It’s been an interesting year for music. Lot’s of concerts for the first time since the pandemic started. Struggled with finding new avenues for discovering new music. I want to resist the temptation to turn into a curmudgeonly old man who hates all new things for as long as I can, but I can hear the (heavy metal) siren song calling.
10. Halestorm – Back from the Dead
The album’s first half is significantly better than the second half, but it’s still a banger. It helps that I kicked off this year seeing them live with Evanescence and rocking the fuck out of the stage.
9. Crowbar – Odd Fellows Rest
I feel like I’m always stumbling upon some Doom metal from the nineties that I somehow never listened to. “Planets Collide” in particular makes this album worth it.
8. Deftones – Dimond Eyes
I started digging into the Deftone wider catalog ahead of seeing them play with Gojira back in May. Diamond Eyes is worthy of its reputation as one of their best.
7. Beyonce – Renniasance
Lemonade remains my favorite Beyonce album, but Renniasance manages to be its own unique thing.
6. Doctor Smoke – Dreamers and the Dead
Discovered these guys on a Doom playlist. Badass album cover and some good jams.
5. Des Rocs – Let the Vultures In
These guys are considered Dad Glam Rock, and I think the description fits. Some great dancy rhythms with some rock grit.
4. Gary Clark Jr – This Land
Not sure how I missed this when it came out, but it’s a fantastic blend of genres. Blues, rock, hip hop, and more. Good lyrics to boot.
3. Kryptos – Burn up the Night
I’m always seeking out metal from different parts of the world. Kryptos hales from India and shreds the fuck out of some guitars. My friend Lindsay introduced me to them and I’ve played “Blackstar Horizon” almost every day since.
2. Stabbing Westward – Chasing Ghosts
Stabbing Westward’s first record in 21 years, and it was worth the wait. It feels like the sequel to Darkest Days that we never got. Hoping Christopher Hall makes a full recovery so that they can keep doing what they do.
1. Clutch – Sunrise on Slaughter Beach
Clutch has a big enough catalog that they can afford to have some clunkers like their last effort, Book of Bad Decisions. They more than made up for it with Sunrise on Slaughter Beach. It’s a solid record from start to finish, and it has one of my all-time favorite album covers. This one is right up there with Exodus/Robot Hive, Blast Tyrant, and Psychic Warfare.
Every year offers a few albums that don’t quite make the cut. Ironically, for almost every year that I’ve done these lists, there is an “honorable mention” album that turned out to have more staying power than a few that made the main list. So, you never know.
Lizzo – Special
Collective Soul – Vibrating
The Blue Stones – Hidden Gems
3 – The Ghost You Gave to Me
Started doing this a few years ago. I’ve been around the sun enough times that rediscovering albums I haven’t listened to in several years can be just as stimulating as finding new music. This year had two high school flashbacks, one from my college years, and one that’s just from 2014 that I fell back in love with. Here’s to albums with staying power.
Atmosphere – Southsiders
Project 86 – Truthless Heroes
VAST – Nude
Placebo – Meds