2021 Best of Metal: #1 Rivers of Nihil-The Work

Origin: Reading, PA

Release date: 9/24/2021

Personnel: Jake Dieffenbach-vox, Brody Uttley-guitar/keyboards, Jon Topore-guitar, Adam Biggs-bass/vox, Jared Klein-drums/vox

And this year’s Golden Flip Flop goes to…….Rivers of Nihil!!

It feels like this band has been building to this moment from their very first release back in 2013. These guys started out as a very capable technical death metal outfit with their first couple of releases. In 2018, they kept the basic death metal framework, but decided to take a bit of a left turn and add quite a few proggy and atmospheric aspects to their sound with Where Owls Know My Name. This album portended something different about these guys. This was a band that wasn’t afraid to stay in one place nor were they afraid to break the normal genre-defining limitations a lot of bands feel the need to adhere to. The Work feels like the full realization of the vision first broached by Where Owls Know My Name. This is one hell of an ambitious work of art. It is challenging. It is jarring. It is beautiful. It is inspiring. It is heartbreaking. It is confrontational. It is complex. It is, simply, just a perfect fucking masterpiece of an album. It is most worthy of winning the best metal album of the year award and I simply haven’t been able to get enough of it since it came out. Congrats, Rivers of Nihil! Thank you for creating this gem.

5 flip flops out of 5

The final list:

1. Rivers of Nihil-The Work
2. King Buffalo-The Burden of Restlessness
3. Mastodon-Hushed and Grim
4. Gojira-Fortitude
5. Tribulation-Where the Gloom Becomes Sound
6. Dream Theater-A View From the Top of the World
7. Exodus-Persona Non Grata
8. Khemmis-Deceiver
9. Carcass-Torn Arteries
10. Omnium Gatherum-Origin
11. Be’Lakor-Coherence
12. Hooded Menace-The Tritonus Bell
13. Quicksand-Distant Populations
14. Harakiri For the Sky-Maere
15. Converge and Chelsea Wolfe-Bloodmoon: I
16. At The Gates-The Nightmare of Being
17. The Vintage Caravan-Monuments
18. Nervosa-Perpetual Chaos
19. Baest-Necro Sapiens
20. Agrypnie-Metamorphosis

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