Mike Z’s Top 10 albums of 2021

By Mike Z on

10. Dirty Honey “self-titled” the first official album from the band who is part of the “new bands who sound like classic rock bands” without borrowing directly from anyone. The combination of Marc LaBelle’s soaring voice along with John Notto’s blazing guitar is a music match made in Heaven. Great conversation with John Notto back when the album came out:

9. Tetrarch “Unstable” 2nd album from the band that moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles chasing their musical dream and finally put out their first major album album. The band continues to write brutal riffs with choruses that get stuck in your heard. Finally got to see the band live for the first time opening of Atreyu this past December and they stole the show. Fun chat with lead shredder Diamond Rowe back when the album came out

8. Atreyu “Baptize” It’s not often a band that has been around for 20+ years parts ways with their original singer and grows stronger with drummer Brandon Saller fronting the band, bassist Porter McKnight handing the screams and Hell Or Highwater drummer Kyle Rosa taking over drums. More hooks and big choruses with producer legendary producer John Feldman and the help of Travis Barker on “Warrior” Jacoby Shaddix “Untouchable” and Matt Heafy on “Oblivion. Fun chat with old friend, guitarist “Big” Dan Jacobs back when the album came out:

7. Iron Maiden “Senjutsu” An album that was recorded during their 2019 Legacy of the Beast tour but then shelved during the pandemic in 2020 which finally saw the light of day in 2021. Crazy that the band members themselves did have a copy of the album for all of 20220. Although I would prefer a 4-5 minute Maiden tune, they don’t lose me as a listener with most of the tunes being over seven minutes long and with 10 and 11 minute tunes to close the album. Plenty of music from the metal legends to digest last year as well as into this year

6. Volbeat “Servant Of The Mind” 8th album from the danish band who turned the clock back to a much heavier sound compared to their last couple of albums. For as heavy as the riffs get, there are still ballads and duets to balance out the rollercoaster ride of the album. Pretty cool that this band from Denmark is going to be playing arenas on a co-headlining tour with Ghost which will be hitting Honda Center on March 3.

5. Mastodon “Hushed & Grim” I love that so much is made about the lack of attention span from listeners these days which Mastodon pays no attention to and releases a double album with over 80 minutes of music. An extremely personal album to the band which serves as a tribute to their manager Nick John who passed away from Cancer in 2018. The new tunes really came to life on their co-headline tour with Opeth which hit the Hollywood Palladium back on December 1st. Had a quick chat with drummer/singer Brann Dailor back when the album came out

4. Gojira “Fortitude” the 7th album from the French Metallers which was just more Gojira greatness. The album was inspired as an encougement to self-reinforcement. From brutal riffs and blast beats to one tune with a sexy sax solo in it, Gojira covers all corners of the music world with this brilliant album. They will be celebrating 4/20 with the Deftones at the Greek Theater in 2022.

3. Whitechapel “Kin” I really didn’t think they were going to top their 2019 album “The Valley” but they managed to with Kin. Lead screamer Phil Bozeman who sung a song or two on “The Valley” is way more confident in his singing abilities this album around and uses it like a weapon through out the album. There are some flat out brutal tunes and some softer tunes but I think they are at their best when they are doing a little bit of both. We will get to see them along with death metal legends Cannibal Corpse in March

2. Chevelle N.I.R.A.T.I.A.S. “Nothing Is Real And This Is A Simulation” I loved this album from the first listen and declared it my album of the year for most of the year. Great riffs and hooks and some really cool spacey interludes too. So many killer tunes like “self destructor” “Peach” “Mars Simula” and “Piistol Star (Gravity Heals)”

  1. Trivium “In The Court Of The Dragon” Trivium always put out solid albums but I think they could have almost named this album “S & T” Symphony and Trivium. Not a full on symphony playing behind them but they do mix in some strings and arrangements here and there which was something I had never heard in Trivium music before which really took it to the next level for me and was the thing that pushed it into the number one spot. We will get a chance to see them in 2022 with Iron Maiden at Honda Center in September


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