Doom Charts – 2021 Favorites – Remi VL

Remi VL took over all the tally work after the honorable Bucky Brown left the Doom Charts back in August. It felt like natural fit for him; since he’s been tallying music and other stuff his entire life. He loves lists. He loves tallying, keeping score and keeping everything neat and tidy! He joined in August 2019, but most of y’all already knew him from his crazy Remi Posts Too Many Links: A Music Discussion Group on Facebook. If not, best get acquainted, cause there is much to discover there! Best of wishes to Remi! May all that lovely meat you be smoking end up in yer belly and not in that of Donut’s… Keep keeping score and keep whipping us all into action! Here’s his insane list of 100 favorite albums of 2021!

“I’ve had this list done and posted in a few places, but I’ve been trying to put a bit more work into it for the loyal readers of the doom charts. I might have the least “doom” list on here but I’m still super proud to be part of this diverse group of music nerds and, since earlier this year, helping a little more in getting it out! I’m also a chronic “fiddler” with my lists, constantly tweaking them. This little is mildly different from at the at least 3 other versions that have appeared on various social media sites already… but whatever, I’m not being paid for this, and journalistic integrity is not really part of the equation! hehehe

I really want to thank Joop for everything he’s done since we “took over” this thing. The heavy lifting is really been mostly him and I can’t thank him enough for keeping this thing alive! Thanks to everyone else who has worked on their part, submitted their lists, done some social media spamming, and just generally participated in any way.

If anyone follows me, or read my introduction to this list last year, they might know that I spend a lot of time rating/ranking stuff, mostly for my personal benefit, but a few people have stuck around to see what I have to say, and it’s a great feeling whenever I get any feedback on it. Got to get that dopamine fix somewhere!

Below, I ranked my top 50 albums of the year, followed by the next 50 alphabetically. It’s a great mix of stoner, psych, punk, post-punk, various other post-genres, progressive rock and metal, with a few other surprises thrown in.”

1. Motorpsycho – Kingdom of Oblivion (progressive rock, psych rock)

Motorpsycho put out an album nearly every year and have been, for the past few years, an exercise in “not putting it automatically at #1”. I couldn’t help it this year. If I have a constructive criticism about the album, it’s that it has 3 mellow tracks in the middle that causes a big lull in the flow of that album that might have been better split up. That being said, it’s still one of my favourite albums of the last 10 years. It’s not even close for total play count in the last year either!

2. King Buffalo – The Burden of Restlessness (heavy psych, progressive stoner)

King Buffalo has skirted with greatness for a while now. Every new album/EP had moments that blew me away, but none of them we quite perfect until The Burden of Restlessness. Had MP not put out of their best albums ever, this would be a strong #1 of the year. It’s a “big” jump to my #3…

3. Boss Keloid – Family the Smiling Thrush (progressive sludge)

… which is not to take anything away from Boss Keloid’s amazing release! After blowing any expectations I had for them on 2018’s Melted on the Inch, BK came back with an album that somehow manages to be slightly more challenging, but worth every second you put into it! The can write hooks with the best of them, but still churn out this weird blend of progressive sludge/stoner that is completely their own. They don’t sound like Rush, but I like them for similar reasons.

4. Green Lung – Black Harvest (psych-stoner, doom)

On the flip side, Green Lung offer almost no challenge to enjoying their albums, in the best possible way! Hooks aplenty, Black Sabbath worship without sounding like a copycat band. Green Lung could be dropped in 1970 and fit right in, but still manages to keep the genre fun and alive with ideas!

5. DVNE – Etemen Ænka (prog-metal/post-metal)

I didn’t think Dvne could outdo their last album but they may just have with Etemen Ænka! Other than The Ocean, no band is blending post-metal and progressive metal together so fluidly and expertly, creating an intense experience, that is, like the best progressive music, both challenging and beautiful.

6. Leprous – Aphelion (heavy prog)

Leprous has consistently been one of the best things happening in progressive music for years, but a shift towards a slightly more accessible sound stumbled a bit too far with their last one, Pitfalls. While it had highs, The Sky is Red being one of the best songs in their catalog, they really stuck the landing on all the ideas and sounds they’ve been playing with on their newest, Aphelion. IMO, their strongest release after The Congregation, this one proved to me that the band continues to change and grow and that opening the doors to new fans and new sounds doesn’t have to be a net negative on the quality of their music!

