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Stumbling Through 2021 October-December

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Only adding albums I've listened through.

Created by: LifelikeAdvisor | 02.10.2021

1. First Fragment - Gloire Éternelle
(8.10) [techdeath] A real standout piece of techdeath, possibly my favorite this year, yet still doesn't quite justify it's length.
2. Emma Ruth Rundle - Engine Of Hell
(8.00) [post-rock/neofolk] The deeply personal stories and stripped back songwriting make this a weighty listen, but one well worth it for the quality of musicianship.
3. Be'lakor - Coherence
(8.00) [melodeath] Can't say this hit me the way other releases have, but it's consistent.
4. Trivium - In The Court Of The Dragon
(7.98) [thrash/alternative] I'm amazed at Trivium's momentum and evolution. This might be their best album so far in my opinion.
5. Møl - Diorama
(7.94) [post-metal/shoegaze/atmospheric black] This feels like the Deafheaven album I was expecting. Excellent blackgaze soundscape and a really great vocal range in a genre that's not known for it.
6. Diablo Swing Orchestra - Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole
(7.92) [avantgarde/symphonic] The production is terrible but otherwise a great return to form for the band.
7. Mercury Circle - Killing Moons
(7.88) [suomi/post-rock] The warm textures build on this unique soundscape that I'm really into. Excellent use of electronics.
8. Destinity - In Continuum
(7.80) [melodeath] Really fantastic blend of Dark Tranquility and Insomnium, with an occasional symphonic moment sprinkled in.
9. Mastodon - Hushed And Grim
(7.79) [progressive stoner] Long and sometimes lost my interest, but overall an enjoyable release with great rhythm and interesting moments.
10. Hippotraktor - Meridian
(7.79) [progressive/post-metal] Real smooth, easy listening with great bounce in the rhythm and riffs. Highly enjoyable.
11. Teramaze - And The Beauty They Perceive
(7.78) [progressive] Another great outing by Teramaze, though not quite the memorable listen as Sorella Minore
12. Anomalie - Tranceformation
(7.75) [black/post-metal] Excellent use of rhythm and cadence to build out the album's atmosphere. Definitely retains a mystic quality but without losing its focus.
13. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Illusory Walls
(7.73) [emo/post-hardcore] Didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Some songs don't hit well but many have enough melody to complement the vocals.
14. The Mask Of The Phantasm - New Axial Age
(7.72) [prog rock/alternative] Fantastic instrumentation and incredibly soulful vocals.
15. Der Weg Einer Freiheit - Noktvrn
(7.71) [black] The bass is used really well to showcase stop-and-pull in the music, which gives this a nice element of depth beyond the guitars and synths. Really interesting way to open and close an album too.
16. Lichfield - Dead Trees
(7.63) [gothic/melodeath/doom] There's a melancholy here that feeds perfectly into the melodic sounds of the music and vocals. There's some stumbling with cadence but otherwise a solid EP from a band I look forward to hearing more from.
17. Cân Bardd - Devoured By The Oak
(7.50) [atmospheric black/folk] Very nice blend of grandiose orchestration and calmer folk elements. I enjoyed the inclusion of three languages here and, overall, an enjoyable listen.
18. Cynic - Ascension Codes
(7.50) [progressive] Really like how the smaller intros compliment the main songs. The whole package is a great listen and far better than I expected.
19. Thank You Scientist - Plague Accommodations
(7.50) [prog rock] It's as if C&C's vocalist, Dave Koz, and Cory Wong's band got together and created an album. Not big into the vocals but the intrumentation is solid and enjoyable.
20. Omnium Gatherum - Origin
(7.50) [melodeath] Nothing boundary pushing here or particularly noteworthy. Well-executed melodeath with some great moments interspersed with standard or dull moments.
21. Blackwater Holylight - Silence​ /​ Motion
(7.50) [stoner/psychedelic] I'm sometimes put off by a misplaced vocal track when I'm absorbed in the music, but otherwise this is a great, atmospheric album. Real immersive.
22. Idles - Crawler
(7.45) [noise rock] Diverse soundscape with elements of doom and crossover interspered throughout.
23. Whitechapel - Kin
(7.45) [deathcore] The integration of calmer and introspective moments makes this far more engaging than others within the genre for me. It's not going to make me a fan, but it's a solid showcase and follow up to The Valley.
24. Ghetto Ghouls - The Horror Of Party Beach
(7.45) [crossover thrash] This is dumb fun, though got a bit bored during Sufer Chicks & Slimy Chills
25. Khemmis - Deceiver
(7.42) [doom] Enjoyable doom with great tone and excellent vocals.
26. She Said Destroy - Succession
(7.40) [thrash] Genre tag does not explain this album's erratic style changes. It takes this avant-garde approach that can come off as unbalanced and unfocused, but is engaging for those who don't mind genre changes.
27. Dream Theater - A View From The Top Of The World
(7.40) [progressive] What you'd expect from DT. Maybe a little more listenable than other albums.
