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Top 50 Albums of 2021

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by Harvester, Nov 27, 2021.

  1. Harvester

    Harvester The Promoter

    Sep 16, 2001
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    Welcome to the big pain in the ass Top 50 of 2021List! For those unfamiliar, this is my annual post where I put politics and label/band relationships aside. There may be a few weeks left this year, but I have received essentially all of the unreleased discs for the year I’m interested in. I encourage you to take your time with sampling all of the music below. I guarantee you missed a few gems along the way. Hearing your feedback on the bands you discover is what makes this post worth the agony of putting it together. Please note I will be discontinuing this list after two decades once I retire the festival with PP XXV.

    a. This list caters to my *personal* taste, not the full spectrum of metal genres nor every artist within a genre. Furthermore, I realize there are some major players and sacred cows missing that will send a few into seizures, piss some off, and cause others to question my sanity. Somehow, I will survive.
    b. I do not rank albums based on pure musical instrumentation ability or sonic clarity alone. While I fully believe technical chops demonstrate musical superiority in many aspects, I also think it is just as hard to write a *good* hook that draws a listener back again and again. Furthermore, a passionate vocal delivery that adds emotional depth to poetic lyrics wins out over power/range every single time.
    c. There is no right or wrong to this list. Music is a subjective listening experience. My opinion is no more valid than yours if we are on opposite sides of the fence. I'm just fortunate enough to be in a position to have my thoughts read by many.
    d. I do not listen to every single release. If your favorite disc did not make the list, I may simply may not have it…OR I could have thought it sucked ass.
    e. Keep in mind a highly ranked disc in any specific genre may not make the list. For example, the 10th best power metal disc of the year is not there. It’s still a good record, but this is a Top 50 list, not a Top 63+ list. I make no secret of leaning towards Prog as well.
    f. I don't include EPs in the rankings. If every band on the list removed the bottom 5 songs of their full-length release, then it would be a level playing field for all releases.
    g. You won't find poetry, scientific analysis, or epic thoughts here. You just need to know what they sound like before your ADHD ass sees a squirrel.

    Without further ado…

    50. Astrakhan- A Slow Rides Towards Death: Swedish proggers that nail the Pain of Salvation "Be" vibe to the wall. Normally, I'd say they were a clone, but that's not fair as Johan Hallgren is actually the guitarist. Kind of a weird situation, honestly since he rejoined Daniel a few years back.

    49. Mercury X- Imprisoned: Last minute entry so it's always hard to rank it accordingly with limited plays. Swedish proggers that blend the lite Circus Maximus persona with a bit of the 90's DT crunchy melodies. It's not overly complex, but any album that has a 20 minute epic will endear itself to the snobs.

    48. Warrior Path- The Mad King: Traditional power metal that follows the formula all you cretins demand- bombastic cheese, galloping energy (definite Maiden moments), and catchy melodies. What sets this apart from the pretenders are the vocals of power metal deity, Daniel Heiman. Give him the right material and he still owns the genre.

    47. Devoid- Lonely Eye Movement: This French band is one of those few remaining on the planet performing the true quality hybrid of melodic metal with elements of both prog & power. This is the kind of music the festival cut its teeth on the first decade for all you old bastards that stay home now. Plus, there is some sax on the album so that automatically gets bonus points from me.

    46. Manimal- Armageddon: Bands that go over huge at the fest really don't need much of an analysis. If you like classic metal from the school of Judas Priest, you already bought it.

    45. Brother Against Brother- Brother Against Brother: Yep, another project from Del Vecchio and Frontiers Records that follows the same musical formula as "Allen/Lande," "Allen/Olzon," "Allen/Everyfuckingbody," "Laurenne/Louhimo" with two incredible vocalists front and center. The difference here is you have two Brazilian powerhouses who actually sing together on every song instead of alternating. That's right…every song. Novel concept, eh? Rena Zonta (Electric Mob) is the perfect foil to Nando Fernandes (the South American Ronnie James Dio). Nando owns you on this tune:

    44. The Pardox Twins: Silence from Signals: Do you miss Anathema? Well, now you have someone to fill the void. I mean the exact damn void as they copy the post-rock end of the era style down to the tissues, duets and all. Originality be damned. I don't care. It's gorgeous and I do miss Anathema.

