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The top 30 albums of 2021

The year delivered on the arts, but let's see how the music fared in comparison.

Artwork by Visual Amnesia

If you've read through our stacked "The Top 30 Album Covers of 2021" list, you'd have seen one of the three stages of this year's Heaviest of Art year-end commission, Thy Art Is Heavy, courtesy of Reuben Bhattacharya (Visual Amnesia). This conceptual triptych details the psychosocial elements that play into an artistic creation, whether that be directly or subconsciously, as a critical component of what we as an audience see on a daily basis. These recent months and couple of years have been trying times on a global scale, yielding art forms reflective of one's inner turmoil, hopeful outlook, or downright frustration with the powers that be. Regardless of the purpose, the arts have kept us sane (for the most part) through this historic period, as today's selections can attest.

What made this 2021 so special for music were the records that changed lives, changed perspectives, and changed interests altogether. Musicians are insular and yet their message is universal, accessible to all as a means of coping with one's own circumstances. Some introduced new ideas while others stuck to a formula and refined it to a great acclaim. They all serve a different purpose and whatever that may be, the choices we've made here can be confidently championed as all-encompassing efforts rooted in talent, honesty, and genuine camaraderie. What we have for you today is an effort of much contemplation, but a satisfying one at that.

Here are the top 30 albums of 2021:


30. Green Lung - Black Harvest (Svart Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Richard Wells

29. Silver Talon - Decadence and Decay (M-Theory Audio) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Gerald Brom

28. Volumes - Happier? (Fearless Records) | Listen

'Happier?' (2021)

27. Boss Keloid - Family the Smiling Thrush (Ripple Music) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Paul Swarbrick & Ste Arands

26. Rivers of Nihil - The Work (Metal Blade Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Dan Seagrave

25. Emma Ruth Rundle - Engine of Hell (Sargent House) | Listen

Cover Photograph by George Clarke

24. One Step Closer - This Place You Know (Run For Cover Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Jeffrey Kam

23. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Illusory Walls (Epitaph) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Brookesia Estudio

22. Eidola - The Architect (Blue Swan Records/Rise Records) | Listen

Mask Design by Dan Schaub

21. Worm - Foreverglade (20 Buck Spin) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Brad Moore

20. Four Stroke Baron - CLASSICS (Prosthetic Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Gawank Kusumo

19. Sleep Token - This Place Will Become Your Tomb (Spinefarm Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Nemesis Design

18. Black Marble - Fast Idol (Sacred Bones Records) | Listen

'Fast Idol' (2021)

17. portrayal of guilt - CHRISTFUCKER (Run For Cover Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Matt King

16. Der Weg einer Freiheit - Noktvrn (Season of Mist) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Max Löffler

15. Wolves In The Throne Room - Primordial Arcana (Relapse Records) | Listen

Cover Photograph by Amjad Faur

14. Deafheaven - Infinite Granite (Sargent House) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Nick Steinhardt

13. Whitechapel - Kin (Metal Blade Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Jillian Savage

12. Dream Unending - Tide Turns Eternal (20 Buck Spin) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Matthew Jaffe

11. Khemmis - Deceiver (Nuclear Blast Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Sam Turner

10. Cynic - Ascension Codes (Season of Mist) | Listen

'The Landing', Cover Artwork by Martina Hoffmann

9. Lantlôs - Wildhund (Prophecy Productions) | Listen

'Wildhund' (2021)

8. ERRA - self-titled (UNFD) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Jeff Kardos

7. Spectral Wound - A Diabolic Thirst (Profound Lore) | Listen

'A Diabolic Thirst' (2021)

6. Unto Others - Strength (Roadrunner Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Adam Burke

5. Amenra - De Doorn (Relapse Records) | Listen

Cover Photograph by Stefaan Temmerman

4. Stormkeep - Tales of Othertime (Ván Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Les Edwards

3. TURNSTILE - GLOW ON (Roadrunner Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Alexis Jamet

2. The Silver - Ward of Roses (Gilead Media) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Paul Romano

1. MØL - Diorama (Nuclear Blast Records) | Listen

Cover Artwork by Jon Gotlev


Congratulations to all for these magnificent bodies of work that stood tall among a great year for all genres. As mentioned, these lists are far from easy to solidify given that there is no shortage of stacked options to choose from, but it's a testament to the great standing of contemporary music. We thank all of the musicians, publicists, labels, and managers for keeping us enriched with great records on a daily basis.

A big future awaits. Follow Heaviest of Art on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Artwork by The Hatch Comic


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