megarust's Top Albums of 2021

My tastes are generally in the territory of progressive metal (and other metal) but there are some rock, alternative, and other choices in here as well.


Let's get into it, shall we?


  1. Deafheaven - Infinite Granite

Genre: Shoegaze - Black Metal - Post-Metal

Review: Lose yourself in the atmosphere this album oozes. Such an easy listen from front to back every time.

Sample: Great Mass of Color Deafheaven - Great Mass of Color (Official Audio) - YouTube


  1. Normandie - Dark & Beautiful Secrets

Genre: Alternative - Post-Hardcore

Review: This is my "catchy" album of the year, a lot of earworms on this one. Great production and vocal performance.

Sample: Mission Control Normandie - Mission Control (Official Audio Stream) - YouTube


  1. Archspire - Bleed the Future

Genre: Tech Death

Review: These guys have managed to do even better than their last album. Insane talent all around with some of the most unique vocals. Fast, accessible, brilliant. 30 minutes chock full of detail.

Sample: Drone Corpse Aviator ARCHSPIRE - "Drone Corpse Aviator" (Official Music Video) 2021 - YouTube


  1. First Fragment - Gloire Eternelle

Genre: Tech Death

Review: What a year for accessible tech death this was. Really standout fretless bass and guitar work. An hour (!) of this stuff, just a masterwork.

Sample: Pantheum First Fragment - Pantheum (Official Video)


  1. Vola - Witness

Genre: Djent - Progressive Metal

Review: This album balances their djenty sound with the style of their last album. Vola makes good music.

Sample: Napalm VOLA - Napalm (Lyric Video) - YouTube


  1. Harakiri for the Sky - Maere

Genre: Post Black Metal

Review: This album stayed on my playlists throughout the year. Loved the harsh vocals, the pace of the music with some really lovely melodic leads. Longer tracks, this album has more of a vibe.

Sample: I'm All About the Dusk


  1. Tribulation - Where the Gloom Becomes Sound

Genre: Metal - Black - Death - Gothic (some mixture of those)

Review: A bit of death n' roll meets Dissection maybe. Super catchy, gothic, doomy, consistent. Love it.

Sample: Leviathans TRIBULATION - Leviathans (OFFICIAL VIDEO)


  1. Subterranean Masquerade - Mountain Fever

Genre: Progressive Metal

Review: These guys have a unique swanky style that I dig. Musically occasionally offbeat but not out of place. Hard to describe the big picture with these guys. Check 'em out.

Sample: Ascend SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE - Ascend (Official Video)


  1. Diablo Swing Orchestra - Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole

Genre: Avant-Garde Metal

Review: Speaking of offbeat. This band is especially unique to my ear. Beautiful music, vocals. Beautifully animated music videos for some reason. The production on this album took some heat, but it doesn't drive me nuts.

Sample: Celebremos Lo Inevitable Diablo Swing Orchestra - Celebremos Lo Inevitable (Official Lyric Video)


  1. Eidola - The Architect

Genre: Progressive Rock - Progressive Metal

Review: Some people critique this for being more accessible than their past albums, which is probably true. But I still hear good music that sounds like Eidola.

Sample: Perennial Philosophy Eidola - Perennial Philosophy (Official Music Video)


  1. Rivers of Nihil - The Work

Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Review: I think I may still be digesting this album. I like quite a bit of it individually, but feel I'm still missing the bigger picture. Great stuff in any case, not as loved by me as their last album yet.

Sample:  The Void from Which No Sound Escapes Rivers of Nihil - The Void from Which No Sound Escapes (OFFICIAL VIDEO)


  1. Hail The Sun - New Age Filth

Genre: Progressive Rock - Post-Hardcore - Screamo

Review: Great style that sounds a bit like circa survive meets the mars volta.

Sample: Misfire Hail The Sun "Misfire" (Official Music Video)


  1. Obscura - A Valediction

Genre: Tech Death

Review: Another killer tech death album. This is really good, love Obscura.

Sample: When Stars Collide OBSCURA - When Stars Collide (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)


  1. Royal Blood - Typhoons

Genre: Alternative Rock

Review: Caught this one a little late in the year, still processing it. Really catchy, love their sound. Just a drummer and a bassist/vocalist, their bass has some gnarly effects that just work for me.

