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Metal Hammer writers’ top metal albums of 2021

Metal Hammer Staff Albums Of The Year 2021
(Image credit: Future)
Iron Maiden

With so many albums put back due to the pandemic in 2020, it was inevitable that 2021 was going to be an insanely stacked year for new releases. Iron Maiden, Gojira, Mastodon - a veritable 'who's who' of frequent flyers in the album of the year club made their return in 2021, their work expanding the scope of their craft whilst still delivering all the gloriousness we have come to expect of their storied careers. 

Add to that a staggeringly brilliant influx of fresh new blood (Spiritbox, Pupil Slicer and Urne - we're looking at you) and a whole bunch of excellent albums by some of the hottest up-and-coming names in metal (Jinjer, Ice Nine Kills, Backxwash - take your pick!) and it felt like this year was truly the one to kickstart how heavy metal will look in the 2020s, more diverse in sound and scope than ever before.

Delighted as we are at the return of live music (and boy oh boy are we), it's been incredibly gratifying to receive so many brilliant records throughout 2021 that helped us see off the worst parts of lockdown and feel genuinely excited about the state of music again - especially when albums like Architects' For Those That Wish To Exist are climbing to the top of the charts. 

With so much to choose from, we gave Metal Hammer staff the unenviable task of choosing the best of the best to help compile our official Albums Of The Year list (which you can read in the end of year issue of Metal Hammer magazine, available now).

You likely already know Gojira's Fortitude took top spot (in both the critics and reader's poll, we might add), but what else made the list? Which albums were your favourite writers repping for 2021? Who just couldn't resist proclaiming their love for Limp Bizkit's Still Sucks (no judgements)?

Well, see for yourself. Here are our writers' final Top 20s for 2021.

Metal Hammer line break

Merlin Alderslade
Editor

1. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
2. Employed To Serve Conquering
3. Backxwash I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And My Dresses
4. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
5. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
6. Architects For Those That Wish To Exist
7. While She Sleeps Sleeps Society
8. Gojira Fortitude
9. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
10. Tetrarch Unstable
11. Unto Others Strength
12. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb
13. Beartooth Below
14. Dying Wish Fragments Of A Bitter Memory
15. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
16. Urne Serpent & Spirit
17. Cannibal Corpse Violence Unimagined
18. The Crown Royal Destroyer
19. Times Of Grace Songs Of Loss And Separation
20. Ice Nine Kills The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood 

Louise Brock
Art Editor

1. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
2. Gojira Fortitude
3. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb
4. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
5. Architects For Those Who Wish To Exist
6. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
7. The Wildhearts 21st Century Love Songs
8. While She Sleeps Sleeps Society
9. Bullet For My Valentine Bullet For My Valentine
10. Evanescence The Bitter Truth
11. Unto Others Strength
12. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
13. Andrew W.K God Is Partying
14. Cantrell, Jerry Brighten
15. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
16. Tribulation When The Gloom Becomes Sound
17. Lucifer Lucifer IV
18. Times Of Grace Songs Of Loss And Separation
19. Morello, Tom The Atlas Underground Fire
20. Monster Magnet A Better Dystopia 

Dave Everley
Freelance News Editor

1. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
2. Lingua Ignota Sinner Get Ready
3. Helloween Helloween
4. Go Ahead And Die Go Ahead And Die
5. Ghost Bath Self Loather
6. Swallow The Sun Moonflowers
7. Wolves In The Throne Room Primordial Arcana
8. Nytt Land Ritual
9. See You Space Cowboy The Romance Of Affliction
10. Tribulation When The Gloom Becomes Sound
11. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
12. Monster Magnet A Better Dystopia
13. Unto Others Strength
14. Powerwolf Call Of The Wild
15. Silver Lake By Esa Holopainen Silver Lake By Esa Holopainen
16. Gojira Fortitude
17. Metallica The Metallica Blacklist
18. The Wildhearts 21st Century Love Songs
19. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
20. King Woman Celestial Blues 