    43. Need- Norchestration: A Song for the End: Our Greek brethren continue the winning streak with an even darker prog metal opus. The modern Fates Warning influence is way more in your face this time out. This isn't the most hook-laden album you have heard this year, but there is just so much meat on the bone, it takes a while to digest it properly.

    42. Legions of the Night- Sorrow is the Cure: Project from Jens Faber (Dawn of Destiny) & vocalist Henning Basse that is an openly admitted homage to Savatage, right down to the Oliva shrieks and piano strokes. Hell, there is even a cover of "Sirens." I know a few folks that are going to search this out instantly after hearing this tune:

    41. Be'lakor- Coherence: Aussie melodic death metal who I consider the progressive little brother of Omnium Gatherum. The band's strength is their incredible riffs..of all types. Even the growling averse should give it a spin for those alone. It's not their best work, but still a cut above.

    40. Loch Vostok- Opus Ferox: The Great Escape: It's not often a band releases their best album 20 years into their career, but this is the case from these..drumroll…Swedish proggers. The band has been all over the map with musical styles for two decades, but have drawn in the reins for a truly focused melodic effort this time out. The addition of vocalist Jonas Radehorn has elevated them to even higher ground. They deserve wider recognition for this one.

    39. Beast in Black- Dark Connection: Beast in Black are following the Sabaton formula. Find something successful, polish it up, and stick with it. It's catchy as hell, hook -laden power metal that will have the audience singing along with Yannis's powerhouse chorus work. They cranked up the electronic keys even more this time. Doesn't bother me, but those wearing battle jackets should tread cautiously.

    38. Seven Spires- Gods of Debauchery: Of all the albums on the list, this one took the longest to grow on me. I'm happy as hell it did. Tremendously varied symphonic metal with a nice abundance of Kamelot-esque leads courtesy of Jack. The chameleon-like vocals from Adrianne range from ferocious death to beautiful clean melodies to hellacious and blackened. The title track has become one of my favorite cuts this year. I'm still not letting them off the hook for "Lightbringer" though.

    37. Between the Buried & Me- Colors II: I'm one of the few that doesn't hold the original "Colors" in the modern prog metal pantheon. Those rough ass vocals were just too much for me at the time. As the band eased back on the throttle over the years, they pulled me in. This sequel gives me the best of both worlds now- clean vocals, insane complex musicianship, and uncompromising brutality at times.

    36. Trivium-In the Court of the Dragon: Trivium have evolved beyond their metalcore beginnings into one of the best and most consistent modern metal bands currently. They now write the type of music I wish Metallica still had in them. Matt Heafy knows how to write a heavy hook. Bonus points for using the mythos of the King in Yellow this time out.

    35. Steve Hackett- Under a Mediterranean Sky: With 26 albums under his own name, you would think the ex-Genesis veteran would be out of ideas. Wrong. This outing finds him switching gears to focus on classical, acoustic guitar with some added orchestration befitting of the Mediterranean countryside. It's a beautiful and serene instrumental album that pairs well with a glass of Malbec.

    34. Spiritbox- Eternal Blue: The hype on this release has been building forever and it's one of the few albums living up to it. They have received a major push from the label and are truly on the verge on hitting it *huge.* With only a cursory glance, you could just call them another core band. That is absolutely not the case. They bring elements and styles from all over..djent, prog, pop, breakdowns, and the list goes on. It's a really diverse album. The star of the show is vocalist Courtney LaPlante as she has a truly impressive range- perfect pop style all the way to the seventh level of hell guttural howls. Showing you only one video really doesn't do this album justice.