7. Weedpecker – IV: The Stream of Forgotten Thoughts (heavy psych, stoner rock)

I think a few people we worried about Weedpecker. Their third album was such a monstrous step forward in their sound and was in competition with Elder for the best thing coming out of that psych/stoner/prog sound… and then the whole band left, and the one remaining member said the sound would be changing quite a bit. I shouldn’t have been too worried, since the shift from the first two to III was expertly handle, and they managed to do it again. The riffs are heavier, but the album keeps that progressive flow from song to song that made III so perfect. My only complaint with IV is that, even at 40 minutes, it feels short. I went into this one expecting to be sad but got one of the best albums of the year!

8. The Armed – ULTRAPOP (hardcore/noise/post-punk)

I don’t even know where to start with this band. Anyone who has read anything about them knows the big mystery behind the band membership, seeming to change drastically from album to album. Everything is credited to one name, Dan Greene, who has been interviewed, but it wasn’t always the same person. Rumours that it was a project put together by producer Kurt Ballou have been kind put aside after his lack of involvement with ULTRAPOP, although that could just be a feint too. All that aside, this is one of the best hardcore/noise albums ever. The Armed only really have Dillinger Escape Plan as contemporaries in the world of manic hardcore with genre hoping insanity. This is their pop records. It’s not a pop record. But also, it’s completely a pop record.

9. Fever Dog – Alpha Waves (heavy psych/70s rock)

My party rock record of the year! Fever Dog channel Sweet, ELO, and a whole lot of glam on Alpha Waves, and it’s a wicked good time! King of the Street is a contender for song of the year, the energy and drive on this song launches it into the stratosphere, above and beyond anything else I heard in 2021.

10. delving – Hirschbrunnen (prog rock, krautrock)

Elder’s Nick DiSalvo put out his first solo album while in isolation in Germany with stuff that didn’t quite fit on an Elder record. Elder has shifted over the years enough that I figure anything Nick does is an Elder song, and at first glance, it’s not completely removed from what they’ve put out on the last few records. Enough time with Hirschbrunnen a more progressive rock record that shines through with some of his more classic influences. It’s also an all-instrumental record, which lets him play around more without having to worry about jamming in some vocals. Elder and Kadavar put out a record together this year that ended up being slightly less than the sum of their parts, although it had one of my favourite songs of the year. This record is more subtle and while I was excited to hear it, it snuck up on me how much I loved it by the end of the year.

11. Greenleaf – Echoes From A Mass (stoner rock)

12. Terminus – The Silent Bell Toll (sludge, heavy metal)

13. Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows – The Magnetic Ridge (stoner, heavy psych)

14. Straytones – Magic Green River Swimmin’ & Stunning Tarzanka Experience (garage rock, heavy psych)

15. Meat Wave – Volcano Park (noise-rock, post-punk)

16. Vokonis – Odyssey (progressive sludge, stoner)

17. Here Lies Man – Ritual Divination (stoner rock/afrobeat)

18. Spidergawd – VI (hard rock)

19. Between The Buried and Me – Colors II (progressive metal, tech metal)

20. King Buffalo – Acheron (heavy psych, progressive stoner)

21. HIPPOTRAKTOR – Meridian (progressive metal, post-metal)

22. Shame – Drunk Tank Pink (post-punk)

23. Savanah – Olympus Mons (stoner, doom)

24. Bossk – Migration (post-metal)

25. Kadabra – Ultra (heavy psych, stoner rock)

26. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – L.W. (garage rock)

27. Liar Thief Bandit – Deadlights (punk rock, rock n roll)

28. Squid – Bright Green Field (psych post-punk)

29. LICE – Wasteland: What Ails Our People Is Clear (avant-garde, post industrial)

30. Draken – Draken (progressive rock, hard rock)

31. Black Country, New Road – For The First Time (post-punk, experimental)

32. Crown Lands – White Buffalo (progressive rock, blues rock)

33. Madmess – Rebirth (progressive stoner rock)

34. Our Man In The Bronze Age – Hexed Endeavours (progressive rock, modern rock)

35. Restless Spirit – Blood of the Old Gods (progressive stoner, doom)

36. Maragda – Maragda (heavy psych, garage rock)

37. Trophy Scars – Astral Pariah (post-hardcore/americana)

38. Psychonaut / Saver – Emerald (progressive metal, post-metal)

39. Cult of Luna – The Raging River (post-metal)

40. Birmani – Birmani (stoner psych, sludge)

41. Miss Lava – Doom Machine (stoner rock, heavy rock)

42. Deathchant – Waste (classic metal, sludge)

43. Deafheaven – Infinite Granite (shoegaze, post-punk)

44. Holy Death Trio – Introducing… (proto-metal throwback, stoner rock)

45. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound (psych rock)

