I shamefully confess that I haven’t really kept track of many new releases this year. For someone running a metal website, and uploading all the reviews over here, this is extra shameful.
Even though the opposite occurs to some, I think I don’t need much to explain that even though music helps through these weird times, I lost my motivation to be an active music listener/explorer at home. I’m desperately in need of some live music to get the fire burning again.
Thankfully I was able to visit one live event this year: Soulcrusher Festival. It definitely was one of the highlights of 2021.
When it comes to new releases my number one for sure is Wardruna – Kvitravn, especially the song Andvevarljod. I must have listened to this one hundreds of times and it still gives me goosebumps.
Even though the hype is real, Wardruna never disappoints me. Kvitravn has some familiar sounds in it, but also is renewing. The general atmosphere of the album always has me in its grasp.
Another album I’ve listened to a lot the past months since its release, is MØL – Diorama. I’ve started sitting down to write a review about this album a couple of times, but every time I failed to find the right words, so in the end I gave up. It’s the variation and the general atmosphere that gets to me. At one point it’s straightforward black metal, the other song almost couldn’t be more the opposite, a perfect mix of genres.
Have you ever heard of Aara? Until recently I didn’t know of their existence, but sometimes Spotify manages to amaze me. They released their third full length ‘Triade I: Eos’ this year on vinyl, but since I don’t have a vinyl player I’ve only listened to its digital version, also right now, writing this article.
In Dutch we call this type of music ‘smerige black metal’, which translates to ‘filthy black metal’, a genre I absolutely love. So far I’ve only given this album a few spins, but I was hooked from the first spin on. I can’t wait to see this music been played live someday.
Another album worth mentioning is Night Crowned – Hädanfärd. I haven’t listened to this as much as the others, but this band is just simply amazing. A straightforward wall of sound, perfect for when I need to let out some aggression.
It might be ‘just an EP’, but I really like Enslaved – Caravans To The Outer World. Its atmosphere is exactly what I need sometimes.
A release I was really looking forward to this year was the new Anomalie album: Tranceformation, but so far, I’m not sure yet what to think of it. I like all their previous work, and some songs on this album really amaze me; but others I don’t get (yet), mainly because of the vocals (something I never thought I would say)
It might grow by time, and maybe by then, looking back at this article, it would have ended up higher, but for now it’s the last album that I will mention.
This year, I’ve listened a lot, really an insane lot, to the ‘Northern Spirits’ playlist on Spotify. Therefor I know that for example Nytt Land their release ‘Ritual’ contains at least a few great songs I love, but I haven’t listened enough to the entire album yet to truly judge it.
There are still quite some 2021 releases I still have to check out, and if I already had might have ended up in this list as well (Thyrfing, Ex Deo and many more), hopefully 2022 will bring me and everyone else a lot of listening and exploring new music pleasure.