Among the standouts of 2021, hard rock juggernaut Bad Wolves have had the kind of year that not only challenged their grit but underscored the kind of creative resilience at the core of the band.
Forced to navigate the start of a new year embroiled in controversy, the band infamously became entangled in extracurricular conflict with now former frontman Tommy Vext. Evolving from social media spats to an eventual split from the band which then segued into an ugly bout of litigation and allegations, the collective of Bad Wolves embodied that true Gz move in silence - quietly working while side-stepping the surrounding noise.
Proving specially productive, the band swiftly enlisted vocalist Daniel “DL” Lasckiewicz to helm the band's lead on the mic and resumed work on their highly-anticipated third full length album. Despite skepticism of what was to come following the personnel changes, the band maintained their focus and soldiered on.
Introducing Dear Monsters with the emphatic single "Lifeline," Bad Wolves quickly reasserted their rank and proved they had not only kept in step, but they had find their stride. The second serving in "House of Cards" showcased the kind of hard rock horsepower that doubled down on the fact that band was firing on all cylinders and DL had immediately found his groove.
In the months since the October 29th release, Dear Monsters, the single "Lifeline" landed the band the No. 1 spot on active rock radio in the U.S. and Canada, per Mediabase. The accomplishment offered clear testimony to the band's ability to dodge the distractions and cemented their position as one of the genre's most in-demand collectives.
In short, Bad Wolves have a knack for finding the bullseye with their hard rock and metal contingent. The effectiveness of Dear Monsters plainly proves as such. In taking inventory of the band's stellar 2021, Bad Wolves guitarist Doc Coyle offered his assessment of which albums were on his radar in a year that showcased rock music's ability to rock back from unprecedented circumstances. Read the hitmaker's take on who nailed it in 2021.
10. Volbeat - Servant Of The MInd
Coyle - This album could end up higher on my list but it just came out so I have to listen more. I hate to label an album a "return to form,” but Servant Of The Mind finds Volbeat bringing the fully fanged teeth back to the stomp riffs and yet leaning into the other extremes. The rockabilly elements are even more fully authenticated. They swung for the fences and knocked it out of the park.
9. Carcass - Torn Arteries
Coyle - I'm convinced that Bill Steer sold his soul to the riff devil because Carcass has no business being this vital and sharp 35 years into their career. There are many who can rip off the style, but there can be only one original. Carcass has perfected melodic death ‘n' roll. Mic drop.
8. Ice Nine Kills - Welcome To Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2
Coyle - As soon as I heard this album, I knew that INK had made the leap into a more elite stratosphere. It's a modern metalcore rock opera. Maybe the first of its kind. I feel like they can be My Chemical Romance for a whole new generation. Despite commercial success, the songs are unpredictable and aren't afraid to zig when you think they will zag.
7. Alluvial - Sarcoma
Coyle - In the world of technical death metal, it's really tough to do something that stands out and feels like it's stretching the genre into something special. The technical side of this album is without question, but there is an element of melancholic, emotional exploration that makes Sarcoma truly something special. Kudos to Wes Hauch and the boys.
6. Spiritbox - Eternal Blue
Coyle - Spiritbox has really been the breakout metal band of 2021. There was so much hype for this album and it's a real achievement to see the band meet and surpass those big expectations. They managed to craft an album that is dark and ethereal but brutally heavy when they go for the jugular.
5. Mastodon - Hushed and Grim
Coyle - I believe that Mastodon is the most consistent metal band of the Iast 20 years or so. Every album they create is vital, artistically ambitious, and yet they never forget to keep the hooks and groove intact. Hushed and Grim is another step in their exploration of musical depth. We're lucky to have a band like this still at the top of their game.
4. Architects - For Those That Wish To Exist
Coyle - Architects were already one of the trailblazing bands in their genre before this album's release, but For Those That Wish To Exist seemed like a true arrival moment. This is the sound of a band who is comfortable in their own skin and have found the perfect mix of beauty and ferocity.
3. Gojira - Fortitude
Coyle - Gojira probably had more anticipation for any metal release for me this year. But even with high standards, the Frenchmen cleared the bar. I loved that the album production was a bit more organic, and the bits that interested me the most were when they took chances and veered from the standard Gojira moves.
2. Mammoth WVH - Self-titled
Coyle - The Mammoth WVH album completely took me by surprise. It's just a pure hard rock album done extremely well. Wolfgang is a fantastic instrumentalist and singer, but his best skill is songwriting. This is top notch songcraft and that's always going to grab me first.
1. Turnstile - Glow On
Coyle - Turnstile made the feel-good album of the summer. I wasn't very familiar with the band until I saw the "Turnstile Love Connection" music video and I was blown away by a collection of songs that felt completely fresh for the moment but also steeped in something familiar that connected with me more than any album this year. An instant classic.