    33. White Moth, Black Butterfly- The Cost of Dreaming: Manowar and fans of the like need to leave the hall…quickly. This is not a metal album. Hell, it's not even a rock album. It's an alternative progressive pop album with quite a bit of modern electronica thrown in. It's also catchy as hell. Daniel Tompkins (Tesseract) channels his inner George Michael in quite a few places. Outstanding vocal melodies dominate the choruses such as this one:

    32. Felipe Andreoli: The veteran backbone of Angra delivers that rare instrumental (sort of) album with the focus on his outstanding bass work. He knows when to shred, when to groove, and when to let his guests cut loose to keep it fresh. However, the real gem here is the only track with vocals. Felipe, Dino Jelusick (channeling his inner Jorn Lande), Simon Phillips & others deliver a MONSTER of a tune that shows just how much of an Ark fanboy Felipe must be. In fact, if the entire album sounded like this, it would be fighting for the #1 slot this year.

    Top 10 song for me:

    31. The Stranger- Kaleidoscope: Australia can essentially do no wrong when it comes to the next generation of prog metal. While incorporating some nice crunch, djent, and even some synthwave, this is still right smack in the middle of traditional melodic prog. Vanishing Point fans, take note.

    30. Powerwolf- Call of the Wild: Powerwolf's trademark werewolf metal doesn't really vary much from album to album. Epic, bombastic, melodic, and cheesy as fuck metal that relies on a big anthem chorus. Works for me.

    29. Subterranean Masquerade- Mountain Fever: Truly eclectic prog with the added bonus of Middle-Eastern world music. I'm not sure if this makes sense, but the band just seems to have thrown caution to the wind this time out and seem more confident as a result. Make sure to sample more than one song if you are interested so you can get a full picture of how varied it is.

    28. Flotsam & Jetsam- Blood in the Water: Veteran thrashers are on an absolute tear. Instead of the all out assault from decades ago, they have slowed it just enough to maintain a mature aggression with polish. They riff with grooves and a purpose instead of just pure speed. I'm not sure what has gotten into Eric the past couple of releases, but he is killing it. The man is at his vocal peak.

    27. Northtale- Eternal Flame: Bill Hudson & Company have created a unique power metal hybrid. The traditional European approach has been intertwined with a Brazilian power influence: Stratovarius meets Angra. If there is any justice in the world, they will be the next power metal band to make the leap to the next level.

    26. Poverty's No Crime- A Secret to Hide: German proggers have stuck to their guns of warm & fuzzy traditional prog metal for two decades now. They still sound just as good as ever too. While they never broke out like their brethren in Threshold & Vanden Plas, they still deserve your attention.

    25. The Lovecraft Sextet- In Memoriam I'm a huge jazz fan, but normally don't list any new releases here as I know it would fall on deaf ears. This one may be the exception for a few with sophisticated palettes. There is a nice list of descriptors on the video screen shot below. I won't argue with any of them.

    24. Cast- Vigesimus: The 20th release from Mexico's Cast is overwhelming and exhausting in a good way. There is so much going on over such a long period of time that you lose track rather easily of what you heard. This is Kansas meets Arena with tons of extended musical interludes. When they crank it up, you can hear bits of Dream Theater or perhaps even elements of Shadow Gallery. You are getting two cuts here, one instrumental and one with vocals because the opening instrumental is that damn good.

    23. Gojira- Fortitude: The Frenchies return and they are pissed. Ferocious riffs and even more attitude this time out. And yet, they also included some of their most diverse ("The Chant") and hook driven ("Amazonia") material yet. "Amazonia" better win the Grammy.

    22. Edu Falaschi- Vera Cruz: This was a fantastic surprise. It's his best work since "Rebirth." While the band can rip with the best of them, I would recommend checking out "Land Ahoy." It a gorgeous quasi-ballad with a huge tip of the cap to Angra's "Make Believe."

    21. Liquid Tension Experiment- LTE3: Stick a vocalist on here and I'd take it a 100 times over Dream Theater. Tasteful melodies + insane chops = massive win.