Eleanor Goodman
Deputy Editor

1. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
2. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
3. Gojira Fortitude
4. While She Sleeps Sleeps Society
5. Employed To Serve Conquering
6. Architects For Those That Wish To Exist
7. Leprous Aphelion
8. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb
9. Tribulation When The Gloom Becomes Sound
10. Vola Witness
11. Wardruna Kvitravn
12. Tetrarch Unstable
13. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
14. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
15. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
16. As Everything Unfolds Within Each Lies The Other
17. Unto Others Strength
18. Backxwash I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And My Dresses
19. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
20. Slaughter To Prevail Kostolom 

Rich Hobson
Staff Writer

1. Epica Omega
2. Gojira Fortitude
3. Powerwolf Call Of The Wild
4. God Damn Raw Coward
5. Rob Zombie The Lunar Injection Kool-Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
6. Lake Of Tears Ominous
7. Jinjer Wallflowers
8. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
9. Bokassa Molotov Rocktail
10. Cradle Of Filth Existence Is Futile
11. Employed To Serve Conquering
12. Aquilus Bellum I
13. Urne Serpent & Spirit
14. Swallow The Sun Moonflowers
15. Death Tribe Beyond The Red Light District: A Canal Experiment
16. Andrew W.K God Is Partying
17. Black Label Society Doom Inc.
18. The Wildhearts 21st Century Love Songs
19. Green Lung Black Harvest
20. Rivers Of Nihil The Work

Elizabeth Scarlett
News Writer

1. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
2. King Woman Celestial Blues
3. Green Lung Black Harvest
4. Mastodon Hushed & Grim
5. Slow Crush Hush
6. Employed To Serve Conquering
7. Spirtbox Eternal Blue
8. Deafheaven Infinite Granite
9. Unto Others Strength
10. Jinjer Wallflowers
11. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
12. Gojira Fortitude
13. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb
14. Lucifer IV
15. Jess And The Ancient Ones Vertigo
16. God Damn Raw Coward
17. Vintage Caravan, The Monuments
18. Black Spiders Black Spiders
19. Mdou Moctar Afrique Victime
20. Every Time I Die Radical 

Jonathan Selzer
Reviews Editor

1. Amenra De Doorn
2. Dordeduh Har
3. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
4. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
5. Diablo Swing Orchestra Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole
6. Wardruna Kvitrafn
7. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
8. Black Moon Mother Illusions Under The Sun
9. Swallow The Sun Moonflowers
10. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
11. Voices Breaking The Trauma Bond
12. Dold Vorde Ens Navn Mørkere
13. Unto Others Strength
14. Lingua Ignota Sinner Get Ready
15. Boss Keloid Family The Smiling Thrush
16. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
17. Divide & Dissolve Gas Lit
18. Gojira Fortitude
19. Grave Miasma Abyss Of Wrathful Deities
20. Carcass Torn Arteries 

Vanessa Thorpe
Production Editor

1. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
2. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
3. Wardruna Kvitravn
4. Black Moon Mother Illusions Under The Sun
5. Jess And The Ancient Ones Vertigo
6. Blackwater Holylight Silence/Motion
7. Times Of Grace Songs Of Loss And Separation
8. Gojira Fortitude
9. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
10. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
11. Sepultura Sepulquarta
12. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
13. Fear Factory Aggression Continuum
14. Architects For Those Who Wish To Exist
15. The Wildhearts 21st Century Love Songs
16. Alien Weaponry Tangaroa
17. Boss Keloid Family The Smiling Thrush
18. Black Spiders Black Spiders
19. Lucifer Lucifer IV
20. Jinjer Wallflowers 