Sample: Typhoons Royal Blood - Typhoons (Official Video)


  1. ERRA - ERRA

Genre: Progressive Metalcore

Review: I've been a fan of Erra for years, starting with Augment and then their earlier album. Since then I haven't liked their drift away from progressive toward largely metalcore. But I have to give it to them, the musicianship on this one is really very good even if it is still largely metalcore. Just listen to the last minute of gungrave there.

Sample: Gungrave ERRA - Gungrave


  1. Spiritbox - Eternal Blue

Genre: Metalcore - Post-Metal

Review: I've been following this band for the last few years, and it seems they've hit it big with this one. I loved their EP, a few of their singles. I think I've grown to dislike this album more over time for some reason. I think maybe Courtney's clean vocal style needed more variety, and I generally prefer their progressive approach over their hardcore stuff. But there's also some great stuff here anyway.

Sample: Constance Spiritbox - Constance (Official Music Video)


  1. White Moth Black Butterfly - The Cost of Dreaming

Genre: Progressive Pop

Review: Huge Dan Tompkins fan but this is the first WMBB album I've gotten into. Some great stuff on here. Check out ZETA if you'd like this with a bit of synthwave, the incredible first two Skyharbor albums if you want more prog metal Dan Tompkins. Not to mention Tesseract, which is one of my top fav bands.

Sample: The Dreamer White Moth Black Butterfly - The Dreamer (from The Cost of Dreaming)


  1. Thy Catafalque - Vadak

Genre: Avant-Garde Metal

Review: I am still digesting this strange and intriguing album but I find it too interesting to leave out. It is a journey.

Sample: Thy Catafalque - 'Köszöntsd A Hajnalt' (Official Track Premiere) 2021


  1. MEER - Playing House

Genre: Progressive Rock

Review: This is a really good album front to back. There's a good chance it deserves to be higher on my list, I think I'm just a little more accustomed to heavier stuff at the moment.

Sample: Picking Up The Pieces Picking Up The Pieces


  1. Cynic - Ascension Codes

Genre: Progressive Metal

Review: I need to spend more time with this one, without a doubt there is a lot of quality Cynic in here from what I've heard. The musicianship is top notch.

Sample: Mythical Serpents CYNIC - "Mythical Serpents" (Official Song Premiere) 2021


  1. Berried Alive - The Mixgrape

Genre: Berrycore (???)

Review: I love these two, they make the sickest fruit themed music and merch. They have some really killer guitarwork and interesting tracks, hopefully they'll get a session drummer for the next one.



Top EPs

  1. Moron Police - The Stranger and the Hightide

Genre: Prog/Pop Rock

Review: If EPs were included in my top albums this would probably be #2. I just discovered this band with this one, and absolutely love this. Piano, keys, banjo, really fun.

Sample: Moron Police - The Stranger and the Hightide (FULL EP)


  1. Thank You Scientist - Plague Accommodations

Genre: Progressive Metal

Review: I love everything these guys put out.

Sample: Soul Diver Thank You Scientist - Soul Diver [Official Audio]


  1. Bodom After Midnight - Paint the Sky with Blood

Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Review: RIP Alexi. I would have loved to see the full length one after this one :(   Musically I have to say this is probably the closest to older bodom they've been in a while??  Incredible.

Sample: Paint the Sky with Blood BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT - Paint The Sky With Blood (Official Video) | Napalm Records


  1. Teramaze - Sorella Minore

Genre: Progressive Metal

Review: These guys released this monster 25 min track in this EP that is really good. I guess it's a followup to a prior album of theirs - Her Halo? This band is a bit cheesy but I like them. They're pretty prolific, they put out an album after this - this year that is also pretty good.

Sample: TERAMAZE - Sorella Minore // Official Music Video // Wells Music


  1. White Ward - Debemur Morti

Genre: Post Black Metal

Review: I couldn't get enough of the sax lovin' black metal that was Love Exchange Failure, so welcome back to these guys.

Sample:  White Ward - Debemur Morti (Full EP)



Playlist links:

Youtube playlist with the above links megarust's Top Albums and EPs of 2021 - YouTube

All of the above albums in one playlist: Top Albums and EPs of 2021

My favorites including the above and more: Favorites of 2021

Albums other people liked but haven't clicked with me yet: 2021 Investigations

/r/Metal's favorite metal albums of all time: Shreddit's Favorite Albums

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