Wall of Sound presents: “2021 YEAR IN REVIEW” – by Boss Man Paul ‘Browny’ Brown

I for one cannot wait to be done with this groundhog day-esque day to day life that covid has brought on…

But enough with the negative (let’s face it, there’s been enough of it these past two years) and more with the positive – how good is heavy music right now! Not only in Australia but outside of our little country. Our favourite bands have been pumping out the tunes to not only cure their boredom, but to keep us on the edge of our seat wanting more and when the world re-opens, we’re going to have a plethora of shows to choose from with stacks of new material and plenty of catching up to do in and out of the mosh.

Wall of Sound covered some big ground this year and we’re not stopping anytime soon my friends – the growth from 2014 to now has been insane to witness on the back end and as I find myself pulling away to do more admin duties behind the scene, I’ve loved watching my team grow and develop over the years to be the next big gun heavy music journos they were born to be. So this wrap up is dedicated to them and all they do to keep the WoS wheels turning.

Who knows what 2022 will bring (loljks I do), but until then, let’s look back at what saved me from covid in 2021…

THE TOP 20 RELEASES OF 2021

1. Beartooth – Below

Please give it up for Beartooth who have finally nabbed the Album of the Year title after winning me over back in 2015. Below was all I listened to from release day for a few weeks and I still find myself going back to listen to it in full months after its release. There is not one skippable song on this masterpiece and closing track ‘The Last Riff‘ made me finally appreciate instrumental songs for the first time ever. Also as a vinyl variant collector, it made the hunting down of all 23 variants so much more enjoyable upon completion.

2. Every Time I Die – Radical

The ETIDiots missed out on the top spot by a bee’s dick with their impressive release Radical which spoke to me on a much mor epersonal level than any of their other albums. The heaviness, the emotions, the heartbreak I felt as frontman Keith Buckley screamed the words I needed to hear to get my life back on track again helped me in so many ways. The album also spawned my song of the year… more on that in a sec!

3. Architects – For Those That Wish To Exist

Architects took a bold step in a new, non-metalcore direction, hoping to turn our attention to the impact we’re having on the world around us. For Those That Wish To Exist was their call-to-arms for us to change our ways and think about the longterm effects of global warming and climate change and it hit hard. ‘Animals‘ still slaps after all this time and their collaborations with both Winston McCall (Parkway Drive) and Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro) were so good, I can’t help but wonder what they’ll sound like live if all the bands in question share the same stage.

4. Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood

The way to my heart is metalcore and horror so its no surprise that INK have pieced my beating blood pumper with their impressive sequel to 2018’s The Silver Scream. In true horror fashion, the songs were heavier, bloodier and this time covered more of my fav flicks like Resident Evil, Cabin Fever and My Bloody Valentine.

5. Spiritbox – Eternal Blue

The hype surrounding Spiritbox this year was astronomical. When chatting with frontwoman Courtney LaPlante prior to Eternal Blue‘s release, even she couldn’t understand where it all came from – but on release day, everyone heard what this band was capable of and this debut album completely exceeded expectations. Despite sitting on this for a few years, I’m already keen and hungry for more material – on top of that eventual Australian debut tour!

6. Angels & Airwaves – Lifeforms

Speaking of long waits, it was 7 years between albums for Angels & Airwaves – which is a long time to wait for Tom DeLonge‘s adoring vocals to hit your earholes again. With plenty of throwback sounds to previous eras of the band, Lifeforms was a great return to the scene for my one and only god.

7. Amy Shark – Cry Forever

Sharky’s sophomore album proved she’s more than capable of tackling genres than the pop/indie path she embarked on. Not only can she bash out a power ballad like no other, but her genre-crossing showcased the potential she has as one of Australia’s biggest powerhouse performers.

8. Belle Haven – Time Changes Nothing EP

As someone who struggles with mental health on a daily basis, I turn to music as a cathartic way to calm myself down and David De La Hoz is a struggling artist that I have turned to on a number of occasions to help recenter myself. Time Changes Nothing was yet another tear-inducing, heart-breaking release from Belle Haven and if I didn’t come across it when I did, I don’t know where I’d be today.

9. Limp Bizkit – Still Sucks

We waited and waited and waited for this album to drop and then it did, on Halloween and was the hype worth the wait? well, obviously if it’s landed in my Top 10! Nostalgic nu-metal from a band who shaped my coming of age years and still to this day can write a bloody good jam that’s catchy as fuck – looking at you ‘Dad Vibes‘.

10. Onslow – Onslow EP

Perth musicians have been on fire lately and this new band consisting of duo Sean Harmanis (Make Them Suffer) and Scott Kay (Voyager) tapped into a nostalgic sound skin to that of the late 90’s rock made famous by bands like The Smashing Pumpkins and Deftones. A fantastic self-titled debut EP that’ll no doubt take you back to your early years.

11. Deadlights – The Uncanny Valley
12. Starve – Nausea EP
13. The Veronicas – Godzilla
14. ten56. – Down Part.1 EP
15. Lorna Shore – …And I Return to Nothingness EP

16. Trivium – In The Court of The Dragon
17. Love And Death – Perfectly Preserved
18. In Vanity Identity EP
19. Wage War – Manic
20. Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine

THE TOP 20 SONGS OF 2021

According to Spotify I listened to over 60 genres with metalcore being my favourite. So it’s no surprise some heavy hitters were at the top of my list this year. I also documented my fav songs of the week and put them in my Froth Worthy Songs of 2021 playlist here. 

