25 Finnish albums from 2021 that we’ll still listen to in 2022.

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Ah! In the blink of an eye, 2021 has passed. While we perhaps didn’t see much live music, hundreds of metal and rock acts released new material. We had to check out which albums from the epicenter of heavy metal (read: Finland) are albums that we’re going to take with us to 2022. Here’s 25 albums that we’re going to be listening to…

2021

1. Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen – Silver Lake

Most people know Esa Holopainen for being the guitar player of progressive metal outfit AMORPHIS. In 2021, he released a solo album, Silver Lake.” While most guitarists, when announcing a solo effort, make the record a guitar extravaganza, showing off their skills with lightning fast solos, incredible shredding, and complex tapping patterns, Holopainen is modest in “Silver Lake.” He, himself, won’t come to the foreground too much, but when he does, his sweeping guitar melodies create otherworldly atmospheres in these songs that really showcase his complete potential. (LT)

2. Beast In Black – Dark Connection

The pandemic also brought forth a new BEAST IN BLACK album.Dark Connection shares many similarities with “Berserker” and From Hell With Love,” ranging from Kabanen‘s favorite chord progressions, incredible guitar solos, catchiness from A-to-Z, all the way to Yannis Papadopoulos‘ vocal extravaganza. Altogether, this makes “Dark Connection” an album that fans of the band will surely enjoy and may even attract some new audiences who like music inspired by cyberpunk; a must-hear of 2021! (LT)

3. Thy Row – Unchained

Founded in 2017, Finnish heavy metal act THY ROW recently released their debut album, Unchained.” THY ROW has a distinctive heavy sound that is present on every track. A lot of these songs are extremely catchy and high-energy, with only one real turn-down in tempo during the emotional “Down On My Knees,” which, for a ballad-hater like me, was also pleasant to the ear. The production is crisp and well-balanced, giving the songs a big, modern sound. All-in-all, this is a band from Finland to look out for and fans who like classic heavy metal and enjoy bands like IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST, as well as hard rock acts like DEEP PURPLE and SCORPIONS, will surely enjoy this record to the fullest! (LT)

4. Blame Me – The Invisible You

A few years ago, when concerts were still happening regularly, I was happy to attend a couple of editions of Emergenza Festival – globally the biggest festival for upcoming bands. It’s there that I encountered a punk rock act named BLAME TOM. A few years later, it seems like the 4-piece have forgiven Tom for his mistakes and have renamed themselves BLAME ME, while taking somewhat of a new direction sound-wise too. The result is The Invisible You,” the quartet’s debut effort, focusing on an alternative rock sound, with modern and poppy elements. Sometimes you need music that is a tad more uplifting and motivational in trying times like these. BLAME ME offers just that, even though the lyrics often revolve around emotional topics, the mellow and poppy sounds on this record have the power to put a smile on your face. (LT)

5. Luna Kills – not to be bitter, but it helps

Previously known as TOCORNAL, alternative rock act LUNA KILLS completely changed their sound and style in their sophomore album “not to be bitter, but it helps.” The record truly is an otherworldly experience with nine diverse tracks that defining the genre of alternative rock and, in the end, it left us anything but bitter. (LT)

6. messier – On Malaise

On May 7th, 2021, Finnish MESSIER released their new album, On Malaise,” via SideOneDummy. The album is a pretty solid definition of what indie rock has to offer. It holds a steadily mid-tempo pace and focuses on simple melodies accompanied by driven lyrics. Consistency is the name of the game and, though the melodies aren’t as striking as you may find in more vibrant music genres, MESSIER offer exactly what any indie rock lover is looking for: simplicity and style. (BW)

7. Korpiklaani – Jyhlä

Two years after their most personal and introspective album to date, Kulkija,” folk metal giants KORPIKLAANI are back with a new full-length studio effort, “Jylhä.” The band’s eleventh record goes hand-in-hand with a lineup change: drummer Samuli Mikkonen now joins their ranks. Fill up your pints and once you’re feeling saddened by the burden of the pandemic, put on KORPIKLAANI‘s “Jylhä,” the perfect medicine against any melancholy. (LT)