    20. Architects- For Those that Wish to Exist: I really hated this band when they debuted. Hell, I still hate 95% of all 'core inspired bands. Then, they went and evolved to almost a different beast entirely. Don't get me wrong as the screams are still sprinkled here and there, but there is a ton of catchy as hell melodies and hooks on this thing. "Animals" is what kicked my ass and demanded my attention for the rest of the disc. Do you even riff, bro?

    19. Vola- Witness: Vola are blurring the genres lines more and more on every release. I still classify them as prog with complex & djenty rhythms, but I would not be surprised if they eventually broke out to a more commercial audience as evidenced by a few of their more pop-driven tunes. Now, if they would only change their mind and get their asses to Atlanta.

    18. Temple Balls- Pyromide: The melodic rock album of the year. Think Danger Danger meets early Skid Row. These are the types of choruses that would have ruled an arena back in the 80's. Just a fun album to drive down the highway with the windows down, pissing off everyone in sight.
    "We don't want it…."

    17. Ad Infinitum- Chapter II-Legacy: You cannot walk through the woods without getting hit with a symphonic metal stick these days. The genre has become a blur of mediocrity. However, Ad Infinitum are able to do what 95% of those bands cannot do- write a good, catchy song that sticks with you. These are sophisticated songs crafted around memorable melodies, elevated even higher by the amazing vocals of Melissa Bonny. There is a future headline-caliber band starting to emerge here.

    16. Witherfall- Curse of Autumn: Witherfall are the last dark unicorn standing in the States. They are truly worthy genre successors to Crimson Glory, Sanctuary, and other early purveyors of classic, sophisticated U.S. metal. However, instead of just repeating those bands, they push the boundaries further with some truly progressive chops. Joseph's incredible range is also not to be taken for granted either. If anyone suffered from the pandemic blues by not being able to tour a fantastic release, it's them. This tune was a Top 10 song for me:

    15. Helloween- Helloween: I'm probably going to catch hell for not putting the legends in the Top 10, let alone putting another power album over it. So be it. "Skyfall" is awesome! I just didn't get those same chill bumps the entire album. Plus, I'm a Kai Hansen fanboy so I would have preferred to hear a lot more of him.

    14. The Amorphous Androgynous & Peter Hammill- We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal: The title track is the bastard child of Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, complete with Hammill (Van der Graaff Generator) on vocals, choir, a huge string section, and sax. Epic! The remainder is all instrumental and a definitely more spacey and trippy. This is my prog rock album of the year. Audiophiles should take note of the excellent production. Be aware they released a second remix album a bit later. They are rather stingy with streaming, so only the remix version is available in full and I prefer the original by far. This is a 5 minute sample of the entire disc:

    13. Dream Theater- A View from the Top of the World: I'm probably going to catch hell for not putting the legends in the Top 10, let alone putting another prog album over it. So be it (like how I did that?). Anyhow, I do find this another winner from them as it’s overall heavier and more engaging throughout. The 20 minute epic is the best I have heard from them in years. I do have to add I can't help but wonder if Mangini was miffed about LTE3 and the "reunion." As a result, he has unleashed hell on this thing. Monster drum performance.

    12. Jason Bieler & the Baron Von Bielski Orchestra- Songs for the Apocalypse: Jason described the album himself as "if Neurosis got stuck in a blizzard at a Wawa with Supertramp, then Jellyfish showed up and they all decided to do Barry Manilow covers in the style of Meshuggah, but in waltz time with slight country underpinnings." Add guests such as Devin Townsend, Bumblefoot, Todd LaTorre, etc., and you get a strange conglomeration of songs that show off his non-linear progressive leanings and quirky songwriting that dates back to Saigon Kick.

    **Please note that for the sake of political correctness, professionalism, and me simply being a nice guy, I have attempted to describe this album to introduce Jason to the widest audience possible. Otherwise, I would have just said, "It's quite the fucked-up album."

    11. Orden Ogan- Final Days: The O.O. boys have reached the top pantheon of power metal for me. Their sound is instantly recognizable- epic and melodic riffs, pompous with a bit of cheese lyrics, and the best *big* choruses in metal courtesy of Seeb's layered vocals approach. This is my power metal album of the year.

