The year delivered on the arts, but let's see how the music fared in comparison.
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
29. Silver Talon - Decadence and Decay (M-Theory Audio) | Listen
28. Volumes - Happier? (Fearless Records) | Listen
27. Boss Keloid - Family the Smiling Thrush (Ripple Music) | Listen
26. Rivers of Nihil - The Work (Metal Blade Records) | Listen
25. Emma Ruth Rundle - Engine of Hell (Sargent House) | Listen
24. One Step Closer - This Place You Know (Run For Cover Records) | Listen
23. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Illusory Walls (Epitaph) | Listen
22. Eidola - The Architect (Blue Swan Records/Rise Records) | Listen
21. Worm - Foreverglade (20 Buck Spin) | Listen
20. Four Stroke Baron - CLASSICS (Prosthetic Records) | Listen
19. Sleep Token - This Place Will Become Your Tomb (Spinefarm Records) | Listen
18. Black Marble - Fast Idol (Sacred Bones Records) | Listen
17. portrayal of guilt - CHRISTFUCKER (Run For Cover Records) | Listen
16. Der Weg einer Freiheit - Noktvrn (Season of Mist) | Listen
15. Wolves In The Throne Room - Primordial Arcana (Relapse Records) | Listen
14. Deafheaven - Infinite Granite (Sargent House) | Listen
13. Whitechapel - Kin (Metal Blade Records) | Listen
12. Dream Unending - Tide Turns Eternal (20 Buck Spin) | Listen
11. Khemmis - Deceiver (Nuclear Blast Records) | Listen
10. Cynic - Ascension Codes (Season of Mist) | Listen
9. Lantlôs - Wildhund (Prophecy Productions) | Listen
8. ERRA - self-titled (UNFD) | Listen
7. Spectral Wound - A Diabolic Thirst (Profound Lore) | Listen
6. Unto Others - Strength (Roadrunner Records) | Listen
5. Amenra - De Doorn (Relapse Records) | Listen
4. Stormkeep - Tales of Othertime (Ván Records) | Listen
3. TURNSTILE - GLOW ON (Roadrunner Records) | Listen
2. The Silver - Ward of Roses (Gilead Media) | Listen
1. MØL - Diorama (Nuclear Blast Records) | Listen
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.