Remembering The Forgotten 2021

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Remembering The Forgotten-2021

Times flies! This is my sixth consecutive year doing this column.  The greatest pleasure I’ve always derived from all this work in the Metal industry is supporting bands and artists. That is why this column has rapidly become one of my favourite to write. As always, I’ve included my same preamble that I publish every year, explaining the reasoning behind this column.  Enjoy!


Introduction

I wrote these introductory comments for this same column six years ago. It still holds true today. The more things change, the more they stay the same. However (!) in a slight improvement, this year seemed to be less of a stampede to be first to publish ‘End of Year lists’.   In 2017 I saw my first ‘End of Year’ list hit social media in September!  I’d like to think that my comments here and on-line have encouraged some of my colleagues in Metal journalism to be a bit more responsible, but that would be egotistical and I’d be fooling myself!

I’ve often commented that most music industry folks rush to get their ‘year-end lists’ generated and on-line much to the detriment of the bands.   In their zeal, many albums, especially from the first half of the year get missed because the albums are not ‘top of mind’ for writers in November.  Conversely, some late year albums get missed as many people generate their albums prematurely, before the year is even over. Every year, quality albums are coming out until Dec 31 but these late releases always get the shaft by the ‘mainstream’ metal Media who claim to support Metal.

Magazines and webzines cling to some arbitrary deadline and because those inconvenient releases do not fit into their neat little boxes (driven largely by commerce) those worthy albums get skipped.  One of the key problems with the mainstream Metal mags and websites is that they are complacent at best or lazy at worst.  They have grown accustomed to having albums to be delivered on a silver plater by the major labels or by high profile publicists.  They very rarely seem to dig into the underground and that is why we get same few big name bands populating their ‘year-end’ lists.

To summarize; early year releases get forgotten, late year releases get skipped, journalists get complacent and this year it was dozens and dozens of November and December releases  that got overlooked by organizations that had already published their list.  For shame!

I believe some sober reflection would help provide a broader representation of what also happened in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in 2021. I’ve enjoyed a few quiet days looking back at various releases from 2021 and I’ve cobbled together a little list of albums, EP’s, reissues, covers albums, live albums, re-recordings,  live albums, super-groups, and other general weirdness, that I felt deserved more attention than they got.  Admittedly, some of these are not ‘brand new, full-length, studio albums of all new material’, so they get left in the dust and ignored by most journalists.

My friend and colleague Adrian BeGrand has so eloquently pointed out, ‘Metal fans love lists!’   I’m no different so here is one of my lists. (listed alphabetically) I tried to work outside the trendy, hive-mind, group-think box.  There is so much more Metal to discover than those mainstream bands that everyone gushes about in their End of Year lists… if you care to look and listen.    This is a  fun little exercise of no consequence other than maybe someone might check out one of these releases. Enjoy!


ALCATRAZZ-V (Silver Lining)

A late year released that got ignored.    You would think the industry news of Bonnet being booted out of his own band would grab attention, but no.


AXEWITCH -Out Of The Ashes Into The Fire (Pure Steel)

The band reformed and put out their first album in 35 years but only a few old fans noticed.


THE CROWN-Royal Destroyer (Metal Blade)

An early year release that got left behind.


DARK HEART-s/t (Sleazy Rider)

Not unlike the Axewitch scenario , 35 years between albums is a long time and again very few noticed this comeback.


DARKWOODS MY BETROTHED-Angel Of Carnage Unleashed (Napalm)

A lot of time has passed between albums (23 years)  and the Nightwish connection is still very strong.   Dating back to his earliest days in Nattvinden’s Grat, the Nightwish mainman  Tumomas Holopainen is now a full  member with his old buddies.  This is for all the folks who wish Nightwish would go back to their heavier sounds.


DEATH SS-X (Lucifer Rising)

One of the oldest active Metal bands on the planet.  Sylvester basically hires Italian Power Metal band, Secret Sphere as his backing band and puts out the unimaginatively titled tenth album.


DECEASED-Thrash Times At Ridgemont High (Indie)

There were many, many novelty covers albums based on pop songs this year but this one is heavy as hell.  King Fowley, known for his covers. delivers his fifth or six album of cover tunes.  A clever play on the 80’s comedy film. he covers underground 80’s classic by Artillery, Razor, Bulldozer and many more.


EVERGREY-Escape Of The Phoenix (Napalm)

There was so much hype about this album early in 2021 and yet when it came time for year-end lists many people forgot about this superb record.


GLEN ALVELAIS-Peace In Chaos (Indie)

As a rule of thumb mainstream Metal metal hate any metal guy who does a solo album, more likely than not dismissing it as ‘wanking’ or some such nonsense…while hypocritically fawning over that artists guitar work in a band.  This excellent album by the ex-Forbidden/Testament flew under the radar of most.


