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Best of 2021

Daniel Cordova's Top 15 Albums Of 2021

Greetings folks, and welcome to another year-end list from the Weekly Injection guy. To the metals…

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These are the albums that I either returned to the most, were unique listening experiences, or just plain made me happy to hear. So, I'm sure I left off your favorites and that's fine. This is my list.

See you dorks on the other side! Get poked, drink water, make friends with neighborhood cats, and listen to my podcast Far Beyond Metal.

15. Converge – Bloodmoon: I

The emotional devastation of Chelsea Wolfe and Ben Chisholm, the dissonant fury of Converge, and the unmistakable technique of Stephen Brodsky all packaged together in one place? Hell yes. This one hits hard then holds you as the world collapses around you. It's a collaboration I didn't see coming, but one I appreciate, and the fact that there's the little I there in the title gives me hope for more.

14. Cynic – Ascension Codes

Few bands made an impact on my musical development like Cynic. The first time I heard Traced In Air, it changed what I believed metal could sound like. Ascension Codes continues to explore new territory in a way that only Paul Masvidal can do under the Cynic banner. While I would love to know what this would have sounded like with the Sean's in tow, but I'm still grateful to have this in my ears.

13. Creature – Eloge De l'Ombre

Creature mastermind Raphaël Fournier really outdid himself on Eloge De l'Ombre. This album is the first of what will become a theme of me praising eclectic albums as it weaves between sounds reminiscent of Opeth, Circus of Dead Squirrels, Sigh, Enslaved, Cynic, and so many others. If you’re a prog dork like I am, do not sleep on this record.

12. Lizzard – Eroded

Back when we did our best so far lists I praised this band because "They rock with the swagger of a Royal Blood with the guitar theatrics of classic CKY and a love of atypical rhythms like Gojira." I have since fallen more for this band and have been appreciating the melodic moments that feel like love notes to 90's alternative as well. Just such a unique and cool band.

11. Rivers Of Nihil – The Work

This record sounds like a soundtrack to a film I want to see. Or maybe it’s a series of short films since each song is so wildly different. This has every element the band has utilized before and so much fresh ground. Deathcore, experimental, 80’s cheese rock, jazz, and more.

10. Pupil Slicer – Mirrors

This is another album I praised on our best so far lists earlier this year that remained in steady rotation. This young trio grinds and glitches through your eardrums tearing as they go. The breaks from the heaviness they do give you still trap you in an uneasy atmosphere. It's a hell of an experience start to finish.

9. Thy Catafalque – Vadak

Oh hey, another genre hopping prog record. Who da thunk it? Vadak might feature more genre dabbling that any other album on my list this year (save, perhaps number five). There are thrash tracks with breaks for Stranger Things-esque electronics, jazzy piano numbers, spaghetti western tracks that explode into full on folk metal, and more.

8. Gojira – Fortitude

Gojira are a band that is constantly evolving just the right amount. Fortitude feels like the logical sequel to Magma with some of their most melodic songs ever and catchy tracks. However, they also are incorporating new instrumentation (metal needs more jaw harp), dabbling with spacy atmosphere more than ever, and just killing it with song writing.

7. Møl – Diorama

I fucked up a few weeks ago when writing the Weekly Injection and didn’t highlight Diorama. I got some shit for it so I decided to investigate them. The record has been in the regular rotation even since. This is post black metal blended with shoegaze done right. Nay, done perfectly.

6. Blanket – Modern Escapism

Blanket is right up my alley. Modern Escapism is a mix of Junius, Nothing, and Deftones with an occasional grim moment. Then they also have a cozy name? Hell yes.

5. Fucked Up – Year Of The Horse

This was my introduction to this compelling band, and a hell of an introduction it was. The sheer diversity that occurs within the album’s four epic tracks got my attention, but diving deeper into the story of the album put it this high for me. It’s a long ride, but it’s a good one.

4. Danny Elfman – Big Mess

This one surprised me. The guy who did The Simpsons theme (and sure Oingo Boingo and a million other iconic scores) got some pals from the Nine Inch Nails live band and went towards the dark. Turned out to be a prog masterpiece that's weird as fuck. Not mad about that.

3. Mastodon – Hushed and Grim

There is A LOT of Mastodon to be had on this album, and it’s a lot to love. It’s a sad record, but that feels oddly comforting in the weird time we continue to live in.

2. Biffy Clyro – The Myth of the Happily Ever After

Loyal Weekly readers know my definition of metal is pretty open (and don't care for that), and Biffy Clyro is a band that’s always on the line even for me. There is some rage and sadness in the album that made it worthy of my "heavy" list. The band has had a few eras, and Myth feels like it encompassing all of them. Esoteric lyrics, a surprising amount of fury in the drums, awkward rhythmic jumps, and remaining catchy the whole time. Mon The Biff.

1. Between the Buried and Me – Colors II

Like a lot of fans, I was hesitant when they called this Colors II. Colors is my favorite album of all time, so expectations were huge. However, from the first full listen that it was number one for me. This is everything I loved since The Great Misdirect crammed into one album. It’s fun, weird, dark, experimental, and just so damned good. Full album tour when?

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