46. Fucked Up – Year of the Horse (hardcore, progressive)

47. The Datsuns – Eye to Eye (garage punk, hard rock)

48. Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams (soft indie, soul)

49. Every Time I Die – Radical (mathcore, metalcore)

50. Comet Control – Inside The Sun (heavy psych, stoner rock)

51-100 Sorted Alphabetically

. Amigo The Devil – Born Against (americana, murderfolk)

. Atom Driver – Is Anything Alright (post-hardcore, noise-rock)

. Bad Motivator – Protocool (garage punk)

. Bill Fisher – Hallucinations of a Higher Truth (heavy psych, soul)

. Blackshape – Blackshape (instrumental post-rock, post-metal)

. Concrete Ships – In Observance (noise-rock, psych rock)

. Converge – Bloodmoon: I (hardcore, post-metal)

. Genghis Tron – Dream Weapon (experimental metal, progressive rock)

. Glasgow Coma Scale – Sirens (progressive rock, post-rock)

. Glass Kites – Glass Kites II (prog rock)

. Glen – Pull (post rock, prog rock)

. God Is An Astronaut – Ghost Tapes #10 (heavy post-rock)

. Haaz – Andra (noise-rock)

. Hot Breath – Rubbery Lips (rock n roll)

. Humans as Ornaments – The Option to Disappear (noise-rock, mathcore)

. Iron Lizards – Hungry For Action (punk rock, rock n roll)

. Iron Maiden – Senjutsu (heavy metal)

. JOHN – Nocturnal Manoeuvres (modern rock, noise-rock)

. Kadavar / Elder – Eldovar: A Story of Darkness and Light (heavy psych, stoner rock)

. Kaupe – Cognitive Dissonance (instrumental progressive metal)

. Kehlvin – Holistic Dreams (sludge, post-hardcore)

. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Butterfly 3000 (garage rock, art rock)

. Lower Automation – Lower Automation (noise-rock, mathcore)

. Maha Sohona – Endless Searcher (heavy psych, stoner rock)

. Mastodon – Hushed and Grim (heavy metal, progressive metal)

. Michael Beach – Dream Violence (post-punk, power pop)

. Monster Magnet – A Better Dystopia (space rock, stoner rock)

. Monstereo – In the Hollow of a Wave (heavy psych, garage rock)

. Philm – Time Burner (jazz-fusion, metal)

. Pseudo Mind Hive – Volume III (progressive stoner rock)

. Scarecrow – Scarecrow II (progressive rock, stoner rock)

. Signals of Bedlam – Liar’s Intuition (progressive metal, alternative metal)

. Snake Mountain Revival – Everything in Sight (heavy psych)

. Sunnata – Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth (post-metal, doom)

. Syncatto – A Place To Breathe (guitar prog, djent)

. The Angelus – Why We Never Die (desert rock, doomgaze)

. The Drippers – Scandinavian Thunder (punk rock, rock n roll)

. The Lords of Altamont – Tune In, Turn On, Electrify! (stoner rock, gunk punk)

. The Red Step – The Red Step (garage rock, post-punk)

. The Tomblands – Butcher Boy (heavy psych, heavy metal)

. Timo Ellis – Death is Everywhere (stoner pop)

. Two Suns – Isolated Incidents (heavy psych, garage rock)

. Urne – Serpent & Spirit (sludge, progressive metal)

. Wenches – Effin’ Gnarly (noise-rock, gunk punk)

. White Powder – Blue Dream (instrumental stoner, psych)

. White Void – Anti (heavy metal, proggey 80s rock)

. Yoo Doo Right – Don’t Think You Can Escape Your Purpose (krautrock, post-rock)

. Zack Oakley – Badlands (psych rock, rock)

. Zeahorse – Let’s Not (And Say We Did) (noise-rock, heavy punk)

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