HOLY MOTHER-Face This Burn (Massacre)

17 years in the making!  It came out in January and I don’t think I saw a single review or mention of this excellent veteran Metal band.


IMPALED NAZARENE-Eight Headed Serpent (Osmose) 

Seven years between albums saw the band lose some traction but no dip in quality.


INSANIA-V (Frontiers)

After a 14 year break Insania are back.  While admittedly this got some notice from Power Metal fans, this late year release was passed over by most.


JEFF SCOT SOTO-The Duets Collection Vol I  (Frontiers) 

Duets are not as common in Metal but collection featuring Jeff with  various guests is really cool.  He sings with such titans as Mats Leven, Eric Martin, Johnny Gioeli and Sir Russell Allen!


KORPIKLAANI-Jylha (Nuclear Blast)

Once the undisputed leaders of the ‘Big Four’ of Finnish Folk Metal, the shine seems to have worn off the band.   That is a shame because this comeback was much heavier than the poorly received Kulkija from 2018.    This didn’t have a big catchy sing-along song about alcohol,  a lot of mainstream journalists seem to fixate on the novelty aspect of the band.  Add the fact that this came out early in the year meant it got left behind.


LAKE OF TEARS-Ominous (AFM)

Heavy, dark and atmospheric this early year release got ignored by many.  Memories are short and it has been ten years since the last album.  Another victim of coming out too early in the year.  One of the bright lights of the gothic doom/death sub-genre.


LORD-Undercovers Vol I (Dominus)

Despite having a rather uninspired title, (but very amusing cover art) this massive two-disc, 23c song set is top-notch.  Lord brings the Power to covers of Iron Maiden, Queensryche, W.A.S.P., Helloween, Symphony X and their live cover of Metallica’s ‘Creeping Death is funny and superb.


LORDI-Lordiversity (AFM)

Everyone got all excited when Guns n’ Roses released two album in one day and still talk about it to this day.  Lordi releases seven nw studio albums in one day, no one blinks an eye.  I suppose the costumes are too much for some of the journalists who tend to listen with their eyes.


MEMORY GARDEN-1349 (No Remorse)

Maybe the band lost some momentum dropping from Metal Blade and an eight year gap between albums but that is no excuse to ignore this record.  A late December release guaranteed that none of the major Metal media would notice or care about this world-class band.  A contender for album cover art of the year.


MOONSPELL-Hermitage (Napalm)

I feel like I’m repeating myself but if a band puts out an album early in the year, it get’s forgotten when it comes to list time. Another classic example.


PESTILENCE-Exitvm (Agonia)

Pestilence was once a pioneering Death Metal band whose name was spoken in the same breath as Death, Obituary and Morbid Angel.  Now five albums deep into the second-phase of their career, they seem neglected.  Maybe they have become too technical or too obscure but while some websites gush about Cannibal Corpse, Pestilence gets left  out of the conversation.


RESURRECTION KINGS-Skygazer  (Frontiers)

Everybody loves Dio but the people who played in his band for years, and the multiple, post-Dio projects, don’t get the same love. That is a shame because Dio fans should be all over this second album.


SIRENIA-Riddles, Ruins and Revelations (Napalm)

Now 10 albums deep!  This album is twice as as good than what Nightwish has been doing over the past several albums, but gets half the hype.   Another early year release lost in the shuffle but the big metal media generally don’t like female fronted bands anyway.


SUIDAKRA-Wolfbite (MDD Records) 

I seem to feature these guys every year in this column.  After treading water for a decade with a poorly received album, an acoustic album, a remake album, and then a nicely done reissue of their debut, they had to produce a full-on, killer new studio album…and they did!   However it was too little too late.  Their best album in a decade went unnoticed by most.


THE THREE TREMORS (Steel Cartel)

The fact that a band, with arguably three of the best Metal vocalists on the planet (backed by a killer band), gets overlooked is a crime.   A late year year release didn’t help , most lists were already done by the time this came out.   Even if they were aware of this album I would also argue that most pundits ignored this and arbitrarily discarded it based on some distorted perception of novelty while going to listen to Painkiller for the 1000th time.


THYRFING-Vanagandr (Despotz)

This fantastic Swedish band is back.  However it is seldom that a band singing in their native (non-English) tongue ever makes a top list.  A smaller label and eight years between albums make it hard to get noticed.


UNLEASHED-No Sign Of Life (Napalm)

Back in 2018 the bands album ‘The Hunt For The White Christ’ made Top lists.  Three years later;  same band, same label, same line-up, same producer, same studio…what happened?  The quality is still there.  Well this album came out in mid-November and it was too late for people to hear it.


VICTORY-Gods Of Tomorrow (AFM)

The band are back,  if in name only.  Herman Frank has a whole new line-up since the last album ten long years ago.


Thanks to all the bands, thank you for reading, and most for all for your continuing to support Metal and Metal-Rules.com.