    10. Swallow the Sun- Moonflowers: Swallow the Sun have evolved over the years into the premiere morose and melancholic band. They have even surpassed Katatonia with this one. There are moments of sheer haunting beauty throughout. This album is not something I can listen to every day simply because I'm too happy in life. However, winter and wine will keep this in rotation heavily the next few months at least.

    9. The Night Flight Orchestra- Aeromantic II: The kings of retro yacht rock have returned with arguably their most fun album yet. All of the songs are just drenched in 80's charisma and style. As they used to say back in the day on FM radio, "All killer, no filler." If you are not a fan, please remove the stick from your ass and move along while the rest of us dance our asses off.

    8. Epica- Omega: The band that helped define a genre are basically the last one left standing in the genre….and they are standing at the top of the mountain. Each album of their symphonic metal gets more grandiose, more intense, and richer than ever before. I'd be remiss if I did not mention the vocal performances as well. Mark remains one of the best growlers in metal and Simone's angelic voice can bring on the chills. "Rivers" is her best vocal performance ever. Their eighth release is the best of their career…so far.

    7. NMB- Innocence & Danger: The artist formerly known as The Neal Morse Band have hit rarefied air with not one, but two epic tracks on this dense double album. If a 19 minute track doesn't do it for you, perhaps the 31 minute one will. And yet…that still leaves over an hour of warm and positive music balancing traditional prog with a multitude of lighter songwriting styles (from the Eagles to the Beatles and beyond). Mr. Morse and Portnoy may get all the accolades (which they deserve), but Eric Gillete remains the star of the album for me. Not only is he one of the most underrated guitarists in the genre, but his vocals are a warm blanket for me. I can't explain it. I just love his rich tone. The chorus on this track is the perfect example. Let him sing the entire album next time.

    "And when my heart is broken…."

    6. Twelve Foot Ninja- Vengeance: The most over the top, insane fusion of styles and genres this year. A few examples: djent, bossa nova, disco, electronica, synthwave, dub-step, classic metal, etc. It's fusion gone mad. If there was a wild orgy between Mr. Bungle, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Freak Kitchen, and Periphery, this would be the result. Australian metal continues to astound.

    5. Rivers of Nihil- The Work: RoN have graduated from just a good death metal band to a premiere progressive death metal band. This is a truly dense, ambitious, and almost chaotic effort that does not rely on brutality or technicality entirely. While it appears to be a concept album (the band have not truly explained it), you truly feel you on are an epic journey, ebbing and flowing with mellow melodies interwoven along the way. For those with a growling aversion, please note there is a tremendous amount of clean vocals as well throughout. Plus, the "wall of sound" (think Devy) production blends the brutality in nicely with the other instrumental levels.

    This song is in the top 10 of the year for me. And oh yeah...the sax man returns at the 5:00 mark!

    4. Acolyte- Entropy: Australia…again! Melodic prog I previously described as Voyager meets The Eurythmics. This sophisticated concept album is augmented with warm melodies and virtuoso playing, highlighted by lush keyboards. However, it is the vocals of Morgan Leigh Brown that blew me away. Her powerful, robust voice commands your attention (similar to how I feel listening to Floor Jansen, Annie Lennox, or even Lady Gaga). There is a tremendous future ahead for this band.

    Another top 10 song:

    3. Sleep Token- This Place Will Become Your Tomb: Sleep Token are a tough band to describe and not a casual listen at all. In fact, I suggest headphones to immerse yourself in their sound. It's a twisted, dark album full of artistic merit. While there is a nice crunch here and there, this is not a metal album at all. In fact, it has more alternative pop moments than metal. (a gothic Coldplay comes to mind). Regardless, this is still an emotional gut punch of an album that gave me chills. The pain in the lyrics is palpable:

    Every once in a while, something changes
    And she's changing me
    It's too late for me now, I am altered
    There is something beneath

    Fans of Poets of the Fall and Anathema are more of the target audience for this band. You get a double shot below because of how unique they are. Both videos are visually excellent.

