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The 11 best albums released in July 2021

From WILLOW to Times Of Grace to King Woman, these are the 11 albums released in July 2021 that you need to hear.

It feels like yesterday when we were looking ahead to a full year of new music, and now we’re firmly in the second half of 2021 with a plethora of killer releases piling up on our creaking record shelves and filling our playlists. 

The past month has delivered some of the most exciting and forward-thinking rock, punk, metal and more to our earholes – from the gargantuan power metal of Powerwolf to the renegade pop-punk of WILLOW to the savage tech-death of Ophidian I. 

Here we look back at the 11 LPs released last month that are worthy of your time…

Defocus – In The Eye Of Death We Are All The Same

We said: At its best, In The Eye Of Death We Are All The Same suggests Defocus are a promising prospect, skilled with dynamics and unflinching in their intensity. That being said, the album’s highlights are moments that hint at future possibilities, though, rather than what they’re producing here and now.”

Read the full review here.

Stone Giants – West Coast Love Stories

We said: With elements of everything from post-rock to tropicalia in play, West Coast Love Stories is impossible to pin down, but what is absolutely clear is the passion and dedication that Amon Tobin has put into this unexpected treat.”

Read the full review here.

Powerwolf – Call Of The Wild

We said: The symphonic elements that were really pushed forward on The Sacrament Of Sin carry on where they left off and only serve to make the band even more bombastic – in the best sense of the word. No metal band around today is more grandiloquent than Powerwolf in full flight and there are times when even Sabaton sound comparatively understated.”

Read the full review here.

Graduating Life – II

We said: There’s plenty of Say Anything-esque poeticism going on across new LP II, but so too are there nods from Bart Thompson to acts as diverse as The Academy Is…, Jeff Rosenstock and twenty one pilots. And no matter what musical avenue the band wander down on this album, they always stumble across a win.”

Read the full review here.

DZ Deathrays – Positive Rising Part II

We said: The rambunctious Golden Retriever is about being heartbroken – even if it doesn’t sound like it – while the gargantuan riffs of penultimate song Run The Red are the perfect soundtrack to the existential paranoia we should all be feeling. If you’re not, one listen to this rip-roaring, thunderous record will likely change that.”

Read the full review here.

Times Of Grace – Songs Of Loss And Separation

We said: As the rest of the 10-track run unfolds, the shades of grey shapeshift and collide with the electric power of clouds in a thunderstorm. Bleed Me is an atmospheric masterclass from the heartbroken hymnal. Currents strains with the tension and weight of a troubled mind. Cold ebbs with glassy resistance. By the time the curtain drops with the six-and-a-half-minutes of dark, chugging love song Forever, it’s been an intense, emotionally draining journey.”

Read the full review here.


We said: lately I feel EVERYTHING demonstrates that there’s more than one string to WILLOW’s bow, with naïve and Come Home presenting a real maturity to her songwriting. The slower tempo of the former allows its creator’s substantial vocal range to shine, while Come Home pairs a more reigned-in sound with some biting riffs and a dark ambiance. Shouty album closer ¡BREAKOUT!, meanwhile, kicks things up a gear once more for a feisty, punk-driven conclusion that’s a joy to behold.”

Read the full review here.

Ophidian I – Desolate

We said: In terms of technical death metal, Desolate sits at the apex of releases for 2021, setting the bar impossibly high for the genre. Blink and you’ll miss it though; this is a band that prefer to keep things concise, cramming 10 tracks into under 40 minutes. It will take a few spins to really get to grips with the audial assault that’s taking place, too. There is absolutely no respite, Ophidian I start heavy and continue pummelling with everything they have right through to the closing bars, making for an insanely intense listen.”

Read the full review here.

Capstan – Separate

We said: At its heart, Separate is a heavy album on an introspective journey to its own heart of darkness, but with enough splashes of musical colour to light the way ahead. This is Capstan at full strength and it’s a second outing to be proud of.”

Read the full review here.

Underdark – Our Bodies Burned Bright On Re-Entry

We said: Avowedly anti-fascist, Underdark take aim at some very specific issues here, too. Coyotes deals with the treatment of refugees in America; With Ashen Hands Around Our Throats is almost certainly the first black metal song to demand justice for the victims of the Grenfell fire. But, as that Skeleton Queen lyric suggests, Abi Vasquez also writes about more personal infernos, with self-harm, addiction and emotional pain all addressed with unflinching, visceral honesty.”

Read the full review here.

King Woman – Celestial Blues

We said: Celestial Blues is a truly immersive experience that is not only as good as its predecessor, it has evolved beyond the blueprint they set out on their first album to expand their sound into new and exciting territory. Whether you’re a fan of slowcore, grunge, doom or shoegaze there is a song for absolutely everyone to enjoy on this album. Simply put, it is a must listen.”

Read the full review here.

Posted on August 4th 2021, 11:38a.m.
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