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Top releases 2021:
 
Paradise Lost - Gothic Live At Roadburn 2016 (digital)
Score: 10/10
There are many reasons why this album should not be in this yearlist: 1) It's a live album that 2) is from a concert from 5 years ago where they 3) play a (by now) 30 year-old album. 4) The label doesnt seem to care much for this release either since 5) it's a digital-only release that they didn't promote much and 6) didn't even bother to cut up in separate songs. 7) Instead they are promoting their live album 'Into the Mill' that you may find way WAY down this yearlist. 8) And from the band interaction between the songs I got the idea that even the band seems less into playing old songs. 9) Finally putting this in my yearlist might expose me as a grumpy senior metalhead who only likes old stuff. There's actually only one single reason why this album is topping my yearlist, and that's because it's the best fucking thing I heard all year.
 
Graveyard Of Souls - Infinity Equal Zero
Score: 10/10
While sunny Spain is certainly not known for producing famous doom-metal bands, Graveyard Of Souls has been releasing solid doom/death albums for the last decade, slowly improving each time leading to "Infinity Equal Zero" which is their best album yet, hitting that sweet spot with a very old-school feel, sometimes reminding of early Tiamat, some old Moonspell. Definitely worth to be known outside of Spain!
 
The Ruins Of Beverast - The Thule Grimoires
Score: 10/10
I have to start by saying that "The Thule Grimoires" is a great album. It's a excellent example of The Ruins Of Beverast's typical mix of faster black/death metal with atmospheric slower parts. Having said that, I'm afraid it just doesn't live up to their two last albums Exuvia and Blood Vaults. The songs sound more simple somehow, more straightforward and less layered, whereas in earlier works you somehow always discovered something new on repeat listens. Still some excellent work here, and perhaps a more comfortable listen than earlier releases.
 
Anomalie - Tranceformation
Score: 10/10
It is so difficult to sound innovative as a metalband in 2021. Most releases are sticking to a certain style and try to do very well what has been done before, so it's quite refreshing to hear an album like Tranceformation from Austria's Anomalie which goes for its own sound and excels at it on top of that. Stylistically perhaps it's closest to viking metal, yet somehow not that at all. Hard to describe, but easy to enjoy!
 
Harakiri For The Sky - Mære
Score: 10/10
Another Austrian release here is Harakiri For The Sky's latest effort. While their style may be no surprise to fans of the band, it's an excellent continuation of what they're good at. Also serving as an example that sometimes quality and quantity go hand in hand, Mære spans over two cds without losing my interest, and it helps to end with the excellent Placebo cover, which is one of my favourite bands outside of the metal genre.
 
Ophis - Spew Forth Odium
Score: 9.5/10
If your ears are in need of a bass-fed massage then Ophis' latest "Spew Forth Odium" is an outstanding choice. They could even be mistaken for funeral doom this time since they wait until the third song to pick up speed and remind us of the death in their doomdeath style, which is almost a pity because that's where they really shine. Otherwise another great release for the German doomers.
 
Cradle Of Filth - Existence Is Futile
Score: 9.5/10
Writing a Cradle Of Filth review is almost a waste of time, since the band is so polarizing. People who hate them will not listen to this album no matter how good the review, and the fans will buy their latest release blindly. So what is left to say, except that if you're in the second group you will not be disappointed. Over-the-top theatrics, bombastic symphonies and supporting choirs, this is Cradle showing off that they're still in top form after 30 years.
 
Irrlycht - Wolfish Grandeur
Score: 9.5/10
Germany's Irrlycht came out of hiding one decade after their last album to deliver us an outstanding raw black metal album with a very old-school feel to it. For sure I hear some Nagelfar and Farsot in their music, but also some throwbacks to the old Norwegian black metal classics. They're delivering some grandeur indeed.
 
Djevel - Tanker som rir natten
Score: 9.5/10
Djevel is band that has been around in the Norwegian black metal scene for a decade or so, and while releasing many albums that were always decent efforts, they never stood out that much, except maybe for the crazy long song titles which I'll try to avoid quoting in this review. Their latest "Tanker som rir natten" is the first album that really speaks to me, with a highlight in their slower-tempo last track "Vinger som tok oss over en brennende himmel, vinger som tok oss hjem". Dammit!
 
Thy Light - Thy Light
Score: 9.5/10
Originally I got to know Thy Light on the Summoning tribute album "In Mordor Where The Shadows Are" - in hindsight this compilation introduced me to so many exceptional bands. Officially this Thy Light release is an EP, but with two long atmospheric black metal tracks clocking in well over 30 minutes it's absolutely worthy of a position in the yearlist.
 
