We're only halfway through 2021 and it already feels like we're in over our heads with new music. As bands are gearing up for a momentous return to touring later this summer and fall, fantastic albums from every heavy subgenre are arriving by the truckload, so there's no shortage of bangers to choose from. We at Revolver published our own Best Albums of 2021 So Far list earlier this week, but since we value our readers' opinions just as much, we asked you to tell us your favorite LP of 2021's first six months. Below, are your top five picks, ranked accordingly.
Erra continued their ascent to the progcore peaks with their self-titled fifth album. Dizzying leads, djenty lows, soaring cleans and growly uncleans have been their tools of choice for over a decade, but each of their LPs offers a slightly different approach, some catchier or heavier than others. Here, the Alabama quintet give fans a little bit of everything — hooky, proggy and lovably ugly — and clearly, the gambit worked.
Chevelle are nine albums into their career and still managing to sound fresh. The five-year gap between their latest LP, Niratias, and their last, The North Corridor, seemingly gave the Loeffler brothers, Pete and Sam, the opportunity to experiment and conceptualize. Their latest opus, NIRATIAS, is packed with ideas and digressions — a head-scratching sci-fi theme and numerous instrumental interludes — but even so, the band's signature alt-metal hooks are plentiful and undeniable as ever.
Written in the wake of tragedy — the death of a longtime collaborator, producer Kato Khandwala, and the sudden passing of one of frontwoman Taylor Momsen's idols, Chris Cornell — the Pretty Reckless' fourth album is an emotional affair. With standout tracks that feature members of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, as well as some of Momsen's best vocal performances yet, the band's embrace of reflective catharsis over sonic bombast still hits just as hard.
Goijra don't miss. The French prog-metal titans' seventh album, Fortitude, refines each element of their sound — tyrannosaurus riffs, scientific arrangements and chant-inducing choruses — into a project with the catchy succinctness of Magma and the pummeling thrill of their early material. Plus, they nail every experimental dip into grander melodies, alluding to where they might head going forward.
Evanescence's first album of new material in a decade is a return to form. The Bitter Truth distills everything Amy Lee and her bandmates do best, as well as showcasing numerous new tricks, into a tight yet plentiful 47 minutes of moody, majestic hard rock. As always, Lee's stirring vocals are at the forefront, but Evanescence sound like a band who still has something to prove on this record. No wonder fans rallied around their latest so much.