession
49.) Jinjer- Wallflowers
FFO- Progressive Metal, Metalcore, Modern Metal
A ever increasingly popular band that I more of less never checked out ever before 2021 has cracked my top 50 and deservingly so. Had I known this is what the band was all about, I would have been from the beginning. It has all the finesse of prog sensibilities of Opeth or Porcupine Tree, but you mix it with more modern metal bands such as Meshuggah or TesseracT and you have a band that is not afraid to be themselves and that’s what truly stands out. So sorrowful when it needs to be and can break into a destructive breakdown riff that you just can’t see coming. Match that with the right types of atmosphere and I totally understand why the band gets bigger and bigger every year. Simply incredible work.
48.) Trivium- In The Court of the Dragon
FFO- Melodic Metal, Thrash Metal, NWOAHM
A band that made my top 20 with their last album has made it into the 40s this year. This is in no way indicative of how the band has dropped or anything like that, but simply the power of the competition this year. The band has made an open ended concept album, the songs are what you want them to be about, it feels much like an audio form Dungeons and Dragons game and that may be what transpired here. The songs get into what others call long songs at over 8 minutes long while still having ripping single songs that fit perfectly on modern rock radio (if actually given the chance). As far as more mainstream albums this year, this hits exactly what it needed to be...a true Trivium album and they couldn’t have done it better.
47.) Memoriam- To The End
FFO- Old School Death Metal
As far as bands that started in the last 5-6 years; Memoriam is may favorite straight up, old school sounding death metal band and it’s not even close. All 4 albums so far have hit me in ways that no technical death album or goregrind band could possibly do (again of those in the last half decade). The 4th album of this band continues it’s path of destruction with sonic hell sent music all while trying to find justice in the world (yes, they are a left leaning band if that’s something that helps/hinders your interest). Memoriam simply rule and To The End proves it….to the end...sorry for the pun.
46.) Gojira- Fortitude
FFO- Groove Metal
Can you call Gojira a death metal band anymore? I think you can but I also think that would be severely limiting the band and what it does. The band has gotten more commercial and mainstream with every release and wouldn’t you know it; Fortitude is indeed the more commercial and mainstream album to date. It’s also one of the more daring albums of the band’s catalog. It attempts styles never before tried with the band, more clean vocals, all while maintaining what make the band continue to stand out among it’s peers. I’ve seen a lot of people say it’s like their previous album. I disagree, it’s a natural progression from it, but this album stands on it’s own. Some of the band’s best work is on each album and this is no different. Gojira may change, but the quality never ceases. This is amazing work.
45.) Be’Lakor- Coherence
FFO- Melodic Death metal, Progressive Death Metal
One of the most consistently great bands in the southern hemisphere returns with their latest opus and it just may be their finest work. They continue to shine through the darkness they cast with their songwriting and dreadful mournful vibes to create an atmosphere that those of the mid-era Opeth fans have wanted, but have decided not to search out for. If you want your progressive death metal sad and melodic, Be’Lakor has been here and they are not going away. They keep getting stronger all while being themselves. This is some damn fine music...damn fine.
44.) The Crown- Royal Destroyer
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
The Crown...Sweden’s best kept underground secret despite not being kept a secret. The Crown should be regarded as one of the greatest bands to come from the country and Royal Destroyer proves why that is true once again. While the band has not gone away, they have really proven themselves in the last 11 years be increasingly getting better and perfecting their formula. Royal Destroyer is easily the band at the top of their game. The fact that they already have another album to unleash on the world soon (hopefully next year), proves that the band is firing on all cylinders and are unstoppable. If you’ve ever missed out on this band or dropped off; get back on track and check out the band IMMEDIATELY!
43.) Lords of Black- Alchemy of Souls Part II
FFO- Power Metal
Lords of Black may be the best active power band in today’s age. The lineup is absolute perfection, the songwriting is top notch and the band like Rainbow in a world of Ozzy 2000s era bands. There’s not much I can really add to sell you on this band. If you want power metal that has that power of 70s heavy metal in full swing; this is the band for you.
42.) Eclipse- Wired
FFO- Heavy metal, Hard Rock, AOR
After 20 years, the band has put out their finest work, proving it’s never too early or late for you to be your best you. Wired is a perfect collection of hard hitting songs, whether that be hard rock stompers or powerful ballads. The fact that the band has been on an ever increasing popularity rise over the past decade is no secret as to why. One listen to Wired and you’ll understand why. If this is considered cheesy, it’s some of the best damn cheese I’ve had this year. Sometimes you just need a fun album, this is it.
41.) Omnium Gatherum- Unity
FFO- Positive Melodic Death Metal
It comes with the territory that almost all melodeath bands have a negative connotation to them showing off the darker sides of life. Omnium Gatherum is that rare exception to the rule where their songs are meant to be more positive and full of life. Unity is that in strides. The only reason this album didn’t crack my top 20, let alone my top 40 is simply because of time on my end. I’ve seen a lot of unwarranted hate towards this album and I gotta disagree wholeheartedly. Omnium Gatherum is easily my favorite Finnish melodeath band and Unity is just the next logical step for the band. Uber melodic, beautiful lyrics, and yeah, more clean vocals than ever before, but that’s hardly a first for the band. It really is a stellar album and for anyone that wants a gateway band into heavier territories, I can’t think of a better example of a band to try out than Omnium Gatherum. And give Unity that fair shake, its deserving of the love it gets.
And there are are folks, over the half way point of the top 100 and only 2 parts left of this monolith of a list. Coming up tomorrow is where I know most of the interest will begin (despite my pleading for everyone to check out ANY album on the entire list that is of interest to you). The top 40 albums of the year with That Drummer Guy’s Top 100 Albums of 2021 Part V: 40-21
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)