Oliver Badin
Writer

1. First Fragment Gloire Éternelle
2. Gold Spire Gold Spire
3. Wheel Preserved In Time
4. Exodus Persona Non Grata
5. Frozen Soul Crypt Of Ice
6. Ophidian I Desolate
7. Anatomia Corporeal Torment
8. Carcass Torn Arteries
9. Eye Of Purgatory The Lighthouse
10. Sanguisugabogg Tortured Whole
11. Diskord Dégénérations
12. Becerus Homo Homini Brutus
13. Massacre Resurgence
14. Concrete Winds Nerve Butcherer
15. Lvcyfyre Broken Seal, The
16. Cannibal Corpse Violence Unimagined
17. Five The Hierophant Through Aureate Void
18. Baest Necrosapiens
19. Outre-Tombe Abysse Mortifère
20. Stöner Stoners Rule

Chris Chantler
Writer

1. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
2. Helloween Helloween
3. Cradle Of Filth Existence Is Futile
4. Carcass Torn Arteries
5. Unto Others Strength
6. Swallow The Sun Moonflowers
7. KK's Priest Sermons Of The Sinner
8. Dread Sovereign Alchemical Warfare
9. Jess And The Ancient Ones Vertigo
10. Green Lung Black Harvest
11. Skepticism Companion
12. Moonspell Hermitage
13. Portrait At One With None
14. Funeral Praesentialis in Aeternum
15. Lucifer IV
16. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
17. Fuoco Fatuo Obsidian Katabasis
18. Cross Vault As Strangers We Depart
19. Burning Witches The Witch Of The North
20. Rage Resurrection Day

Alec Chillingworth
Writer

1. Gojira Fortitude
2. Tribulation When The Gloom Becomes Sound
3. Møl Diorama
4. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
5. Diablo Swing Orchestra Swagger & Stroll Down The Rabbit Hole
6. Unto Others Strength
7. Dödsrit  Mortal Coil
8. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
9. Powerwolf Call Of The Wild
10. Mastodon Hushed & Grim
11. Employed To Serve Conquering
12. Cannibal Corpse Violence Unimagined
13. Cradle Of Filth Existence Is Futile
14. Kanonenfieber Menschenmühle
15. Void The Hollow Man
16. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
17. Dungeon Serpent World Of Sorrows
18. Jess And The Ancient Ones Vertigo
19. Between The Buried And Me Colors II
20. The Armed Ultrapop

Joe Daly  
Writer

1. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
2. Bewitcher Cursed By Thy Kingdom
3. Stormruler Under The Burning Eclipse
4. Wolves In The Throne Room Primordial Arcana
5. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
6. Netherbird Arete
7. Employed To Serve Conquering
8. Between The Buried And Me Colors II
9. Wardruna Kvitravn
10. Deafheaven Infinite Granite
11. The Crown Royal Destroyer
12. Thulcandra A Dying Wish
13. Malignament Hypocrisis Absolution
14. Paysage D'Hiver Geister
15. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
16. Gojira Fortitude
17. 1914 Where Fear And Weapons Meet
18. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
19. Every Time I Die Radical
20. Årabrot Norwegian Gothic 

Remfry Dedman
Writer

1. Turnstile Glow On
2. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
3. Dvne Etemen Ænka
4. Emma Ruth Rundle Engine Of Hell
5. Møl Diorama
6. Urne Serpent & Spirit
7. Mastodon Hushed and Grim
8. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
9. Deafheaven Infinite Granite
10. Gojira Fortitude
11. Panopticon And Again Into the Light
12. Cult Of Luna The Raging River
13. Backxwash I Lie Here Buried with my Rings and my Dresses
14. Lantlos Wildhund
15. Quicksand Distant Populations
16. The Armed Ultrapop
17. Pupil Slicer Mirrors
18. blanket Modern Escapism
19. Bossk Migration
20. Sugar Horse The Live Long After 

Alex Deller
Writer

1. King Woman Celestial Blues
2. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
3. Bríi Sem Propósito
4. Kowloon Walled City Piecework
5. Årabrot Norwegian Gothic
6. Genghis Tron Dream Weapon
7. Obscura A Valediction
8. Worm Foreverglade
9. Big | Brave Vital
10. Morbo ¿A Quién Le Echamos La Culpa?
11. Iceburn Asclepius
12. Divide & Dissolve Gas Lit
13. Rudimentary Peni Great War
14. Slant 1집
15. Succumb XXI
16. Hyperdontia Hideous Entity
17. Waste Man One Day This Could All Be You
18. Algara Absortos En El Tedio Eterno
19. Bootlicker Bootlicker
20. Vacuous Katabasis 