    2. Lord of the Lost- Judas: This band is going to become a permanent fixture atop my list for the foreseeable future. An album this epic deserves a review that is epic. I simply cannot do it justice in a couple of lines. I invite you to read this wonderful review courtesy of Samantha Buckman at Sonic Perspectives. She fleshes out the double concept album of the story of Judas through his eyes:

    Or if you are too damn lazy, just click the links for a gothic ass-kicking:

    1. Evergrey- Escape of the Phoenix: I wrote this review prior to the album's release. I stand by it.

    I no longer write unbiased Evergrey reviews. I cannot. It’s not fair to pretend otherwise. My love of the band’s music and my friendship with Tom for over 20 years is too intertwined. I used to write 5,000-word essays with each release, analyzing every detail. That stopped with the previous two albums. I could not separate Tom’s personal life from the music and words written on those albums. It was too personal…too painful. How could I praise or condemn a song that was a reflection in the mirror of the man that wrote it, knowing what I did? With “Escape of the Phoenix,” it is different this time. The weight of sorrow has been lifted. My friend is happy. The chains of his personal hell have been broken. The phoenix has escaped.

    Let’s be honest. When you read a review of a band you have followed for quite a while, you want to know how the new album compares to their previous work. Does it sound like the old stuff? How does it compare to the last album? Or did they do something you didn’t expect and release “Music from the Elder Part 2?” Relax. “Escape of the Phoenix” is “The Atlantic” on steroids. All of those elements return, but are ratcheted up in intensity, technicality, and execution. There is a certain “bounce” you cannot only hear, but feel this time out. Tom’s emotional delivery and poetry continues to set the standard for metal. Jonas & Johan sound even sharper with their rhythmic pummeling on full display. Rikard is the master of atmosphere and even unleashes a few new sounds previously unknown to Evergrey. And Henrik…damn. Just damn. This album is the defining moment of his grinning career.

    Instead of painting the full picture of each song, I’d rather provide you with just a shadowy outline. Once you hear the music, you can decide on which colors to use on your own canvas. There is a fucking “gray” joke in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it as I wrote this.

    “Forever Outsider” - The song that sets the pace on your expectations. Heavy and relentless in riffing.
    “Where August Mourn”- My personal pick for “single” and catchiest tune on the album. I can already hear the crowd’s participation with the kick drum towards the end.
    “Stories” – Beautiful, bluesy ballad focusing on a promising future, and not the angst-filled past. This is where you start to truly feel just as the Phoenix does. Huge nod to Henrik here for the Gilmourian moment.
    “Dandelion Cipher”- Any fan of “King of Errors” will be happy as a pig in shit here. Heaviest riffing and Tom’s angriest approach.
    “The Beholder”- A magnificent duet with He Who Must Not be Named…yet. This may sound odd at the moment, but this is an Evergrey song with melodies written specifically to fit our guest and his storied career. It’s unmistakable. The vocal harmonies are outstanding and truly highlighted by the wonderful, warm production.
    “In Absence of Sun” - My favorite track on the album and a true chill bumps inducing moment. Think “Harmless Wishes Part II” with a haunting intro.
    “Eternal Nocturnal” - Heavy and catchy as hell. The twin solos between Tom and Henrik are a thing of beauty. I wouldn’t mind a bit more of this in the future.
    “Escape of the Phoenix: The title track hearkens back to the narrative style and musical approach of “In Search of Truth.”
    “You From You”- Tom lays open his soul out here and we are not allowed to simply forget the long path taken to arrive to this moment. This is Tom at his vocal best. Beautiful contrast between the somber verses and the melodic chorus.
    “Leaden Saints”- Brooding, intense, and melancholic. Another nice kick in the teeth.
    “Run”- The perfect lyrical ending wrapped up in an up-tempo gallop. We all run at some point in our life.