8. Swallow the Sun – Moonflowers

When it comes to exploring the dark side of our humanity, the grim underbelly of sorrow in particular that is essentially interwoven in the very fabric of life, I cannot think of a better band than the Finnish doomsters, SWALLOW THE SUN. The band recently released a new album, “Moonflowers”; simultaneously a gentle and a harsh reminder of what it feels like to be human rather than a half-life flesh-skeleton going through the motions in a spiritual coma. (JL)

9. Wheel – Resident Human

Progressive metal outfit WHEEL recently released their sophomore album, “Resident Human”; a journey through different landscapes, a beautiful example of how interplay with progressive sections, groove, and more ambient sounds can create a rollercoaster of emotions while listening. Not as aggressive as their debut album, more explorative, however, the band clearly have made their sound their own in the process and with “Resident Human,” dare I say, they once again keep it WHEEL. (LT)

10. Fear Of Domination – VI: Revelation

Finnish industrial metal darlings FEAR OF DOMINATION are back to serve your ears one hell of a meal in 2021! Admittedly, we almost missed this album, as it was released close to the end of the year. Nevertheless, “VI: Revelation” was one hell to end the year with: an absolute banger of a record that you should definitely take with you to the new year. Unfortunately, this is also the last release singer Sara Strömmer will be featured on, but we’re more than excited for the future of FEAR OF DOMINATION. (BW/LT)

11. Ember Falls – Ruins

Here is yet another album that was released close to the end of the year! In case you missed it, EMBER FALLS“Ruins” is a must-hear of 2021. The singles have been released slowly since 2019 and we’ve been listening to them non-stop for all six releases, so needless to say, if we haven’t stopped listening since then, we sure won’t stop now that we have the full release! (BW)

12. Marianas Rest – Fata Morgana

MARIANAS REST not only got signed to Napalm Records in 2021, they also released their new record, “Fata Morgana; a variety of textures and interweaving melodies, managing to have both aggression and lamenting, gloomy overtures. The tracks are emotionally raw without sacrificing heaviness, but rather focus on overlapping melodies that give you some power. Their blend of doomy melodic death metal may not be groundbreaking, but their take on it is expansive and atmospheric, with a large and heavy dose of melancholy that draws the listener into their world to experience it. (PJ)

13. Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness

If the name BLOODRED HOURGLASS hasn’t hit your radar yet, you are either seriously missing out or you straight-up don’t like melodic death metal. The sextet from Mikkeli is easily one of the freshest melodic death metal acts the north has to offer these days, which is instantly clear in Your Highness.” This is an album in which the band allowed themselves to take their sound to the next level, fine-tune it, and even experiment with new elements. (LT)

14. Hooded Menace – The Tritonus Bell

Finnish death-doom masters HOODED MENACE recently released their sixth studio record, The Tritonus Bell.” Overall, “The Tritonus Bell” gives something new to the tested and proved style that HOODED MENACE are known for. The mix of the heavy melodic riffs – typically saved for heavy metal – combine with death/doom like bread and butter, while the changing tempos gives a feel of progressiveness. Somehow, they manage to balance these stylistic shifts while also retaining their classic murky sound. HOODED MENACE have figured out how to combine death/doom with catchy riffs that fit them – definitely an album to give a spin. (PJ)

15. Auri – Auri II: Those We Don’t Speak Of

While fans who fell in love with the sound of AURI‘s strong debut effort will surely love this sophomore album, it does present slight differences from the former. As a perfect soundtrack to the world we are living in, somehow II: Those We Don’t Speak Of sounds a bit darker but no less delightful. Some of the songs are still heartwarming, may it be that they are more atmospheric and ambient than before. In this record, AURI plays around with the concept of dynamics, sometimes lulling its way into life’s general ambience, while at other times, it demands attention. (BW/LT)

16. Khroma – Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo is KHROMA‘s third serving of metal madness, released via Inverse Records, and it latches on profoundly dystopian themes with nothing short of an appropriate sonic coating, ranging from high-octane metal riffing to synthetic breakbeats and unsettling, cinematic soundscapes. (JL)

