Tuonela Magazine’s Annual Staff Picks (2021): editor-in-chief’s edition

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Now that the year 2021 is coming to a close, we at Tuonela Magazine want to share what releases we enjoyed the most. Each of our staff members will share their own lists, so here is the list of our very own editor-in-chief, Laureline Tilkin.

I am going to be completely honest with you… 2021 has been a bit of a shitshow at times both in the music industry and on a personal level. Only 4 days into the new year we were informed of the passing of Finland’s most legendary guitarist, Alexi Laiho. Only a week later, Marko Hietala talked openly about his mental health and announced that he would be taking a break from music. Along the year, many other incredible musicians have passed away or were forced to quit music because of financial strain. However, if there is one thing that 2021 did well, it’s that there was plenty of new music either blowing my mind or bringing me peace of mind. As editor-in-chief, it is my job to be on top of everything happening in the local scene, so I did my best to include some of the freshest releases from underground talent in my tops! However, there were so many items to choose from, that I may have forgotten a couple of acts, nevertheless, definitely check out the lists of our other journalists and of course, we post also some general lists that are packed with even more releases!

Top 10 International albums

10. Fractal Universe – The Impassable Horizon
9. Hypocrisy – Worship
8. Vola – Witness
7. Soen – Imperial
6. Obscura – A Valediction
5. Leprous – Aphelion
4. Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa
3. Vexed – Culling Culture
2. Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound
1. Gojira – Fortitude

Read more: REVIEW: Fractal Universe – The Impassable Horizon | Interview with Hypocrisy — “I really never wanted to be political, but now the lyrics became very political and it kind of scares me…” | REVIEW: Vola – Witness | REVIEW: Soen – Imperial | REVIEW: Leprous – Aphelion | REVIEW: Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa | Interview with Alien Weaponry — “We took a more progressive route on this album.” | REVIEW: Vexed – Culling Culture | REVIEW: Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound | REVIEW: Gojira – Fortitude

Top 10 Finnish albums

10. Khroma – Ex Nihilo
9. Slack Bird – Hämärään
8. Thy Row – Unchained
7. Simulacrum – Genesis
6. Wheel – Resident Human
5. Auri – Auri II – Those We Don’t Speak Of
4. Luna Kills – not to be bitter, but it helps
3. Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen – Silver Lake
2. Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness
1. Beast In Black – Dark Connection

Read more: REVIEW: Khroma – Ex Nihilo | REVIEW: Slack Bird – Hämärään | REVIEW: Thy Row – Unchained | REVIEW: Simulacrum – Genesis | REVIEW: Wheel – Resident Human | REVIEW: Auri – Auri II: Those We Don’t Speak Of | REVIEW: Luna Kills – not to be bitter, but it helps | REVIEW: Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen – Silver Lake | REVIEW: Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness | REVIEW: Beast In Black – Dark Connection

Top 3 EPs

3. Twin Temple – Twin Temple Summon the Sacred Whore… Babalon
2. Insomnium – Argent Moon
1. Bodom After Midnight – Paint the Sky with Blood

Read more: 5.2.2020 Hexvessel & Twin Temple @ Tavastia, Helsinki | Interview with Insomnium — “True artists always do what they want to do.” | REVIEW: Bodom After Midnight – EP: Paint the Sky with Blood | Interview with Bodom After Midnight — “You should enjoy every little moment you get with your friends and loved ones.”

Best livestream concert

Epica – Omega Alive

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

Most promising act

International: DEAR MOTHER and VEXED
Finland: DIRT, STONED STATUES, and NOIRA

Read more: REVIEW: Dear Mother – Bulletproof | Interview with Dear Mother — “We don’t want to release anything that we’re not proud of.” | PLAYLIST OF MY LIFE: Merel, Joey, & David (Dear Mother)

Top 5 music videos

5. Pain – Party In My Head


4. Scar of the Sun – Inertia

3. Hypocrisy – Dead World

2. Beast In Black – Moonlight Rendezvous

1. The Darkness – Nobody Can See Me Cry

Read more: REVIEW: The Darkness – Motorheart | REVIEW: Beast In Black – Dark Connection | Interview with Hypocrisy — “I really never wanted to be political, but now the lyrics became very political and it kind of scares me…” | REVIEW: Scar of the Sun – Inertia

Top 5 lyric videos

5. Aephanemer – Le Radeau de La Méduse

4. Nightfall – Killing Moon

3. Mercury Circle – The Gates Wide Open

2. Avatar – Construction of Souls

1. Ember Falls – The Wall

Read more: REVIEW: Mercury Circle – Killing Moons | FEATURED SINGLE: Ember Falls – The Wall

Top 5 international songs

5. Arch Enemy – Deceiver, Deceiver
4. The Halo Effect – Shadowminds
3. Ghost – Hunter’s Moon
2. Vexed – Hideous
1. Gojira – Sphinx

Read more: REVIEW: Gojira – Fortitude | REVIEW: Vexed – Culling Culture

Top 5 Finnish songs

5. Luna Kills – liar, liar
4. Dirt – Real World
3. Bodom After Midnight – Paint the Sky with Blood
2. Bloodred Hourglass – Drag Me the Rain
1. Noira – Parasite

Read more: REVIEW: Luna Kills – not to be bitter, but it helps | 7.8.2021 Dirt & Shiraz Lane @ Tavastia, Helsinki | REVIEW: Bodom After Midnight – EP: Paint the Sky with Blood | Interview with Bodom After Midnight — “You should enjoy every little moment you get with your friends and loved ones.” | Interview with Bloodred Hourglass — “We wanted to emphasize the importance of sounding modern and fresh.” | REVIEW: Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness | FEATURED SINGLE: Noira – Parasite

Top 5 best last-minute songs

5. Balance Breach – Overthrown
4. 8 Kalacas – R2rito
3. Kuolemanlaakso – Katkeruuden malja (ft. Lotta Ruutiainen)
2. Blind Guardian – Deliver Us From Evil
1. Amorphis – The Moon

Top 5 cover art

5. Swallow the Sun – Moonflowers

4. Gojira – Fortitude

3. Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa

2. Scar of the Sun – Inertia

1. Bloodred Hourglass

Read more: REVIEW: Bloodred Hourglass – Your Highness | REVIEW: Scar of the Sun – Inertia | REVIEW: Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa | REVIEW: Gojira – Fortitude | REVIEW: Swallow The Sun – Moonflowers

Best collaboration

Me And That Man – Black Hearse Cadillac (ft. Hank Von Hell, Anders Odden)

Top 5 most anticipated releases of 2022

5. Arch Enemy – TBA
4. The Halo Effect – TBA
3. Star One – Revel In Time
2. Amorphis – Halo
1. Wilderun – Epigone

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!