    This past year has seen us hit the lowest of low in so many aspects of our lives. As an Evergrey fan, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Phoenix, doesn’t just emerge from the chains of the pandemic, but leads the way.

    One last note… My song of the year was released as a single only, no album. I played it far more than any other song. It just always puts me in a good mood. Plus, the video is one of the funniest damn things ever.

    Pigeoncore forever!

    #1 Harvester, Nov 27, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
  2. blulou

    blulou Heathen

    Sep 14, 2009
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    Eagle River, AK
    I am very surprised that The Vicious Head Society - Extinction Level Event didn’t make the list, it’s a top 5 release for me.

    Also, Eskimo Callboy video and song do make me smile. Reminds me a lot of Mindless Self Indulgence, one of my guilty pleasures. Well done, sir!
    #2 blulou, Nov 27, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  3. Magius

    Magius .................

    Nov 19, 2005
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    Um, let it be known that not all of us old bastards stay home. Just waitin' for somewhere to go...

    Of what I know on your list:

    Wanted to like the Warrior Path, because I lost track of Heiman after Heed. He seems to have lost that over the top aggressive falsetto that separated him from the pack back in the day. Makes the album a bit generic to my ears. Sigh.

    Orden Ogan. Solid. Some filler, but up to OO's high standards.

    Surprised to see Lord of the Lost so high on your list. Priest is a top 5 song of the year for me, but some of the album gets a bit plodding. To be expected I guess. Gothic Metal is what it is.

    Powerwolf remains the evil twins to Sabaton. Still awaiting that miraculous announcement.

    Neither of my favorites made your list
    Temperance - Diamanti : Tri-vocal melodic metal
    Apostolica - Haeretica Ecclesia: A cousin to the Powerwolf / Sabaton twins.

  4. Liquid Tension

    Aug 15, 2001
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    Thanks for the list..

    Mastodon's new one is a favorite of mine that's not on your list..
    #4 Liquid Tension, Nov 30, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
  5. zinescene

    zinescene Member

    Feb 11, 2002
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    Apostolica was high on my list as well. I liken them more of a Powerwolf meets Therion with the orchestration. Sanctus Spiritus was my favorite song of 2021.
  6. NorseBlood

    NorseBlood franks n steins

    Nov 6, 2013
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    I believe Glenn has said in the past he has a dialog with the band and wants to book them, it is on Powerwolf to decide when they will come to us. Who knows what they are waiting on? IMHO there is a reasonable expectation that we'll see them before Glenn decides to call it quits, but as you know nothing is certain especially when all roads lead through Visatown.

    Great list Glenn & thanks for taking the time to compile it.. I shall endeavor to persevere and go through them all. (Chief Dan George reference there.)

    Sitting at #51 surely must be Access All Worlds by Iotunn.

    Edit: I'm a bit surprised KK's Priest new album Sermons of the Sinner didn't make the list. Granted there is nothing groundbreaking about the album, but thats the point. Its a mixture of traditional 80s heavy metal Judas Priest with some elements of 70s Judas Priest thrown in. Its timeless music that is well done by a legend in the genre. A criticism might be that it sounds too much like Judas Priest, and then again one might say that Judas Priest sounds a bit too much like KK's Priest because KK was, of course, in both bands.

    As usual, it will take some time to go through Glenn's entire list. One of the great things about it is that there is always a few undiscovered jewels for me to go absolutely beserk over. I look forward to finding those jewels that are surely there.
    #6 NorseBlood, Dec 2, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2021
  7. Comic Book Dude

    Comic Book Dude Rockin'

    Mar 28, 2008
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    One of the many islands of Maine
    I'm a little surprised not to see Anette Olzon's "Strong" on this list. I thought it was a shockingly strong release...I think Magnus saved some of his better material for this album, lol.
    And I completely agree with the thoughts on Epica. For a long time, they were a background band in the genre to me, but they are definitely at the top of the mountain now. I can't see how much more bombastic this band get, but it'll be fun to find out.
  8. jingle.boy

    jingle.boy The changing of the worrd is inevitabre!

