SOM - The Shape Of Everything (2022)

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After their killer 2021 “Awake” EP, all-star outfit SOM returns with their much anticipated full-length release “The Shape of Everything”. Featuring members of bands like Junius and Caspian, this album delivers over 34 minutes of extremely melancholic and yet heavy amalgamation of all kinds of genres ranging from Doom to Post-Rock and Post-Metal. Creating a very unique signature style, this release is set to be on plenty of best albums of 2022 releases.

Opening with the melancholy of “Moment”, the band quickly establishes a very moody atmosphere, similar to bands like Deftones and Junius, but with a more shoegazey and dreamy edge. The clean vocals create very powerful melodies, perfectly soaring from the textured guitars of tracks like the Deafheaven-esque “Animals” and the playful “Center”. The band’s versatility can be heard on our favorite “Shape”, a piece that delivers a hefty dosage of heavy riffs alongside more subtle and ethereal guitar work.

Krvna - Sempinfernus (2021)

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Unleashing waves of Vampiric Black Metal, today we have Australia’s Krvna and their debut full-length release “Sempinfernus”. With over 35 minutes of intense music, this release reminds us of early Dimmy Borgir, Old Man’s Child, and similar outfits, filled with atmosphere and harshness. For a one-man project, this release packs a mean punch and high replay value.

Opening with the sinister “From The Shades Of Hades…”, the atmosphere immediately feels tense and eerie thanks to blistering drumming, intricate guitar work and devilish vocals. Things turn a bit more melodic and less chaotic with the melodic onslaughts of “...To The Targovistean Night”, contrasted by its punishing aggressive sections. We are suckes for epic melodies and the track “The Triumph Of The Flesh Over The Spirit” is one fine piece of melodramatic guitar work.

Mountaineer - Giving Up The Ghost (2022)

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After making a huge splash with their 2020 release titled “Bloodletting”, Mountaineer achieves the impossible and unleashes an even more melancholic and more polished release with “Giving Up The Ghost”. For fans of Post-Rock/Doom/Shoegaze, this release delivers over 32 minutes of highly emotional and disharming music, creating a fully immersive atmosphere and a truly magical listening experience.

Opening with a mood setting instrumental, the band gets down to business with the dreamy “Blot Out the Sun”, filled with soaring vocal melodies (both harsh and clean) and very dynamic guitars, perfectly capturing the ‘Mountaineer vibe’ but further extending it with even more melancholy and sublime arrangements like we can hear in “Bed of Flower” or the The Ocean-esque “Touch the Glass”.

Déhà - Ave Maria II (2021)

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By far one of the most productive musicians in the Metal scene, Déhà’s creativity is probably just bounded by time as he continues to unleash massive albums under his solo project, Wolvennest, Slow, and plenty of other bands. In “Ave Maria II”, he continues work he released over 10 years ago under his side project Yhdarl. Featuring one monumental track of 42 minutes, this release is both haunting and completely harrowing, mixing up dense atmospherics, punishing screams and all mighty riffs.

Separated into two movements, the first part, “Morituri Te Salutant” sets a very cavernous mood that suddenly turns with the introduction of Thergothon-level distorted riffs alongside dramatic vocal arrangements, similar to what Elend did in the past, but with a heavier dose of distortion. The angelic female vocals are masterfully flanked with incisive guitars and massive growls/screams, perfectly turning beauty into nightmare.

Caestus - The Undoer's Key (2021)

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Another release that we didn’t have time to review in 2021, “The Undoer’s Key” is one hell of a debut album from Finland’s Caestus and their blistering Black Metal onslaughts. In the same vein of traditional Finnish BM releases from Horna, Sargeist and similar outfits, this album delivers 36 minutes of relentless music with savage riffs and hellish screams.

Opening with the punishing “Reclamation”, the band really warms up with the incisive riffs of “Ultimate Weapon” and its fierce brutality. By the time the album title track drops alongside the dissonant “Burning Hope”, the listener is fully immersed in the band’s piercing sound. Featuring members of Blood Red Fog (bass guitar), ex-Algazanth (guitars and backing vocals), this band delivers swift blows intense music as tracks like “Condescenders”, “Muinaisen Kunnian Taike” and “Dawn of Reckoning” showcase.

Ainulindalë - Les chroniques d'Arda (2021)

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While not a 2022 release, we are reviewing a handful of albums we quite enjoyed at the end of 2021 but didn’t have enough time to review. One of those is the outstanding EP from France’s Ainulindalë, titled “Les chroniques d'Arda”. Featuring a combination of dreamy atmospherics, lush epic arrangements and a hefty dose of aggression, this EP nicely introduces a promising outfit.

Combining elements from bands like Enid, Battlelore, Turisas, “Les damnés de Numénor” sets a very regal and effective mood. We particularly like the crafty synths paired with solid screams and epic clean vocals. As “Dagor-nuin-Giliath” and “Le geste de Maeglin” up the tempo, the band nicely unleashes crafty drumming alongside melodic guitars to keep things fluid and the headbanging to the max.

Top albums of 2021

Every year we spent quite a while doing our top albums of the year list combining data driven techniques: rating, number of times we played the album, alongside a quick listening session of all our candidates and their best songs. 2021 was a pretty solid year in music with many bands releasing albums written and recorded during the pandemic, allowing them to fully funnel their creativity and unleashing some of the best music in the last couple of decades. Here is our list of the top 25 releases of 2021:

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