Currently, there are more heavy metal recordings being made than in any other time in history. According to perennially utilitarian website Encyclopedia Metallum: The Metal Archives, an online database of aural fury no serious headbanger can live without, over 7,000 full-length albums of new studio material were released in this rather chaotic year of 2021 A.D., which alone proves that in the face of revolutions, discoveries, outbreaks, cultural changes, conflicts, paradigm shifts, and tempests worldwide, heavy metal endures and thrives in abundance. Until I began compiling this list a month ago, I was concerned that I might have difficulty finding enough albums to assemble a collection even half as long as I did in 2020. Yet, I was simultaneously relieved (and happily frustrated, if that makes sense) that artists and bands rallied in the latter half of the year to bring us a bountiful collection of metal records that spanned subgenres and all national borders. Curating this roster of sonic excellence and power is as challenging as it is rewarding, but I always enjoy sharing it with you all in spite of how nerve-wracking it can be at times. I hope to turn you on to some new sounds and trust that you will do the same for me with your own honor rolls posted throughout social media. I even summoned one more worthy disc than I did a dozen moons ago as there were just too many fantastic releases for me to omit. Perhaps I’ll aim for 102 next year? The proliferation is as inspiring as it is mind-boggling, upstarts and old hands alike rising to the occasion in an era where heavy metal (and music in general) has truly become essential for people’s well-being.
Regardless, as always, I have to thank the aforementioned Encyclopedia Metallum for being such a useful resource in putting this annual article together. I also must once again urge you, the legions of metallians in cyberspace, to click on the hyperlinks I have provided for each act, release, and label to check them out for yourselves if you haven’t already. Or use your netizen skills to hunt for them on your own via whichever search engines or webshops you favor in the formats you need. And of course, don’t forget to haunt your local music stores as they remain a backbone of the industry and a haven for those who serve as patrons of the art of sweet, electric noise in all its forms. The access we have to music is unprecedented in this day and age. Take advantage of it. Explore.
So… without further delay, allow The Grym Hessian to proudly present to you The Class Of 2021!
35. Alcatrazz-V (Silver Lining Music)
36. Mother Iron Horse–Under The Blood Moon (Ripple Music)