Thoughts on 2021

Damn. This year really slipped on by. Not quite the shitshow of 2020, but still quite a few bumps along the way. But, we made it through once again and now it’s time to look back and see how we did.

First and foremost, live music became a thing again, albeit in a limited sense. The whole live music enterprise still feels a bit fragile at this point with band and crew members still coming down with the virus and tours/shows being cancelled or postponed. Still, it was nice to get to see Lamb of God, Megadeth, Trivium, Hatebreed, The Sword, Zeal & Ardor, Mastodon and Opeth do their thing live this year. All of these bands helped remind me of how special a live metal show is and how much we missed in 2020.

We lost a ton of good people in the past year. Some due to the virus, some to old age and some more more tragic reasons. Here is the time to pour one out for Dusty Hill (ZZ Top), Mike Howe (Metal Church/Heretic), L.G. Petrov (Entombed), Eric Wagner (Trouble/The Skull), Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones), Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Joey Jordison (Slipknot), Jeff LeBar (Cinderella) and Marsha Zazula (co-founder of Megaforce Records).

For those of you still with me and still give a shit, I’m going to start rolling out the 2021 Best of Metal list starting on Sunday and will culminate the list with the awarding of the Golden Flip Flop on New Year’s Eve. This year was a mixed bag on the quality of metal released. I would have figured that the material would have been stronger given the imperiled state of the world these days. It feels like the environment should be ripe for musical inspiration. While the quality overall was a bit down this year as compared to years past, there were still enough good albums for us to celebrate. This year’s list is populated by old classic bands and band releasing their debuts. There are some old favorites of mine and some new surprises. I can’t wait to get started in sharing these albums with you over the next couple of weeks or so. Hopefully you will enjoy the journey as much as I do. Hell, maybe you’ll find a new favorite album or band for yourself. That would make the end of my year very happy.

I’ll see you on Sunday. Stay metal and Up The Irons!!

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