2021 has been, without a doubt, one of the most memorable years in modern music history. The invisible elephant in the room was obviously COVID-19, which triggered the unprecedented year-plus blackout on nearly all live shows. Thankfully this spring's widespread vaccination rollout proved effective enough for the restrictions to lift, and by summer bands were finally able to hit stages throughout the country.
While we're not quite in "post-COVID" times just yet, the sheer joy of experiencing the cranked sounds and singular live energy of gatherings big and small — from sweaty Turnstile club gigs and raucous Slipknot road shows to massive Metallica-led festivals — has been beyond rejuvenating.
Plus, there's also been a bunch of killer albums released this year to keep us entertained in between mosh pits. Old-school heavies Iron Maiden, Carcass and At the Gates brought the heat, scene leaders Mastodon and Gojira upped the ante, Converge and Chelsea Wolfe dropped a bomb collab and a clutch of up-and-coming trailblazers — Spiritbox, Jinjer, Turnstile, Scowl, Portrayal of Guilt and more — pushed heavy music into exciting new territories. (See Revolver's 25 favorite albums of 2021 here.)
As we close the books on 2021, we're catching up with some of our favorite artists to get their picks for the best of the best of the past year. Below, All Hail the Yeti guitarist Dave Vanderlinde shares his favorite shit: from ass-kicking death-metal OGs to hilarious "energy vampires" and beyond.
Best Album: 'Fortitude' by Gojira
A solid blend of their classic songwriting style but with a more natural sounding mix. It goes to show that songs are king; everything else is secondary.
Best Song: "Follow the Blood" by Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse's "Follow the Blood" kicked my ass the first time I heard it! It's one of those songs that sounds best at extreme volumes. I'm pretty sure it was mixed with that goal in mind.
Best TV Show: What We Do in the Shadows
Hands down, my favorite show was What We Do in the Shadows. I saw the movie years ago and decided to try the new season of the TV show. Three days later, I finished binging all three seasons. Watch out for energy vampires!
Favorite Video Game: Mario Kart
I'm not much of a gamer, but I can't refuse a good round of Mario Kart. It recently came out for iPhone, so I've been playing that a lot on our tour bus lately.
Favorite New Band: Loathe
They're not a brand-new band but Loathe has been putting out truly unique heavy music. The arrangements are odd and listening to them gives me inspiration to try new sounds and techniques in my own writing.
Best Musical Moment
I was so grateful to get back on tour this fall, and the response from the fans has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Everyone seems grateful as well that we can get back to being together and enjoying live music.
What Are You Most Excited for in 2022?
All Hail the Yeti has a busy summer coming up; we are playing Wacken Open Air, Bloodstock Open Air, and the Hammership Cruise! I love festival season, and this promises to be an epic summer for the band.