What’s going on Butcher Crew!? It’s your Master Butcher, The Saw, and WOW! So many great albums came out in 2021. It was so difficult to pick out the records that stood out to me the most. As I look over this last year, I’ve come to realize that 2021 was the year for death metal. I found so many great death metal bands in 2021. Shoutout to Maggot Stomp for having some of the best bands on their label— they are killing the game.
Before I get into my AOTY list, I want to give a brief shoutout to two albums that I have been listening to nonstop this year: Your Receding Warmth (2020) by Boundaries and CrazySexyCool (1994) by TLC. I know these two records are two different genres, but The Saw loves all kinds of music. These two albums have been played throughout 2021 and although they weren’t released last year, I still wanted to give them both an honorable mention.
Here is what you’ve all been waiting for…
THE SAW’s 2021 AOTY List:
10. The Edge of Existence – Creeping Death: This EP contained 3 new songs and 3 remastered songs and it has me so excited for Creeping Death’s new album! They have the perfect combination of hardcore and death metal.
9. Dissection By Amphibian – Frog Mallet: I. AM. FROG!!!!!! I love branding and having a band that only talks about frogs is genius! I would’ve never come up with that idea. I didn’t know you could write so many songs about frogs…
8. Tortured Whole – Sanguisugabogg: I finally learned how to spell (and pronounce) this band’s name!! After seeing them back in October, I have been listening to them non-stop! A great combination of death metal and slam.
7. Through the Bongfire – Bodybox: If this band doesn’t make you want to hit a gravity bong then IDK what will. I want to see this band live so bad it hurts.
6. Violence Unimagined – Cannibal Corpse: You already know Cannibal Corpse made the list. Their the O.G.’s!!! And this album is their best record in over a decade. I love the visual representation they have with their book on this album. It gives you a feel of what each song is about.
5. Crypt of Ice – Frozen Soul: The grooves in this album are killer. Frozen Soul thrives on the old school death metal sound and represented it perfectly. To me, they put their own flare on the genre with the addition of European melodic death metal vocals. Perfect combination!!
4. Slave to the Scalpel – 200 Stab Wounds: This album embodies the essence of The Saw’s Butcher Shop — without the eating dead bodies and other ~things~ done to the corpse. The Saw just likes to scare you with brutality! 200 Stab Wounds perfected the sound of old school death metal in all forms: from the riffs, lyrics, vocals, and the recording. It perfect!
3. Fragments of a Bitter Memory – Dying Wish: We all know how much I love 2008 type metalcore. And just like 200 Stab Wounds, Dying Wish capitalized on the sound! They brought back the old metalcore riffs and combined them with the vocalist’s killer screams. This album has everything that I love about metalcore.
2. Kin – Whitechapel: Are you surprised this album isn’t No.1? I am, too! Whitechapel has further evolved their sound with this record. I love the meaning behind this album and the effort the entire band put forth in the music process. The darkness of this album doesn’t lie within the music, but in the lyrics. This album shows how one can have an internal battle with themselves between good and evil. Everyone can relate and empathize with this record.
1. A Tear in the Fabric of Life – Knocked Loose: So, I was torn between this album and Kin as No.1. But I decided to give Knocked Loose the dub because this was their first attempt at a concept EP, and they executed it perfectly! This album is about the grief, guilt, and thoughts someone can have when they lose a loved one. The animated short film that goes along with this record helps show this theme in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. Knocked Loose did such a great job with this record.
The O.G. Metalhead’s (My Dad) 2021 AOTY List:
I am “The O.G.” (Metalhead). I have the honor of being dad to The Saw. I was there in the 80s when “Thrash” exploded onto the scene. At 18 I was in a band that covered these (now) classics. My father said I would grow out of this type of music one day. Then the 90s came, and with it, my love for Death Metal. To this day, I have never “grown out of” this type of music. It is part of my identity. It’s in my blood. Not only that, but I have passed down my passion for it to my daughter, The Saw. My experience of the O.G. scene builds in her own memory a strong foundation of love for all things Metal. She has surpassed my knowledge of the subject, and I couldn’t be prouder!
The Saw has asked me to contribute to The Butcher Shop an Album of the Year for 2021. I, in turn, have compiled a Top Ten list, in descending order, with a brief explanation of my reasoning. It is interesting to me (and altogether incidental) that most of these albums come via Nuclear Blast. One is Metal Blade. And the rest are independent labels. Nonetheless, all are pure Metal! And great records in their own rights!
10. Senjutsu – Iron Maiden: I grew up on Iron Maiden! I remember we walked to the record store the day The Number of the Beast was released in 1982, excited to get new material. These guys are THE linchpin in the Thrash/Death Metal genre. The new album, more progressive than in those days, is a documented expansion of the band’s work.
9. Torn Arteries – Carcass: Carcass are pioneers of the Grindcore sub-genre (though I consider them, simply, Death Metal); second only to Napalm Death in that respect. The new album is a culmination of everything the band has accomplished.
8. Doom Crew Inc. – Black Label Society: Black Label Society is Biker Metal. Zakk Wylde is a biker; in this culture, he is a brother. I am a biker (brother). Enough said… The new record is exactly what you’d expect from BLS.
7. A Validiction – Obscura: The new release from Obscura is a masterpiece. It is existential, in the sense that the record combines many of the sub-genres of Extreme Metal into a composition of beauty.
6. Persona Non Grata – Exodus: Everything you would expect from Exodus, and then some! I was a teenager in the 80s and Exodus was one of THE bands that we all listened to. In that day, we called it “Speed Metal.” And this new record, I think, holds up well against the classic material.
5. Existence is Futile – Cradle of Filth: Cradle of Filth is an extremely talented band, and Dani Filth is a genius. This album speaks, today, as a Wake-up call to humanity. I love the SCREEEEECH!
4. Worship – Hypocrisy: Hypocrisy has been one of my Top Five bands for decades! I’ve been digging them since The Fourth Dimension in 1994. The newest album is definitely one of their best.
3. Bleed the Future – Archspire: The best work to date by Archspire. Back in the day, bands like Suffocation were categorized as “Math Metal,” and Archspire are the next logical step in that development.
2. Violence Unimagined – Cannibal Corpse: The kings!! Cannibal Corpse have been one of my favorite bands (second only to Obituary) since Tomb of the Mutilated in 1992. The new album is pure power – crunch, crush, and chunk! Next to Evisceration Plague, this is my favorite Cannibal Corpse record of the legendary Corpsegrinder era.
1. Crypt of Ice – Frozen Soul: What an incredible band is Frozen Soul?! They do not reinvent the wheel; they simply capitalize on the simple power of Old Skool Death Metal. This record is perfect!
Did any of your favorite albums make mine or the O.G.’s list? What is your top album of 2021?