Malcolm Dome  
Writer

1. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
2. Jinjer Wallflowers
3. Carpenter, John Lost Themes III:Alive After Death
4. Buckcherry Hellbound
5. Swallow The Sun Moonflowers
6. KK's Priest Sermons Of The Sinner
7. Carcass Torn Arteries
8. Dream Theater A View From The Top Of The World
9. Gojira Fortitude
10. Helloween Helloween
11. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
12. Accept Too Mean To Die
13. Cynic Ascension Codes
14. Black Label Society Doom Crew Inc
15. Beast In Black Dark Connection
16. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
17. Snider, Dee Leave A Scar
18. Mason Hill Against The Wall
19. Friedman, Marty Tokyo Jukebox 3
20. Exodus Persona Non Grata 

Connie Gordon
Writer

1. Ophidian I Desolate
2. Cannibal Corpse Violence Unimagined
3. Archspire Bleed the Future
4. Vorvan Awakened
5. Anti-Ritual Expel the Leeches
6. Erdve Savigaila
7. LLNN Unmaker
8. Hooded Menace The Tritonus Bell
9. Eyes Underperformer
10. Unleashed No Sign of Life
11. Sarin You Can’t Go Back
12. Significant Point Into the Storm
13. Carcass Torn Arteries
14. Exodus Persona Non Grata
15. Criminal Sacrificio
16. Filth Is Eternal Love is a Lie, Filth is Eternal
17. Dread Sovereign Alchemical Warfare
18. Between The Buried And Me Colors II
19. Asphyx Necroceros
20. Ministry Moral Hygiene

Spencer Grady
Writer

1. The Body & Big Brave Leaving None But Small Birds
2. Emptiness Vide
3. Forhist  Forhist
4. Fawn Limbs Darwin Falls
5. Grey Aura Zwart Vierkant
6. Cynic Ascension Codes
7. Këkht Aräkh Pale Swordsman
8. Full Of Hell Garden Of Burning Apparitions
9. Mare Cognitum Solar Paroxysm
10. Untamed Land Like Creatures Seeing Their Own Forms
11. Esoctrilihum  Dy’th Requiem For The Serpent Telepath
12. Golden Ashes  A Lightless Christ Shuns The Crown Of Divinity
13. Plebeian Grandstand Rien Ne Suffit
14. Senyawa Alkisah
15. Krallice Demonic Wealth
16. Portal Avow
17. Grima Rotten Garden
18. Midnight Odyssey Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb
19. Ulvik Cascades
20. Portal Hagbulbia

Stephen Hill
Writer

1. Backxwash I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And Dresses
2. Voices Breaking The Trauma Bond
3. Dvne Etemen Aenka
4. Sugar Horse The Live Long After
5. Urne Serpent & Spirit
6. Deafheaven Infinite Granite
7. Fawn Limbs Darwin Falls
8. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
9. The Armed Ultrapop
10. Turnstile Glow On
11. Frontierer Oxidized
12. Employed To Serve Conquering
13. Genghis Tron Dream House
14. Quicksand Distant Populations
15. Pupil Slicer Mirrors
16. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
17. Lingua Ignota Sinner Get Ready
18. Gojira Fortitude
19. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
20. Bossk Migration 

