Tuonela Magazine’s Annual Staff Picks (2021): Andrea Crow’s Edition

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Now that the year 2021 is coming to a close, so we at Tuonela Magazine want to share the releases that we enjoyed the most. Each of our staff members will share their own lists, and here is the list of journalist Andrea Crow.  

Blessed is the year when you not only keep up with the most exciting and anticipated releases but also submerge yourself into the back catalog of a band, as the plethora of music at your disposal is that much expansive. As fate would have it, 2021 was the year I discovered the multifaceted music of German genre-fluid metal act LORD OF THE LOST thanks in part to “Judas” and in part to their “Sinister Summer Stream.” It is better late than never, as they say. Besides LOTL, what surprised me this year were the high-quality virtual concerts courtesy of NIGHTWISH, EPICA, and WITHIN TEMPTATION but also the many unexpected collaborations between artists from various corners of the metal scene. On the downside, I feel like 2021 didn’t match the stream of excellent albums that we got in 2020, but there were still a few great ones covering the whole spectrum of metal – from JINJER and THE AGONIST all the way to MERCURY CIRCLE and ECLIPSE. Check the lists below for some of my favorite releases throughout the year. 

Top 10 International albums

10. Eclipse – Wired

9. Phantom Elite – Titanium

8. Soen – Imperial

7. Temperance – Diamanti

6. Ad Infinitum – Chapter II – Legacy  

5. Epica – Omega

4. Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix

3. Seven Spires – Gods of Debauchery

2. Spiritbox – Eternal Blue

1. Lord of the Lost – Judas

Read more: REVIEW: Eclipse – Wired | REVIEW: Phantom Elite – Titanium | REVIEW: Soen – Imperial | REVIEW: Temperance – Diamanti | REVIEW: Ad Infinitum – Chapter II – Legacy | REVIEW: Epica – Omega | REVIEW: Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix | REVIEW: Seven Spires – Gods of Debauchery | REVIEW: Spiritbox – Eternal Blue | REVIEW: Lord of the Lost – Judas

Top 10 Finnish albums

10. Marianas Rest – Fata Morgana

9. Temple Balls – Pyromide

8. Mercury Circle – Killing Moons

7. Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness

6. Omnium Gatherum – Origin

5. Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen – Silver Lake

4. Auri – II – Those we don’t speak of

3. Swallow the Sun – Moonflowers

2. Amorphis – Live at Helsinki Ice Hall

1. Arion – Vultures Die Alone

Read more: REVIEW: Marianas Rest – Fata Morgana | REVIEW: Temple Balls – Pyromide | REVIEW: Mercury Circle – Killing Moons | REVIEW: Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness | REVIEW: Omnium Gatherum – Origin | REVIEW: Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen – Silver Lake | REVIEW: Auri – Auri II: Those We Don’t Speak Of | REVIEW: Swallow The Sun – Moonflowers | REVIEW: Arion – Vultures Die Alone

Top 3 EPs

3. Insomnium – Argent Moon

2. Dark Horse White Horse – Dark Horse White Horse

1. The Agonist – Days Before the World Wept

Read more: Interview with Insomnium — “True artists always do what they want to do.” | REVIEW: Dark Horse | White Horse – EP: Dark Horse | White Horse | REVIEW: The Agonist – EP: Days Before the World Wept

Best livestream concert

Epica – Omega Alive

Read more: Interview with Epica — “You have to look a little bit tough because you’re in a metal band.” | 12.06.2021 Epica: Omega Alive

Most promising act

Mercury Circle

Read more: REVIEW: Mercury Circle – Killing Moons

Top 5 music videos

5. Soen – Illusion

4. Blackbriar – Selkie

3. Lord of the Lost – For they know not what they do

2. Jinjer – Wallflower

1. Sabaton – Christmas Truce

Read more: REVIEW: Soen – Imperial | REVIEW: Blackbriar – The Cause of Shipwreck | REVIEW: Lord of the Lost – Judas | REVIEW: Jinjer – Wallflowers | SONG OF THE DAY: Sabaton – Christmas Truce

Top 5 lyric videos

5. Evergrey – The Beholder (feat. James LaBrie)

4. Northtale – Future Calls feat. Tim & Kai Hansen

3. Star One – Lost Children of the Universe

2. Amorphis – Brother And Sister

1. Auri – The Valley

Read more: REVIEW: Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix | REVIEW: Auri – Auri II: Those We Don’t Speak Of | Interview with Auri — “Both albums come from the same place and the same emotions.”

Top 5 international songs

5. Halestorm – Back from the Dead 

4. Infected Rain – Postmortem Pt. I

3. The Halo Effect – Shadowminds

2. Dynazty – Advent

1. Lord of the Lost – My Constellation

Read more: SONG OF THE DAY: Halestorm – Back from the Dead | SONG OF THE DAY: The Halo Effect – Shadowminds | SONG OF THE DAY: Dynazty – Advent | REVIEW: Lord of the Lost – Judas

Top 5 Finnish songs

5. Balance Breach – Escapers of Paradise

4. The Rasmus & Apocalyptica – Venomous Moon

3. Rain Diary – Circles

2. Blind Channel – We Are No Saints  

1. Arion ft. Cyan Kicks – In the Name of Love  

Read more: 29.10.2021 Black Box Mikkeli: Balance Breach, Sara, Wolfheart, & Bloodred Hourglass @ Saimaa Stadium, Mikkeli | REVIEW: Arion – Vultures Die Alone

Top 5 best last-minute songs

5. Dynazty – Power Of Will

4. Balance Breach – Overthrown

3. Blackbriar – Fairy of the Bog

2. Serious Black – Senso Della Vita

1. Amorphis – The Moon

Top 5 cover art

5. Lake of Tears – Ominous

4. Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix

3. Moonspell – Hermitage

2. The Agonist – Days Before the World Wept

1. Swallow the Sun – Moonflowers

Read more: REVIEW: Lake of Tears – Ominous | REVIEW: Evergrey – Escape of the Phoenix | REVIEW: Moonspell – Hermitage | REVIEW: The Agonist – EP: Days Before the World Wept | REVIEW: Swallow The Sun – Moonflowers

Best collaboration

Ad Infinitum – Afterlife ft. Nils Molin

Top 5 most anticipated releases of 2022

5. Star One – Revel in Time

4. Amorphis – Halo

3. The Halo Effect – TBA

2. Kamelot – TBA

1. Dynazty – Final Advent

Want to share your lists with us? Comment below with your lists.

The whole Tuonela Magazine team wishes you an inspirational 2022 filled with a lot of new music to discover. We hope to see you back next year!