17. Simulacrum – Genesis

In Genesis,” progressive metal outfit SIMULACRUM managed to mix in a lot of different styles while still maintaining their own sound and identity throughout the record, resulting in a beautiful progressive journey that will take you through a rollercoaster of soundscapes. If you dare to take the path less traveled, “Genesis” might surprise you a whole lot; brilliant from start to finish. (LT)

18. Lost in Grey – Under the Surface

Founded in 2013 by keyboardist Harri Koskela, theatrical metal act LOST IN GREY was supposed to be a short-term project, but grew out to be so much more. After the release of their debut effort, The Grey Realms and sophomore album, The Waste Land,” the band was able to tour around Europe before the pandemic hit. Now, LOST IN GREY recently released their third studio record, Under the Surface.” In their third studio effort of combining elements from symphonic and folk metal, the band has finetuned their sound, experimented, and found their true identity. (LT)

19. Keoma – Hypotheses

In the long bloodline of proggy sci-fi enthusiasts, KEOMA is a novel 6-piece musical collective hailing from Helsinki, with nothing short of a psionic talent for conjuring quantum prog riffs that have all the potential to tear ripples in the cosmic space-time continuum. Their sophomore full-length, Hypotheses,” released independently on October 1st, 2021, comes jam-packed with quality prog-metal that is laced with sci-fi concepts from string theory to parallel realities, as well as a hint of Greek mythology, aliens, and – of course! – tentacles. (JL)

20. Shedfromthebody – To Hold The Ripened Sun

Independent doomgaze artist SHEDFROMTHEBODY from Espoo surprised us last year with “A Dead and Aimless Hum.” Luckily, the one-woman project led by Suvi Saarikko has kept herself busy during 2021, resulting in yet another excelling record, To Hold The Ripened Sun,” in which the music paints an ethereal landscape contoured by hauntingly beautiful vocal plateaus and alt-rockish guitar textures. (LT/JL)

21. Darkwoods My Betrothed – Angel of Carnage Unleashed

After 23 years of silence, the Finnish pioneering band in symphonic black metal, DARKWOODS MY BETHROTHED, marked their long-awaited comeback with a hard-hitting selection of new sonic incantations under the title Angel of Carnage Unleashed.” Now joining the ranks are Tuomas Holopainen (now a full-time member, instead of a session player) and on drums Kai Hahto. What can we say? This was one hell of a comeback! (JL/LT)

22. NOEX! Noora Louhimo Experience – Eternal Wheel of Time and Space

One of the artists kicking of their solo careers in 2021 was Noora Louhimo (best known from BATTLE BEAST). Her album, Eternal Wheel of Time and Space,” shows two aspects of Noora’s development: by going back to the roots and music styles she started singing with years ago, she takes a big step forward by expanding her own creativity with this very personal release, and it’s great to see her exploring these different musical paths. (K/BW)

23. Mercury Circle – Killing Moons

Last year, we told you to look out for this band and here were are! New doom act MERCURCY CIRCLE have finally released their debut effort, Killing Moons.” People like to claim that they don’t want to label their music, that they are trying to do something unique, but there are only a handful of bands that actually compose groundbreaking music. MERCURY CIRCLE is certainly one of those bands. “Killing Moons” is diverse, but at the same time, the music has a specific identity that is very recognizable. (LT)

24. Oceanhoarse – Dead Reckoning

2021 was the historic year that heavy metal act OCEANHOARSE finally decided to release their debut album, Dead Reckoning,” after releasing an EP, a live album, hosting their own festival, and much more. Needless to say, this was one hell of an anticipated record, but the long wait for it was worth every minute! (LT)

25. Omnium Gatherum – Origin

With their new album, Origin,” melodic death metal unit OMNIUM GATHERUM brought the chilly breeze and warm sunny days of Finnish autumn to the masses. “Origin” is a fast-paced, yet epic and melodic offering where brutal soundscapes are sweetened by occasional choirs and multifaceted guitar riffs. It offers aggression and darkness without sacrificing emotion and melody, and I think this is the ultimate strength of this record. Considering this is OMNIUM GATHERUM’s ninth album in their quarter of a century career, “Origin” says a lot about their wonderful craft, excellent musicianship, and burning desire to continue to be not just a top- tier melodic death metal band but also a benchmark on the Finnish metal scene. (AC)