Dom Lawson
Writer

1. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
2. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
3. Urne Serpent & Spirit
4. Boss Keloid Family The Smiling Thrush
5. Cynic Ascension Codes
6. The Wildhearts 22nd Century Love Songs
7. Full Of Hell Garden Of Burning Apparitions
8. Four Stroke Baron Classics
9. Moonspell Hermitage
10. Witherfall Curse Of Autumn
11. Green Lung Black Harvest
12. Danko Jones Power Trio
13. Carcass Torn Arteries
14. Bongzilla Weedsconsin
15. Dordeduh Har
16. Seven Spires Gods Of Debauchery
17. Helloween Helloween
18. Hacktivist Hyperdialect
19. Grave Miasma Abyss Of Wrathful Deities
20. Iotunn Access All Worlds 

Elliot Leaver
Writer

1. Turnstile Glow On
2. Gojira Fortitude
3. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
4. Noctule Wretched Abyss
5. Vexed Culling Culture
6. Unto Others Strength
7. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
8. Employed To Serve Conquering
9. Dordeduh Har
10. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
11. Lingua Ignota Sinner Get Ready
12. Møl Diorama
13. Jinjer Wallflowers
14. GosT Rites Of Love And Perseverance
15. Harakiri for the Sky Mære
16. Powerwolf Call Of The Wild
17. Beartooth Below
18. MONO Pilgrimage Of The Soul
19. Wardruna Kvitravn
20. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb  

Dannii Leivers
Writer

1. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
2. Turnstile Glow On
3. Deafheaven Infinite Granite
4. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
5. Every Time I Die Radical
6. Møl Diorama
7. Architects For Those Who Wish To Exist
8. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb
9. Employed To Serve Conquering
10. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
11. Wristmeetrazor Replica Of A Strange Love
12. Erra Erra
13. Sleep Waker Alias
14. While She Sleeps Sleeps Society
15. Gojira Fortitude
16. Slow Crush Hush
17. Dying Wish Fragments Of A Bitter Memory
18. Dana Dentata Pantychrist
19. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
20. Backxwash I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And My Dresses

Dave Ling
Writer

1. Dream Theater A View From The Top Of The World
2. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
3. Helloween Helloween
4. Accept Too Mean To Die
5. Carcass Torn Arteries
6. The Wildhearts 21st Century Love Songs
7. Gojira Fortitude
8. KK's Priest Sermons Of The Sinner
9. Deen Dnider Leave A Scar
10. Beast In Black Dark Connection
11. Black Spiders Black Spiders
12. The Night Flight Orchestra Aeromantic II
13. Liquid Tension Experiment LTE 3
14. Mason Hill Against The Wall
15. Tremonti Marching In Time
16. Buckcherry Hellbound
17. Leprous Aphelion
18. Tesseract Portals
19. Myles Kennedy The Ides Of March
20. Smith/Kotzen Smith/Kotzen

Will Marshall
Writer

1. Møl Diorama
2. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb
3. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
4. Employed To Serve Conquering
5. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
6. Khemmis Deceiver
7. Urne Serpent & Spirit
8. Mastodon Hushed And Grim
9. Every Time I Die Radical
10. Pupil Slicer Mirrors
11. Gojira Fortitude
12. Vexed Culling Culture
13. Dying Wish Fragments Of A Bitter Memory
14. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
15. Devil Sold His Soul Loss
16. Dvne Etemen Ænka
17. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
18. Maybeshewill No Feeling Is Final
19. Holding Absence The Greatest Mistake Of My Life
20. Sugar Horse The Live Long After

Sophie Maughan
Writer

1. Whitechapel Kin
2. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
3. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
4. Sleep Token This Place Will Become Your Tomb
5. Depths Of Hatred Inheritance
6. Signs Of The Swarm Absolvere
7. Mental Cruelty A Hill To Die Upon
8. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
9. Carnifex Graveside Confessions
10. Architects For Those Who Wish To Exist
11. Vulvodynia Praenuntius Infiniti
12. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
13. Vexed Culling Culture
14. Mirrors The Ego's Weight
15. Employed To Serve Conquering
16. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
17. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
18. Distant  Aeons Of Oblivion
19. Domination Campaign Onward To Glory
20. Alluvial Sarcoma