    Dec 1, 2015
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    I know I don't post here much, but I'll always show up for the Top 50. As always, I find at least a dozen or so to sample that weren't on my radar. Couple of other suggestions of the Prog and Power variety:

    Labyrinth - Welcome to the Absurd Circus
    Starmen - By the Grace of Rock 'n' Roll... how has Gene Simmons not sued these guys yet!?
    Odd Dimension - The Blue Dawn... their best album yet
    Nahtram - Forest of Eternal Dawn... should be a consideration for instrumental AOTY
    Aeon Zen - Transversal... it's just an EP/extended song, but dayum; Dream Theater wishes they could still write and perform this good
    Dec Burke - Life in Two Dimensions
    Robledo - Wanted Man ... for anyone that wants a Romeo/Allen fix
    Sandstone - Epsilon Sky ... for anyone that wants a Primal Fear / Scheepers fix
  9. Finn Mac Cuhal

    Finn Mac Cuhal The Lurker in the Dark

    Aug 30, 2012
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    First, thank to Glenn for putting up his list. There are always 10-20 albums he tosses out that I end up buying here at the end of the year. It is a lot of work and it does not go unappreciated. Most of my new purchases are still percolating for me and will for several weeks.

    I fully agree with the comments about Epica in general as well as their last album. I never get enough of their stuff. Maybe Glenn can get them back to the festival one more time!

    I have difficulty ranking albums so I tend to band them. You can throw a hat on any in the band as far as I am concerned.

    In Band 1 (top tier) are currently Imperial (Soen), Omega (Epica), Final Days (Orden Ogan), Innocence & Danger (NMB), and Aphelion (Leprous).

    Band 2 would currently hold Chapter II: Legacy (Ad Infinitum), Curse of Autumn (Witherfall), Aeromantic II (The Night Flight Orchestra), Wall of Skulls (Brainstorm), , Silver Lake (Esa Holopainen), Escape of the Phoenix (Evergrey) and Riddles, Ruins and Revelations (Sirenia)

    Current bands discovered by Glenn's list that have really impressed in just one or two spins: Entropy (Acolyte), The Mad King (Warrior Path), and Witness (Vola).
  10. The Fiddler

    The Fiddler Just Do It.

    Nov 27, 2002
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    Heaven and Hell
    As always, thanks for taking the time for creating such an exhaustive list Glenn! The list always provides a few gems that I wasn't aware of now that I'm an old fart and spend more time trimming hairs from my ears, nose and eyebrows than searching for new bands. :rofl:
    #10 The Fiddler, Jan 7, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2022
  11. spag

    spag I am a leaf on the wind

    Sep 18, 2006
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    Everywhere and nowhere
    It's taken me a while to get through this list. As always, there are a number of gems that flew completely under my radar. Acolyte for example, is a real genre blend, and would have missed it without seeing it here. I think I've listened to the whole album 20 times by now.

    Lord of the Lost is another. I've only managed one listen all the way through, but it was on a dark night, driving through New Mexico, few cars, and it was really an experience. I've not given the album the time it deserves.
  12. MeTuLHeD

    MeTuLHeD A Member To Remember

    May 26, 2002
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    In front of my computer monitor...
    Give it time. I'm sure he'll get around to it.

    Really? I just don't hear that. At all. I mean, Sean has amazing range vocally. But these guys are FAR more of a prog-ish/melodic metal band. Definitely not the aggro power metal 'Priest' vibe of Primal Fear at all.
    #12 MeTuLHeD, Jan 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  13. MeTuLHeD

    MeTuLHeD A Member To Remember

    May 26, 2002
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    In front of my computer monitor...
    Thanks for this post bro! As always, there is at least one gem that I have never heard of on your list. This year it was The Stranger. Great disc by a great band! Thanks!!!
  14. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Member

    Feb 11, 2002
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    Maybe not one of the best for the year, but was pretty damn solid prog metal was Within Progress, who had a new release last year.


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