1. Every Time I Die – ‘Hostile Architecture’
2. Architects feat. Winston McCall – ‘Impermanence’
3. Beartooth – ‘Devastation’
4. Angels & Airwaves – ‘Euphoria’
5. Limp Bizkit – ‘Dad Vibes’

6. Belle Haven – ‘Hopeless. Empty. Lonely. Painful.’
7. Spiritbox – ‘Sunkiller’
8. Amy Shark – ‘Baby Steps’
9. Ice Nine Kills – ‘Rainy Day’
10. Halsey – ‘I am not a woman I’m a god’ 

11. Chasing Ghosts – ‘Dig’
12. Onslow – ‘Let Me Rust’ 
13. Pridelands – ‘Heavy Tongue’
14. Ocean Sleeper – ‘Forever Sinking’
15. Make Them Suffer feat. Courtney LaPlante – ‘Contraband’ 

16. Love And Death – ‘White Flag’
17. DON BROCO – ‘One True Prince’
18. Blood Command – ‘A Villain’s Monologue’
19. Lorna Shore – ‘…And I Return to Nothingness’
20. The Opinion Industry – ‘Opinions’

THE TOP 5 MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2020

1. Ice Nine Kills – ‘Rainy Day’

2. Angels & Airwaves – ‘Losing My Mind’

3. Every Time I Die – ‘Post-Boredom’

4. Eskimo Callboy – ‘We Got The Moves’

5. The Veronicas – ‘Godzilla’

THE TOP 5 COLLABORATIONS OF 2021

1. Architects feat. Winston McCall – ‘Impermanence’

2. Ice Nine Kills feat. Corpsegrinder – ‘Take Your Pick’

3. Crown The Empire feat. Courtney LaPlante – ‘In Another Life’

4. We Came As Romans feat. Caleb Shomo – ‘Black Hole’

5. Senses Fail feat. Spencer Charnas – ‘Death By Water’

THE BEST COVER SONG OF 2021

Hands down Four Year Strong‘s cover of ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony

FIRST GIG YOU HAVE LINED UP POST-COVID?

I’m double vaxxed and spriting head first into Full Tilt Festival Brisbane with open arms and an eagerness to mosh/scream until I pass the fuck out! Unless I can get to Knight and Day somehow…

WHAT BAND/S GOT YOU THROUGH THESE PAST TWO YEARS?

From the start of 2020 to now – these are the bands/musicians that saved me from myself on countless occasions: Polaris, Architects, Parkway Drive, Beartooth, Make Them Suffer, Bring Me The Horizon, Amy Shark, Spiritbox, The Amity Affliction, Angels & Airwaves, Travis Barker, The Ghost Inside, Every Time I Die, Reliqa, Limp Bizkit, KoRn, The Devil Wears Prada, Ice Nine Kills, The Weeknd, Starve, Ocean Sleeper, Wage War and Four Year Strong

+ a particular song about being a dad by Weddings Parties Anything. I had a moment last month where I bawled my eyes out listening to this – so I’d like to dedicate it to all the Dads out there doing their best to make a difference in their kids’ lives!

WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT YOU GOING INTO NEXT YEAR?

Over the past two years I learned a lot about myself – in particular the things that mean the most to me. I’ve connected with my son on a deeper level and personally can’t wait to spend more time with him once this pandemic gets out of the way of that. I will no doubt be focusing more on the things that make me happy and give me a huge smile on my face – e.g. helping others achieve their goals, dreams and aspirations + crossing off those big personal goals and career highlights in both my life and in this heavy music journo life…

It’s also time I start backing myself, my business and my worth more than I have in previous years. I sometimes forget how far I’ve come and instead of focusing on where I’m going, it’s time to live in the now a little bit more!

FAV NEW BAND/MUSICIAN DISCOVERED IN 2021

Local: Diesect (Gold Coast)

National: Starve (Melbourne)

International: Betraying The Martyrs (France)

NEXT BIG AUSSIE ACT TO WATCH IN 2022?

Reliqa – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this band is going to explode with their next batch of new material and it’s going to be awesome watching the mass of fans coming their way. These Central Coast kids have an incredible talent, drive and passion for all things prog/metal and I can’t wait to see them smash their goals in 2022 and beyond!

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2022?

Personally – Festivals, Concerts, Moshing, Screaming and being less stressed and depressed where possible. Spending more time with my little man, brother and partner are high priority, as well as finally finishing off my horror icon leg sleeve… annnnnd getting on Australian Survivor hahaha 🤞🤞

Music wise – Oh boy, new Parkway Drive and Polaris would be all kinds of amazing. Pridelands and KoRn to kick the year off is going to be rad, as will new material from Avenged Sevenfold, Reliqa, blink-182, Ocean Sleeper, Thornhill, Void of Vision and hopefully Falling In Reverse. I’m also eagerly anticipating Short Stack winning me over with their comeback album.

On the Wall of Sound front – I’m hoping to personally take our killer content internationally with a few visions in mind that only a couple of years ago seemed like a total pipe dream. The cogs are turning on some internally run concepts and it’s looking highly likely that we’ll be launching a little big project that’s been in the making for 11 years!!!

I foresee 2022 being our biggest and busiest year to date and I can’t thank you all enough for joining us on this incredibly rewarding journey for the past seven years.

“TO THE NEXT STEP!!!”

Written by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown
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About Paul 'Browny' Brown (3283 Articles)
Dad, Wall of Sound Owner/Editorial Manager/Interviewer & Professional Beard Grower... Definitely NOT a Hipster!

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