28. Avdagata - Damnatio Cursus
(7.40) [melodic black/blackened death] There's some serious melodies here. Got some early 00's Dimmu Borgir vibes from the keyboards.
29. Völur - Zwischen Den Wäldern
(7.40) [atmospheric doom/folk] Interesting collaboration with a tanbur player. It's less an album and more an exhibition piece
30. 6:33 - Feary Tales For Strange Lullabies: The Dome
(7.39) [alternative/avantgarde] Always preferred DSO to 6:33, but always nice to hear something along that same vein. Never clicked with vocals.
31. Enslaved - Caravans To The Outer Worlds
(7.38) [progressive black] More of what to expect from Enslaved. Particularly enjoyed the shorter instrumental tracks.
32. Badbadnotgood - Talk Memory
(7.38) [fusion jazz] Not typically the sort of jazz I'm into, but the mellow tones and collaborations really help expand the sound into interesting areas.
33. Ad Infinitum - Chapter II: Legacy
(7.35) [symphonic] Not as engaging throughout as their debut. I hope this is more them building into their sound than heading in this direction.
34. Theon Cross - Intra-I
(7.33) [electronic/jazz/rap/reggae] It's not surprising a Sons Of Kemet member makes an interesting soundscape, this time showcasing the tuba as a sonic driver for the music. At times celebratory and at others moodier, it's a worthwhile adventure.
35. Thymele - Echoes Of Tragedy
(7.31) [melodeath] Impressive musical composition (and the fact one person played them) sell this experience. Regrettably the vocals do the opposite for me, especially the strained and struggling cleans which don't match the bravado of the music.
36. Negură Bunget - Zău
(7.30) [black/folk] First experience with the band, so can't compare to OM. A good ride, especially liked the ambient textures.
37. Maybeshewill - No Feeling Is Final
(7.30) [post-rock] Reminiscent of This Patch Of Sky with keys and classical instruments leading the way, the album doesn't feel as consistent as it could, but does have good build up moments.
38. Trigg & Gusset - Black Ocean
(7.28) [dark jazz] calm, vibrant yet understated. Enjoyable soundscape, and a great introduction to dark jazz genre. Ominous Clouds is haunting.
39. The Book - Sculptures Of The Gods
(7.25) [heavy] At two songs totalling just over ten minutes, it's not enough to rate higher, but the blending of different genres make it a hopeful sign for this band to continue experimenting.
40. Duran Duran - Future Past
(7.23) [synth-pop/rock] Not sure why the bulk of guests bookend the album, especially given they aren't as good as the primary songs. Nothing mindblowing, but a decent showcase with bass-heavy work.
41. Swallow The Sun - Moonflowers
(7.22) [melodeath/melodic doom] As a whole this didn't captivate me, but the Cammie Gilbert feature was excellent. The previous album grew on me, so maybe this one will too.
42. Zornheym - The Zornheim Sleep Experiment
(7.20) [extreme symphonic] Right up there with She Said Destory for unexpected discoveries of 2021. Fun blend of extreme and symphonic sounds, with some very nice vocals and composition.
43. Beast In Black - Dark Connection
(7.15) [heavy metal/power/pop rock] Definitely not my thing, but what it does, it does well and in heavy neon.
44. Sol Sistere - Sol Sistere
(7.15) [atmospheric black] evocative of Deafheaven's best moments, with the advantage of a much better vocalist. Way too long though.
45. Eonian - The Nomad
(7.10) [symphonic melodeath] Very explosive with high-rising orchestrations, but a tad too same-y for me throughout.
46. Lost And Alone - Tears Of The Moon
(7.08) [atmospheric black] Impressive considering the basic equipment used.
47. Cradle Of Filth - Existence Is Futile
(7.05) [extreme gothic/symphonic] Bizarre pacing aside, nothing here strikes me as memorable. 'The Dying Of The Embers' may be the exception due to its doom-inspired riffs.
48. KK's Priest - Sermons Of The Sinner
(7.03) [heavy metal] Good, solid heavy metal ripped right from the past. Not quite my thing but I can appreciate it for what it is.
49. Ministry - Moral Hygiene
(6.93) [industrial] The last two songs did more for me than the rest combined. Kinda wish there was more intensity throughout because it felt meandering and unfocused most of the time.
50. Bloodred Hourglass - Your Highness
(6.93) [melodeath/thrash] Just not a fan of their style of melodeath. If they did something more with the electronics their sound would be more interesting.
51. A.A. Williams - arco
(7.90) [post-rock/alternative] While it retains that blend of ambient and ethereal atmosphere from Forever Blue, this EP doesn't have the same charm or forward progress from the album to be worth the listen.
52. Vetrar Draugurinn - The Night Sky
(6.88) [gothic] Pretty standard gothic metal; exactly what I expected. Like a doomier Evanescence. A bit too long.
53. Dying Wish - Fragments Of A Bitter Memory
(6.82) [hardcore] Inconsistent songwriting. At their best when they incorporate more melodic sounds, but largely a band exploring what they want to sound like.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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