The best albums of 2021 so far…April-June, the second quarter

As the pandemic still does its best to mess with the music industry, there is at least a little hope that things might be starting to head towards a bit more normality. But is it too late? Whilst the infection rates rise again, sporting events have seen a re-opening of sorts, with fans allowed back into stadia in increasing numbers. Sadly, things have been much slower for the music industry with very few gigs still taking place. That said, the Download test event seemed to go well, and Bloodstock is just around the corner, so things aren’t all doom and gloom.

Additionally, the bands and artists who brighten our lives with their music have remained hard at work, delivering an incredible amount of new material. I have tried to keep up and review as much as possible, but it has been tough – so that must be a good thing! And here is a quick round-up of my favourite ten albums released in the second quarter of 2021, taking us up to the half-way mark.

If you missed my round-up for the first three months, you can read it here.

Evile

Hell Unleashed

Napalm Records

Genre: Thrash Metal

“In many ways, it’s like Evile have never been away, but in others, it’s patently obvious. The precision and seemingly effortless ability to write head turning thrash metal is to the quartet’s immense credit, whilst the genuine aggression and ferocity with which they approach this new material demonstrates how much it means for Evile to be back and firing on all cylinders. I defy any fan of heavy music to not enjoy this brilliant slab of heavy thrash intensity.”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Gojira

Fortitude

Roadrunner Records

Genre: Metal

“On the evidence of ‘Fortitude’, Gojira are one of those bands that are truly deserving of adjectives such as ‘genius’, ‘magical’ and ‘special’. Most of you reading this will already know that ‘Fortitude’ is a no-brainer of an album if you truly enjoy heavy music that’s intelligent, deep, complex, and multi-faceted. Gojira and I will no longer be strangers, I can assure you of that. Magnifique!”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Seth

La Morsure Du Christ

Season Of Mist

Genre: Black Metal

“I liked it on a first spin, as I sat open-mouthed in immediate adoration. And since then, I’ve just become ever more enamoured with this record. The imagery may upset some, but I am drawn to the cover artwork, as it is a stunning piece of art. And the lyrical content may upset in equal measure. However, I really don’t care. At the end of the day, I am reviewing the music and, on that score, Seth have created a stunning record. I don’t say this lightly but for my tastes, ‘La Morsure Du Christ’ is an incredible symbiosis of beauty and extremity, making it easily the best black metal album that I have heard this year so far, and maybe for some time before that.”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Subterranean Masquerade

Mountain Fever

Sensory Records

Genre: Progressive Metal

“…overall, this album is nothing short of brilliant. It blends the audacity and experimentation of progressive and World music, with some thoroughly gorgeous, almost radio-friendly melodies. But because it has been done with care, passion, and skill, the result is not contrived, or lacking focus. Instead, it is a fully immersive experience and easily the most assured and entertaining album of Subterranean Masquerade’s career to date.”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Dordeduh

Har

Prophecy Productions

Genre: Avant-Garde Metal

“What started out as a review into an album that I thought was intriguing and original, has turned into a review of an album that I have fallen in love with. I love the variety, the crushing heaviness, the quiet introspection, the way that it makes me feel as I listen, and the gorgeous melodic aspects that are incredibly strong but not overdone. ‘Har’ is a genuinely original body of work that is an absolute delight to listen to. But more than just listen to it, you feel it too. Everyone should hear this record and everyone should know the name ‘Dordeduh’. “

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Acolyte

Entropy

Blood Blast Records

Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal

“Passion, authenticity, and belief courses through the material, telling me that Acolyte are a band that are completely and utterly invested in the music that they have created here. I have grown more and more fond of ‘Entropy’ with each rewarding and entertaining spin, to the point where I have a hard job removing it from my stereo. Anyone who has even the most cursory interest in intelligent and progressive music needs to hear this record. ‘Entropy’ will not disappoint, I can guarantee you that. Trust me, I know my onions…I think.”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Vola

Witness

Mascot Records

Genre: Progressive Metal

“At the end of the day, I love the riffing, I love the melodies, I love the rich layers, and I have taken many of the songs to my heart. If, like me, you enjoy heavy music with a progressive bent, but with strong, immediate, and irresistible melodies, then ‘Witness’ will be a massive hit with you. But then I guess you already knew that, didn’t you?”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Frost*

Day And Age

InsideOut Music

Genre: Progressive Rock

“…it’s a love that has emerged in spite of the fact that, on paper, this shouldn’t be the kind of music to make me giddy and excited to such an extent. But, as I’ve said elsewhere in this review, everything is of the very highest order here: the musicianship, the song writing, the clarity of purpose, and a bucketload of memorable hooks, catchy choruses, and stunning melodies. This is pop-infused, synth-laden progressive rock of the very highest order and I’m thoroughly blown away.”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

White Moth Black Butterfly

The Cost Of Dreaming

Kscope

Genre: Progressive pop/ambient/electronic

“White Moth Black Butterfly are an incredibly special entity and whether it’s soothing and cinematic, or bold, dark, and smothered in electronics, their music just works. But more than that, it hits me in places that very few other artists manage to reach. Genres be damned, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool metalhead and I love ‘The Cost Of Dreaming’. And if you give it a chance, so will you.”

Read the full review here

— MoMM —

Wooden Veins

In Finitude

The Vinyl Division

Genre: Avant-Garde Metal

“In summary, I can only conclude that in Wooden Veins, lovers of progressive and avant-garde music have a new band in their midst that requires immediate and undivided attention. From the richness of the sound to the quality of musicianship, and from the beauty to the experimentation, ‘In Finitude’ is the real deal. Give it time, and I have no doubt that many will be as bowled over as I am. And rightly so, because Wooden Veins deserve every accolade that is coming their way, I really mean it.”

Read the full review here

— MoMM –

And notable mentions go to:

Morrigu – In Turbulence:

“If you’re a fan of varied music that’s both heavy and soft, harsh and beautiful, then ‘In Turbulence’ is an absolute must-buy.”

Plaguestorm – Purifying Fire:

“…what Plaguestorm and ‘Purifying Fire’ demonstrates is that, in the right hands, melodic death metal can still ignite that fire within me and provide endless hours of enjoyment.”

Fear Factory – Aggression Continuum:

“If this is the quality of material that Fear Factory can produce after three decades, I do not want the journey to end…Wall to wall talent, wall to wall commitment, and wall to wall quality music.”

Thy Catafalque – Vadak:

“It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but if you like music to challenge you both in terms of the complexities at work but also the variety of genres of music it traverses, you need ‘Vadak’ in your life as soon as possible.”

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