Hey! It’s time to, once again, summarize the year. To be honest, I wrote most of my “big” thoughts in my Year in Review. Makes sense, right? The point of this post then is to help you orient yourself around all of our End of Year content and, I suppose, to give it some sort of grander narrative. In preparation for this post, I went back to read the one I wrote in 2020 and you know what? It actually holds up incredibly well, summarizing my thoughts about why we do our End of Year content and what that looks like in the era we’ve dubbed internally as “Heavy Blog 3.0”. I still feel the same way I feel about ranking music (boo), about fragmentation (it’s good, actually), and about the passion for music which binds us all together and make this thing called Heavy Blog, as well as our readership itself (that’s you guys), exist in the first place.
To be honest though, 2021 really did teach me some things about how I want to run the blog. Namely, that I don’t want to run it. Now, calm down; this is not me resigning and leaving the blog to the wind. Instead, a future which has always been percolating in the back of my mind has now made itself more present and demanding (really, you can ask Nick; he’ll tell you I’ve been thinking about this for ages). This idea is that, one day, not today but hopefully not in the too far future, I would like to abolish the hierarchy that we run the blog under today. I don’t think a blog should have an Editor in Chief (that’s me). I don’t think there should be Editors, who get to run the blog and make decisions about what it does, how it works, and what it sounds like. I think all of our writers are talented individuals, who are able to make their own decisions or, at least, sound off on these decisions and support or not support those they deem more correct.
And, of course, there will still be editors, but note the lower case “e”. It’s not a position, it’s not a role or, at least, it shouldn’t be. Many people writing for the blog today could be editors, in that they could perform the (pretty simple but time consuming) task of editing other people’s post, helping them with their writing, sounding off on their ideas, and so on. They could be doing that and they should be doing that. Why? Because I believe that’s how the entire world should run. I believe that cooperation, teamwork, and mutual aid are the most beneficial ways to run any endeavor. And I think that the blog has suffered in the past from too much focus, too much of the energy that makes the machinery of the blog run, being vested in the hands of one (or two, or five) people instead of with the body that makes the blog really work: the staff members.
This is a complicated thing to achieve. Rome was not built, nor destroyed, in a day. I haven’t even started to think about how I would like to handle this, what I would change first, how I would do it, etc. But I know now, more than I did during any other year (and it’s eight now, by the way) that I’ve been with the blog that this is what I want. I want to use the blog to put my principles into action, however limited. And that will include you readers as well, by the way. The people “consuming” our words should have a say in how those words are created as well. Now what the hell does that mean? Who knows. But I know it’s right. And, you know what, we’ve already tried to do some of it this year. Patreon is part of that, though we should find a more equitable channel. Expanding our Facebook group, creating and trying to maintain a Discord server, it’s all a part of that. Small parts but parts nonetheless which, I hope, will one day build towards a new thing: Heavy Blog 4.0.
OK, so how are things going to work in 2021, in the now? Well, first off we’re doing the “category” focused End of Year list again. If you recall, this is a post made up of a random (totally random, AKA “categories people wanted to write under”) number of categories under which we’ve grouped some of our favorite albums of the year. We’re calling this The Superlatives List, because those categories are basically all superlatives. Fun, right? Anyway, alongside that, we’re also running a Top 50 Albums of the Year list, with blurbs on each album. That’s right! The man who swore he would never rank music again (that’s me) is letting people rank music on his blog! Because it’s not my blog, is it? People on staff wanted to run this list so we’ll run it. Oh, and there are also the columns of course, where each group of staff members took their own approach to building out end of year content. There are also assorted features that we’ve had bubbling for a while now and have decided to drop alongside the rest of this thing called The Yearly Missive.
That’s it. All the rest is, as always, the most important: a ton of music. As always, I love you very much. Thank you for reading.
Our Superlatives list is back! This format allows us to focus on matters the most: celebrating, and discovering, fantastic music. Like last year’s list, we feature several categories that tend toward the exaggerated, flamboyant, and grandiose.
A World In Which Music Exists: 2021 In Review
Eden is here to tell you that, despite the chaos of 2021, there’s something that never changes, while it still “comes ’round and goes ’round again” —music.
Top 50 Albums of 2021
Some staff and readers missed a “traditional” list of our collective favorite albums last year. So we went back to basics; no algorithms: we took a list of 25 albums from each Heavy Blog contributor, grabbed the top 50 most common records, and compiled them here!
Finding Meaning In Meaninglessness: A 2021 Survivor’s Guide
Nick takes a cathartic look back at the past year and his search for meaning.
Heavy Blog Staff’s Top 25 Albums of 2021
We may have taken a different approach to our AOTY coverage this year, but we still wanted to share what everyone on staff thought were the best releases of 2021!
Heavy Blog Readers Poll 2021
If a readership is a reflection of a publication, then we can say with confidence that we continue to have one of the best readerships out there!
The Industry’s Top 50 Metal Albums of 2021
We once again compiled the Industry’s top 50 metal albums of the year an shared our thoughts on the results.
Death’s Door 2021 In Review
All the death metal that’s fit to print from last month’s offerings. Riffs, licks, and gutturals.
Post Rock Post 2021 In Review
Where the horizon is always just beyond the next hill and your heart can roam free. Delay pedals, crescendos, and dreams.
Kvlt Kolvmn 2021 In Review
The grimmest, coldest, most abrasive column there is. Only the most premium of perma-frost, from the heart of darkness itself.
Flash of the Blade 2021 In Review
Music that is fast, pissed off, and goes hard. Oh, and swearing. Lots of it.
Doomsday 2021 In Review
When you absolutely must have your music go low and slow, Doomsday is here for you. Get ready for fuzz.
Rotten to the Core 2021 In Review
Sure, you’re hardcore but are you this hardcore? The column with all the breakdowns, riffs, and gang vocals you’ll need.
Into the Pit 2021 In Review
All the thrash riffs that are fit for pit.
The Prog-nosis 2021 In Review
Odd time signatures lie ahead! Too many notes stalk these waves! Loud synths on everything! It’s prog time, baby.
Unmetal Monthly 2021 In Review
Head on through to turn down the distortion.
A Gift to Artwork 2021 In Review
Karlo and Luis summarize the best cover arts of the year.
We already knew vocalist Alex Hurst has a varied and deep musical taste and this list is more than sufficient proof of that. It has noise rock, reggae, dub, folk, drone, more dub, electronics, and more, and more.
The many projects of Garry Brents have been prolific, excellent, and varied, with sounds ranging from death metal, grindcore, power electronics, glitch, punk, shoegaze, emo, and more. So, naturally, reaching out to him for a guest list was one of my first moves.
Power Wisdom Courage is best screamed along to from the top of a cliff, to channel the amazing energies which the album has. This energy is why I reached out to Jonathan, the one-man behind this one-man project to get his albums of the year
Simeon’s list is filled with some great music, from Australia and otherwise, which really speaks to the type of power and energy, but also the delicateness and intricacy, which runs through and below SEIMS’ music.
When it came time to choose the five bands/artists that we’d invite to write a guest list for us this year, Terminus were absolutely no-brainers. And we’re really glad we did because the list is incredibly good. It contains some stuff which “makes sense” in light of Terminus’ music of choice.