Top Ten Of 2021: Tom Hanno

2021 has seen the release of many amazing albums; so many in fact, that putting together a list of the ten best was excruciatingly difficult. Many albums, like A Day To Remember’s You’re Welcome, Red Beard Wall‘s 3, and the debut album from Mothman And The Thunderbirds are all incredible, and I wish I had room to include them. However, after much thought and consideration, I’ve whittled my list down to these ten stellar albums. I highly recommend that you give each of them a chance; enjoy!!

Tom Hanno

10. Witherfall ‘Curse Of Autumn’

Witherfall ‘Curse Of Autumn’

I’m an enormous fan of Witherfall, their blend of dark melodicism, heavy metal riffs, the lead guitar shredding of Jake Dreyer, the Dio influenced vocals of Joseph Michael, and the incomparable talents of the rest of the band all make for a highly enjoyable listening experience, no matter the album. Curse Of Autumn is heavy, light, beautiful, ugly in the right ways, and has become my favorite album by them.

Label: Century Media

9. Cannibal Corpse ‘Violence Unimagined’

Cannibal Corpse ‘Violence Unimagined’

I’m a casual fan of Cannibal Corpse, but this album absolutely blew me away. Having added Erik Rutan into the fold seemed to reinvigorate the band, and his song contributions are among the best that they have put out in years; not to mention that the other songwriters seem to have upped their game considerably!!! Violence Unimagined is a mind-bending album from start to finish.

Label: Metal Blade Records

8. Fear Factory ‘Aggression Continuum’

Fear Factory ‘Aggression Continuum’

The return of the industrial metal masters!!!! Even with the announcement of Burton C. Bell leaving, this album shines as an example of what one man, Dino Cazares, can do when he puts his mind to it. Employing the services of some of the best musicians in metal, Dino made this record a reality, and I thank him for that. The world needs Fear Factory in it, no matter who’s on the mic.

Label: Nuclear Blast

7. Spiral Grave ‘Legacy Of The Anointed’

Spiral Grave ‘Legacy Of The Anointed’

I was pretty ecstatic when I heard that the remaining members of Iron Man were back with a new guitarist, Willy Rivera, and a blistering new album under a new name. The music of Spiral Grave, particularly the guitar parts, is superb, with just the right amount of metal thrown into the doom/stoner equation. This album was another of the year’s musical highlights.

Label: Argonauta Records

6. Space Metal ‘Highness’

Space Metal ‘Highness’

The New Orleans powerhouse calling themselves Space Metal, will not leave any bad tastes in your mouth. Instead of using cheesy space gimmicks, they employ crushing riff work, a thunderous rhythm section, and a wonderful vocal approach that should appeal to anyone who loves heavy music; plus, no lame keyboards can be heard. Highness was in steady rotation for months, before and after its official release.

Label: Independent

5. Slaughter To Prevail ‘Kostolom’

Slaughter To Prevail ‘Kostolom’

As I began listening to this one, I was struck by just how much they have in common with nu-metal; in particular, the brutal attack of either of the first two Slipknot albums. There’s obviously going to be a death-core vibe, but I believe that the nu-metal influences outweigh that. The fact that Slaughter To Prevail are pushing the boundaries of death-core makes them one of the standout groups within the genre.

Label: Sumerian Records

4. Bog Wizard ‘Miasmic Purple Smoke’

Bog Wizard ‘Miasmic Purple Smoke’

The music of Bog Wizard has peaks and valleys, diversity, and can be insanely heavy at times, yet a bit more subdued at others. Miasmic Purple Smoke is the perfect follow up to their last full length, From The Mire, as it expands upon that album, and takes on its own identity in doing so. My favorite track is The Rogue, as it really shows all the tricks that Bog Wizard had to offer.

Label: The Dregs Records

3. Ice Nine Kills ‘The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood’

Ice Nine Kills ‘The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood’

I got into Ice Nine Kills in 2018, with the prequel release, The Silver Scream, but felt a bit hesitant about this new album. However, after hearing the first three tracks, I was sold on its power. Part 2 – Welcome To Horrorwood – has all the elements that made me fall in love with its predecessor, heavy guitar riffs, lyrical creativity, a bit of emo sensibility, and hooks for days: not to mention some excellent lead guitar parts.

Label: Fearless Records

2. Monolord ‘Your Time To Shine’

Monolord ‘Your Time To Shine’

I loved the last two full-length releases from the Swedish powerhouse Monolord, but neither of them compared to how much I love this new one. They’re able to create heavy music with a serious atmosphere, and the guitar tone is so thickly perfect that it’s amazing. My favorite track is I’ll Be Damned, with its hypnotic and infectious vocal melody, it’s the cream of the crop on this album.

Label: Relapse Records

1. Khemmis ‘Deceiver’

Khemmis ‘Deceiver’

Written during the Covid-19 pandemic, Deceiver serves as their debut release for Nuclear Blast Records, and see’s Khemmis using crushing metal guitar riffs, employing clean and harsh vocals, while also adding in beautiful clean tones as accent pieces. Everything about this album is excellent, and it should be on everyone’s wish list this holiday season.

Label: Nuclear Blast

Honourable Mentions

In no particular order…

Lavaborne ‘Black Winged Gods’
Mothman And The Thunderbirds ‘Into the Hollow’
Cassius King ‘Field Trip’
Adapter Adapter ‘No Comfort’
Land Mammal ‘Slow Your Mind’

Scribed by: Tom Hanno