Edwin McFee
Writer

1. Iron Maiden Senjutsu
2. Bayley, Blaze War Within Me
3. Boss Keloid Family The Smiling Thrush
4. Kal-El Dark Majesty
5. Bronx, The Bronx VI
6. Full Of Hell Garden Of Burning Apparitions
7. Stöner Stoners Rule
8. Criminal Sacrificio
9. Memoriam To The End
10. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: 1
11. Death Tribe Beyond The Red Light District: A Canal Experiment
12. Turnstile Glow On
13. Helheim WoduridaR
14. Sarke Allsighr
15. Helloween Helloween
16. Cryptosis Bionic Swarm
17. Dread Sovereign Alchemical Warfare
18. Deafheaven Infinite Granite
19. Werewolves What A Time To Be Alive
20. Red Fang Arrows 

Matt Mills
Writer

1. Møl Diorama
2. Cynic Ascension Codes
3. Gojira Fortitude
4. Mastodon Hushed & Grim
5. Between The Buried And Me Colors II
6. Khemmis Deceiver
7. Thrice Horizons/East
8. Amenra De Doorn
9. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
10. Maybeshewill No Feeling Is Final
11. Williams, A.A. Songs From Isolation
12. Deafheaven Infinite Granite
13. Every Time I Die Radical
14. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
15. Tribulation When The Gloom Becomes Sound
16. Dvne Etemen Ænka
17. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
18. Wolves In The Throne Room Primordial Arcana
19. Cult Of Luna The Raging River
20. The Armed Ultrapop

Tom O'Boyle
Writer

1. Unto Others Strength
2. Stortregn Impermanence
3. Wolves In The Throne Room Primordial Arcana
4. Turnstile Glow On
5. Transylvania Of Sleep & Death
6. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
7. The Armed Ultra-Pop
8. Cosmophobe The Tragedy Of Being
9. The Silver Ward Of Roses
10. Portrayal Of Guilt We Are Always Alone
11. Four Stroke Baron Classics
12. Välde Humanity's Last Breath
13. Grave Miasma Abyss Of Wrathful Deities
14. Darkthrone Eternal Hails…...
15. Fractal Generator Macrocosmos
16. Employed To Serve Conquering
17. Spectral Wound A Diabolic Thirst
18. Ninkharsag Dread March Of Solemn Gods
19. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
20. Fear Factory Aggression Continuum 

Adam Rees
Writer

1. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
2. Times Of Grace Songs Of Loss And Separation
3. Wolves In The Throne Room Primordial Arcana
4. Rivers Of Nihil The Work
5. Tribulation When The Gloom Becomes Sound
6. Gojira Fortitude
7. Cannibal Corpse Violence Unimagined
8. Whitechapel Kin
9. Wardruna Kvitrafn
10. Trivium In The Court Of The Dragon
11. Archspire Bleed The Future
12. Møl Diorama
13. Amenra De Doorn
14. Frozen Soul Crypt Of Ice
15. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
16. Full Of Hell Garden Of Burning Apparitions
17. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
18. Enforced Kill Grid
19. Mental Cruelty A Hill To Die On
20. Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel Polaris

Rosie Solomon
Writer 

1. Divide & Dissolve Gas Lit
2. Pupil Slicer Mirrors
3. Big | Brave Vital
4. Between The Buried And Me Colors II
5. The Armed Ultrapop
6. King Woman Celestial Blues
7. Backxwash I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And My Dresses
8. Lingua Ignota Sinner Get Ready
9. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon I
10. Senyawa Alkisah
11. Jinjer Wallflowers
12. Green Lung Black Harvest
13. Cruelty  There Is No God Where I Am
14. Bossk Migration
15. Alien Weaponry Tangaroa
16. Body Void Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth
17. Full Of Hell Garden of Burning Apparitions
18. Spiritbox Eternal Blue
19. Alexis Marshall House of Lull, House of When
20. The Body I've Seen All I Need To See 

