Best of 2021: Anders Sandvall

Spread the metal:

01. Iron Maiden “Senjutsu”

Maiden is one of the biggest metal bands in the world and even if the songs on the new album feels a bit long it’s worth taking the time listening to them. I’m not convinced I like the more progressive elements that Maiden put into their songs but on the other hand, what can go wrong, they’re Iron Maiden!

02. Evergrey “”Escape Of The Phoenix”

This legendary band from Guthenburg have done it again, the band have created another progressive masterpiece. It’s too sad though that the band couldn’t tour more on the album due to the pandemic. But maybe 2022 bands can head out on the road again. It’s nice to be from Sweden when there are bands like Evergrey from here.

03. Helloween “S/t”

It’s a wet dream for everyone that are into power metal that that Helloween came out with a new album this year. And what about having both Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen in the lineup as well. Does it live up to the standard? yes they do in every way. The selftitled album is great from start to the last song. This one and Iron Maiden are probably the two biggest metal releases during 2021.

04. Volbeat “Servant Of The Mind”

The Danes are back with a new album that feels like it’s more back to the roots, the music sounds heavier and metal than before which is only positive in my opinion. However, the band still has their rockabilly roots intact and as always the band incorporated a song sung in English/Danish like before.

 

05. Thy Row “Unchained”

 

06. Lucifer “IV”

 

07. Electric Boys “Upside Down”

08. Smith/Kotzen “S/t”

09. The Dead Daisies “Holy Ground”

10. Chez Kane “S/t”

11. The Night Flight Orchestra “Aeromantic 2”

 

12. At The Gates “The Nightmare Of Being”

13. Epica “Omega”

14. The Dropkick Murphys “Turn Up That Dial”

 

15. U.D.O “Game Over”

16. Eternal Silence “Timegate Anatherna”

 

17. Powerwolf “Call Of The Wild”

18. Avaland “Theater Of Sorcery”

19. Illusory “Crimson Wreath”

 

20. Rob Zombie “The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy”

 

Best Metal DVD/Blu-Ray/Stream

Krokus “Adios Amigos Live @ Wacken”
Krokus is one of my all time favorite bands and it’s so great to see almost every one from the original lineup on stage at the same time saying good bye to the fans. To see Krokus was one of the reasons I headed to Wacken Open Air 2019. It was a great show, maybe a little short but they treated us with a lot of the songs the fans love to hear like “Headhunter”, ”Long Stick Goes Boom” and “Beside The Radio” to name a few.

Sabaton “20th Anniversay Show – Live at Wacken”
Is was very fun to see Sabaton with all the new and the old members together on the two biggest stages at Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany in 2019, I don’t think it will happen again. The new lineup on one stage with Joakim and the old lineup with Pär on the other stage. To see this live as I did was something special to be a part of and now it’s documented on a DVD so everyone can see the historic show at home.

 

Best EP

Dirkschnder & The Old Gang “Arising”

 

Best Live Album

Epica “Omega Alive”

Best Concert / Best Live Streamed Concert

Evergrey live at Kulturbolaget Malmö,Sweden
The legends from Gothenborg were back in Malmö for a show in December 2021 and it felt a little strange to see them live again. After all the band was the last one I saw before the pandemic shut down the live stage in Sweden back in February 2020. The band didn’t disappoint me and Tom S Englund sings like a god.

The Haunted live at Plan B Malmö, Sweden
This was the first live show I saw in October last year and is was a pleasure to once again see something live after almost two years without any live shows. The Haunted was killing it this night.

Best New Band

Avaland “Theater Of Sorcery”
Just like Avantasia this a metal opera/concept with different singers and it’s always fun with new constellations and this is a damn good one. I wish for more strong singers if the opera decides to follow up the debut album, otherwise it’s a perfect album.

 

My Favourite Discovery of 2021 was…

Venus Syndrome “Cannibal Star”
This is a very well played progressive metal album on a very high level. The album contains some really strong musicians, songs and vocalist.

Best Local Band

Va Rocks
The former all female act is a hell of a live machine but the band has gone through some changes in the line-up. Frida Rosen left the band in November 2020 and the band threw a live stream in Januari 2021 in order to introduce the new drummer in the band which is Oliver Farkas.

 

Favourite non-metal release from 2021

Thåström “Dom Som Skiner”

Abba “Voyage”

Favourite female musician 

Lee Aaron “Radio On” and remaster chrismas album “Almost Chrismas”

Disappointments of 2021:

Accept “To Mean To Die”
I don’t know what Wolf Hoffman was thinking but it feels like his song writing on this album is completely off. The songs are, to be honest, really poor and it feels like he recycled the same old riffs one more time. I’m not impressed at all and wonder if it’s even any idea to keep on calling the band Accept anymore. After all the only remaining original member today is Wolf.

The tragic death of legendary singer L.G Petrov ex-Entombed and Entombed A.D that we lost this year. As a fan of Entombed since their early beginning I was lost for words when I heard the sad news of his passing. He was always fun and easy going and took the time for all fans that wanted to talk to him. He was nice and kind in every way. A sad, sad loss for all fans of metal and death metal.

Alice Cooper “Detroit Stories”
Alice feels somewhat tired on this album and to be honest his latests albums are not fun at all. Alice is much more fun to see live and it’s better to hear the old songs live on stage.

The death of well-known Norwegian ex- Turbonegro singer Hank Von Hell shook me to the bone. His solo album EGOMANIA was released just a few years back and the second solo album DEAD came out 2020 and I think he had a lot more to offer his fans in the future, the world mourns the loss of a modern legend.

Saxon “Inspirations”
Why the band entered the studio in order to record a cover album instead of an original piece baffels me. Cover albums are boring and not fun at all for the most part and this is sadly not an exception to that rule.

What Jon Schaffer did when he and the rest of the protesters did when they tried to take over the Capitolium last year was simply just a disgrace to not only the world but to all his fans. It is sad when you don’t get that your candidate lost the election and accept that and instead tries to take it back with force. Sad to say Jon but the people has spoken and they didn’t want a megalomaniac to rule the biggest nation in the world. Jon Schaffer on his own destroyed his music career! I for one will not listen to Iced Earth any more or anything that he has done anymore. Many things you can forget and move on with but this is too much for me. Some where you have to draw the line and my line is here.

Hopes for 2022

Let’s hope that this covid-pandemic comes down sometime soon because I don’t know how much more of this I can take. The shows and festivals here in Sweden have been on lock down since March 2020. Luckily it all started up again in December 2021 but since the virus still is raging and people are infected the restrictions are still on and we only have to see how long we’re able to attend live shows in clubs before it all shuts down again.

That Festivals this summer in Sweden and rest of Europe will go ahead as planned. I don’t think that festivals/organizers can handle a shut down one more summer.