Although the live music industry was on standstill for a good part of 2021, there were plenty of brilliant new albums to keep metalheads happy through record plant delays and pandemic mania. From the soaring anthemic hardcore of Spiritbox's Eternal Blue to the heavy metal majesty of Iron Maiden's Senjutsu, metal was the strong, reliable and enlivening force that kept us anchored through the storm.
And as 2021 draws to a close, the writers at Metal Hammer have once again joined forces to decide on a title worthy of the Album Of The Year crown.
Drum roll please: based on the votes of the magazine’s core editorial team, along with writers and reviewers, Metal Hammer's album of the year is Gojira's Fortitude, which was released on April 30 via Roadrunner Records.
Speaking of the French heavy metallers and their trail-blazing release, Metal Hammer Editor Merlin Alderslade said: "Gojira remain one of 21st century metal's most creative, trailblazing and vital forces, so it should perhaps be no surprise that, even in a year with so many magnificent records, Fortitude was a runaway winner in this year's Metal Hammer Critics' Poll.
Congrats to the band for the Number 1 spot and for crafting another fantastic album."
In a review, Metal Hammer writer Alec Chillingworth described the album as "everything you wanted from Gojira and more: a breathtaking showcase of heaviness and dedication to the craft, teasing out tones, passages and emotional resonance other bands just can’t access. It’s metal for the masses, and Gojira’s crowning achievement. If they aren’t playing arenas at the end of this album cycle, it’s probably your fault."
Runners up in the Metal Hammer critic poll were Trivium's In The Court Of The Dragon, coming in at second place, followed by Iron Maiden's Senjutsu, Employed To Serve's Conquering, Spiritbox's Eternal Blue, Mastodon's Hushed And Grim and Converge & Chelsea Wolfe's Bloodmoon: II.
You can read the full list in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, out now. It's a big end of year review, and features all of 2021's best bits, alongside free gifts in a deluxe Xmas bundle.