Christina Wenig
Writer

1. King Woman Celestial Blues
2. Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
3. Portrayal Of Guilt (Christfucker) Christfucker
4. Amenra De Doorn
5. Lingua Ignota Sinner Get Ready
6. The Body I've Seen All I Need To See
7. Divide & Dissolve Gas Lit
8. Full Of Hell Garden Of Burning Apparitions
9. Weg Einer Freiheit, Der Noktvrn
10. Wolvennest Temple
11. Gaahls Wyrd The Humming Mountain
12. Turnstile Glow On
13. Perturbator Lustful Sacraments
14. Dana Dentata Pantychrist
15. Paysage D'Hiver Geister
16. Spectral Wound A Diabolic Thirst
17. Nadja Luminous Rot
18. Big | Brave Vital
19. LLNN Unmaker
20. Wolves In The Throne Room Primordial Arcana

Kez Whelan
Writer

1. Succumb XXI
2. At The Gates The Nightmare Of Being
3. Fluisteraars Gegrepen Door De Geest Der Zielsontluiking
4. The Body & Big Brave Leaving None But Small Birds
5. Panopticon …And Again Into The Light
6. Underdark Our Bodies Burned Bright On Re-Entry
7. The Ruins Of Beverast The Thule Grimoires
8. Darkthrone Eternal Hails......
9. Wolves In The Throne Room Primordial Arcana
10. Mare Cognitum Solar Paroxysm
11. Godspeed You! Black Emperor G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
12. Worm Foreverglade
13. Amenra De Doorn
14. Heavy Sentence Bang To Rights
15. Bongzilla Weedsconsin
16. Last Days Of Humanity Horrific Compositions Of Decomposition
17. Alkerdeel Slonk
18. Wode Burn In Many Mirrors
19. Hellish Form Remains
20. Universally Estranged Reared Up In Spectral Predation 

Nik Young
Writer

1. Rise Against Nowhere Generation
2. Employed To Serve Conquering
3. Architects For Those Who Wish To Exist
4. While She Sleeps Sleeps Society
5. Landmvrks Lost In The Waves
6. Every Time I Die Radical
7. Erra  Erra
8. Born Of Osiris Angel Or Alien
9. Carcass Torn Arteries
10. Our Hollow, Our Home Burn In The Flood
11. Quicksand Distant Populations
12. Beartooth Below
13. Gojira Fortitude
14. Sentinels Collapse By Design
15. Tetrarch Unstable
16. Blood Red Throne Imperial Congregation
17. The Crown Royal Destroyer
18. Hacktivist Hyperdialect
19. Blood Youth Visions Of Another Hell
20. Devil Sold His Soul Loss 

Metal Hammer line break

To read the full rundown of the 50 Best Albums Of 2021, you can still pick up the end of year issue of Metal Hammer.

Featuring an extensive look back through the wild last 12 months of metal, we commemorate everything from the majestic return of Iron Maiden, to Corey Taylor's bizarre feud with Machine Gun Kelly, to the unlikely resurrection of nu metal, and the beloved metal figureheads we sadly lost in 2021. We also count down the 50 albums that defined 2021 as picked by Team Hammer's esteemed pool of contributors. Gojira may have grabbed the top spot, but what rounded out the rest? 

If you can't wait to get stuck into the new year though, the brand new issue of Metal Hammer is also out now, diving into the New Year by looking at the New Heavy, featuring Spiritbox, Sleep Token, Loathe and Zeal & Ardor in their cover story debuts.  Buy your copy at bit.ly/buyhammer

Metal Hammer 356 Cover

(Image credit: Future)
Metal Hammer

Founded in 1983, Metal Hammer is the global home of all things heavy. We have breaking news, exclusive interviews with the biggest bands and names in metal, rock, hardcore, grunge and beyond, expert reviews of the lastest releases and unrivalled insider access to metal's most exciting new scenes and movements. No matter what you're into – be it heavy metal, punk, hardcore, grunge, alternative, goth, industrial, djent or the stuff so bizarre it defies classification – you'll find it all here, backed by the best writers in our game.