Panopticon
...And Again into the Light
Score: 9.5/10
 
Wyrd
Vandraren
Score: 9.5/10
 
Winterfylleth
Live at Bloodstock 2021
Score: 9.5/10
 
Shadecrown
Solitarian
Score: 9.5/10
 
Ex Deo
The Thirteen Years of Nero

Score: 9.5/10
 
Midnight Odyssey
Biolume Part 2 - The Golden Orb
Score: 9.5/10
 
Havukruunu
Kuu erkylän yllä
Score: 9.5/10
 
Helheim
Woduridar
Score: 9.5/10
 
Evilfeast / Gnipahålan
Split
Score: 9.5/10
 
Ancient Wisdom
A Celebration in Honor of Death
Score: 9.5/10
 
21Dr. Death
Reincarnation
Score: 9/10
 
Anti
Anti (digital)
Score: 9/10
22
 
23Thyrfing
Vanagandr
Score: 9/10
 
Borgne
Temps Morts
Score: 9/10
24
 
25Yoth Iria
As the Flame Withers
Score: 9/10
 
Old Forest
Mournfall
Score: 9/10
26
 
27Seth
La Morsure du Christ
Score: 9/10
 
Tribulation
Where the Gloom Becomes Sound
Score: 9/10
28
 
29Cân Bardd
Devoured By The Oak
Score: 9/10
 
Fear Factory
Aggression Continuum
Score: 9/10
30
 
31Obscurity
Skogarmaors
Score: 9/10
 
Avenger
Cern a Smrt (as Bohemyst)
Score: 8.5/10
32
 
33Be'lakor
Coherence
Score: 8.5/10
 
Suicide Forest
Reluctantly
Score: 8.5/10
34
 
35Omnium Gatherum
Origin
Score: 8.5/10
 
Necromantia
To the Depths We Descend...
Score: 8.5/10
36
 
37Ice Ages
Vibe of Scorn
Score: 8.5/10
 
At The Gates
The Nightmare of Being
Score: 8.5/10
38
 
39Various
Krąg Kryvi
Score: 8.5/10
 
The Flight Of Sleipnir
Eventide
Score: 8.5/10
40
 
41Igric
Svet svetlom stvorený
Score: 8.5/10
 
Spectral Wound
A Diabolic Thirst
Score: 8.5/10
42
 
43Negură Bunget
Zău
Score: 8.5/10
 
Wolves In The Throne Room
Primordial Arcana
Score: 8.5/10
44
 
45Crescent
Carving the Fires of Akhet
Score: 8.5/10
 
Avathar
Ja Niin Sakenee Pimeys
Score: 8/10
46
 
47Zgard
Place of Power
Score: 8/10
 
Clouds
Despărțire
Score: 8/10
48
 
49Gojira
Fortitude
Score: 8/10
 
Memoriam
To the End
Score: 8/10
50
 
51Hypocrisy
Worship
Score: 8/10
 
Der Weg Einer Freiheit
Noktvrn
Score: 8/10
52
 
53An Autumn For Crippled Children
As the Morning Dawns We Close Our Eyes
Score: 8/10
 
Saille
V
Score: 8/10
54
 
55Hooded Menace
The Tritonus Bell
Score: 8/10
 
Agonoize
Revelation Six Six Sick
Score: 8/10
56
 
57Thulcandra
A Dying Wish
Score: 8/10
 
De Arma
Strayed in Shadows
Score: 8/10
58
 
59Dordeduh
Har
Score: 7.5/10
 
Moonspell
Hermitage

Score: 7.5/10
60
 
61Møl
Diorama
Score: 7.5/10
 
Kalmankantaja
For the Glory of Death
Score: 7.5/10
62
 
63Swallow The Sun
20 Years of Gloom, Beauty and Despair: Live in Helsinki
Score: 7.5/10
 
Mesarthim
CLG J02182–05102
Score: 7.5/10
64
 
65Kalmankantaja
Nostalgia III: Surun syntysija
Score: 7.5/10
 
Arkhtinn
Futatabime no Saigai
Score: 7.5/10
66
 
67Deafheaven
Infinite Granite
Score: 7.5/10
 
Aphonic Threnody
The All Consuming Void
Score: 7.5/10
68
 
69Golgotha
Remembering the Past - Writing the Future
Score: 7.5/10
 
Minas Morgul
Heimkehr
Score: 7.5/10
70
 
71Mannveira
Vítahringur
Score: 7/10
 
Dark The Suns
Suru Raivosi Sydämeni Pimeydessä
Score: 7/10
72
 
73Fluisteraars
Gegrepen door de Geest der Zielsontluiking
Score: 7/10
 
In Mourning
The Bleeding Veil
Score: 7/10
74
 
75Amorphis
Live at Helsinki Ice Hall
Score: 7/10
 
Darkwoods My Betrothed
Angel Of Carnage Unleashed
Score: 7/10
76
 
77Hand Of Kalliach
Samhainn
Score: 7/10
 
The Amenta
Revelator
Score: 7/10
78
 
79Hermóðr
Heart of Solitude (digital)
Score: 7/10
 
White Ward
Debemur Morti
Score: 6.5/10
80
 
81Rivers Of Nihil
The Work
Score: 6.5/10
 
Waldgeflüster
Dahoam
Score: 6.5/10
82
 
83Hermóðr
Frozen Silence (digital)
Score: 6.5/10
 
Carcass
Torn Arteries
Score: 6.5/10
84
 
85Oathean
The Endless Pain and Darkness
Score: 6.5/10
 
Vreid
Wild North West
Score: 6/10
86
 
87The Stone
Kosturnice
Score: 6/10
 
Code
Flyblown Prince
Score: 6/10
88
 
89Moonspell
Before the Lights Go Out
Score: 6/10
 
Interior Wrath
V Vetra Gimnah
Score: 6/10
90
 
91Einherjer
North Star
Score: 6/10
 
Mirzadeh
Sauna (digital)
Score: 6/10
92
 
93Unreqvited
Beautiful Ghosts
Score: 6/10
 
Emerald Night
Magna Voice Ab Oblivione
Score: 5.5/10
94
 
95Oceana
The Pattern
Score: 5.5/10
 
Antipole / Kill Shelter
A Haunted Place
Score: 5.5/10
96
 
97Kalmankantaja
Uniani (digital)
Score: 5.5/10
 
Les Chants De Nihil
Le Tyran et l'Esthète
Score: 5.5/10
98
 
99Aphrenety
Wolves of Ardeal
Score: 5.5/10
 
Empyrium
Über den Sternen
Score: 5.5/10
100



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