Today, Metalhead Community Team is putting a spotlight on the Death and Black Metal Scene. We asked Kyle Rasmussen, composer, and guitarist of American death metal band Vitriol, to share with us his Top 10 Death and Black Metal Albums of 2021, and we put them together for our readers to find out more about these promising bands.
Vitriol, for me, is one of the most impressive death metal bands I got the chance to discover about a few years ago with their latest studio album, To Bathe From The Throat Of Cowardice (read more: Vitriol - Hive Lungs Song Review). It was impossible to forget about the impact they made, following their every step since that day. After listening to his words along with the music of these impressive bands down here, I personally think that Vitriol's position in the metal scene is well-earned, and going to get themselves in to the most respected level in death metal scene in the future. These are his Top 10 Death and Black Metal Albums of 2021 list, with his words.
VITRIOL - "Victim" - Official Video
10 - The Crown - Royal Destroyer
(Melodic Death Metal from Sweden, released on March 12, 2021, via Metal Blade Records)
The Crown - Royal Destroyer - Album Front Cover Artwork
A very conventional wildcard! Crowned in Terror is a beloved classic for me so I never sleep on digging through new The Crown releases for treasure. This release requires no digging! Nothing genre-bending here, just an extremely well-prepared plate of meat and potatoes loaded with glorious authenticity and a goosebump providing vocal performance. Lyrics kill too!
9 - Esoctrilihum - Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath
(Atmospheric Black Metal from France, released on May 21, 2021, via I, Voidhanger Records)
Esoctrilihum - Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath - Album Front Cover Artwork
I didn't "get" Esoctrilihum when I first encountered his previous material. The same quality that kept me from seeing through his eyes in the past is what I've come to love about his work in the present. This is a project that abandons its own convention at every turn. Each song providing twists and turns that defy the standards of those that came before. Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath is an excitingly linear album, providing a book-like listening experience. It moves forward in chapters, radically shifting in compositional style and even production as it burns on. A very rewarding listen for those who like to meet the creator where they're at.
8 - Concrete Winds - Nerve Butcherer
(Death Metal from Finland, released on November 26, 2021, via Sepulchral Voice Records)
Concrete Winds - Nerve Butcherer - Album Front Cover Artwork
The harshest effort in my top 10, Nerve Butcherer is a title that tells you exactly what's in the tin. Their debut LP bowled me over and this sees them cranking the chaos to 11. Disorienting, wildly creative, and sadistically punishing. I imagine this record pairs very well with an intense session of cock and ball torture.
7 - Suffering Hour - The Cyclic Reckoning
(Blackened Death Metal from Forest Lake, Minnesota, released on February 19, 2021, via Profound Lore Records)
Suffering Hour - The Cyclic Reckoning - Album Front Cover Artwork
These guys came back with a masterful LP after an EP that didn't really warm my cockles. Absolutely the most creatively ambitious guitar performance in my top 10. If this list was for best riffs of the year, this release would sit at number one.
6 - Mork - Katedralen
(Black Metal from Norway, released on March 5, 2021, via Peaceville Records)
Mork - Katedralen - Album Front Cover Artwork
This was a breathe of plagued air! Down and filthy Norwegian black metal in a form that we don't hear nearly enough of these days. A vicious concrete slab of sledgehammer swinging riffs. Mork invokes a hardness akin to the late-great Urgehal while showing a stronger interest in developed songwriting and melodic sensibility. An addicting release.
5 - Seth - La Morsure du Christ
(Black Metal from Bordeaux, France, released on May 7, 2021, via Season of Mist Records)
Seth - La Morsure du Christ - Album Front Cover Artwork
A soundscape that lifts you up is very rare in black metal, or rather I should say black metal that does its job. Seth returns with an album that is truly majestic and I dare to say uplifting without abandoning their sinister vision. A grandeur and duality that is extremely rare in the genre. The musicality on this release is off the charts, and boasts the most beautifully recorded drums featured within my top 10. Those cymbals!
4 - Funeral Mist - Deiform
(Black Metal from Sweden, released on December 17, 2021, via Norma Evangelium Diaboli)
Funeral Mist - Deiform - Album Front Cover Artwork
The master returns! Arioch gifts us with another Funeral Mist effort in record time. It is still difficult for me to believe that this project is a solo effort. Deiform serves as further proof that Mortuus, Rostén, Arioch, however you happen to be familiar with the-man-with-the-plan, is not only one of the greatest black metal vocalists (in my opinion, the best), but one of the strongest minds. Magic, magic, magic. Turn on and feel your humanity disappear.
3 - Lvcifyre - The Broken Seal
(Death Metal from London, England, released on September 10, 2021, via Dark Descent Records)
Lvcifyre - The Broken Seal - Album Front Cover Artwork
The UK's masters of death worship are back with more profane wisdom and drums that go brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Lvcifyre has developed a sound that defies the sonic standards of blackened death. Constantly refining, The Broken Seal hears their guitars pushed to the front with low-gain tones that serve the drilling riffs perfectly. Deeply unique and inspired. Lvcifyre proves that you need not rely on a genre's token musical markers when you have a soul and understanding so potent.
2 - Diabolizer - Khalkedonian Death
(Death Metal from Istanbul, Turkey, released on July 2, 2021, via Me Saco Un Ojo Records)
Diabolizer - Khalkedonian Death - Album Front Cover Artwork
Holding high the flame of Deicide's early and most inspired fury, these monsters from Istanbul (NOT Constantinople) put out the best USDM inspired release of the year. Harkens back to a very sincere moment in time without becoming retro or genre worship. The guitar performances on this record are masterful in every form they take, from the beautifully phrased solos to the whiplashing right-hand heavy riffs. Dripping in bonus Immolation textures for added darkness, all brandished at contemporary speeds that would see this album at home on any black metallers playlist. MUAH! Perfection.
1 - Vortex of End - Abhorrent Fervor
(Blackened Death Metal from Paris, France, released on October 8, 2021, via Osmose Productions)
Vortex of End - Abhorrent Fervor - Album Front Cover Artwork
Abhorrent Fervor was released only two months ago and this surprise unknown swooped in and secured my number one spot for the year. Blackened death, when successful, represents a kind of wholeness--or duality--within a medium that appears to many as being very spiritually fractured, in terms of the seemingly conflicting forces of the light and the dark. It unites the mind and body; the shadow of divinity with all of its carnal expressions. I've long felt that black metal has a strong reflective kinship with gospel or traditionally liturgical music in that way, only rather than drawing you up toward the celestial it nails you to the flesh of the Earth. Vortex of End has tickled my mind and body into destructive harmony with this one. A truly inspired and idiosyncratic approach to blackened death, bearing the feral and lunging "rabidity" of early Watain and the angular riffing and weight of mid-to-late 90s Floridian death. While these two sonic pillars do a lot of work in propping up the overall character of the album, it is by no means limited by the distance between them. There are moments of doom, moments of rock n roll, an ambitious and extremely varied vocal performance, and they deliver it all with mastery and conviction. This album is an instant classic. Thanks, guys! Hail, hail, hail!
Don't forget to check out Metal Punishment of 2021 Spotify Playlist. Thanks for reading.
Paragraphs about the bands written by Kyle Rasmussen of Vitriol.