We count down the top twenty albums of 2021 so far as decided by the Sentinel Daily Readership…

20. DurbinThe Beast Awakens (Frontiers Music)
Durbin readers choice
“A surprising effort from the former American Idol alumnus… James Durbin is a capable and committed metalhead who deserves your support rather than suspicion based on his ‘pop’ background. This is honest metal, as sincere as it gets, and it deserves your attention!” Gavin Strickmann

Read Gavin’s idolisation of Durbin HERE

19. Blazon RiteEndless Halls of Golden Totem (Gates of Hell Records)
“Trad metal in 2021 is often the last resort of cash-hungry chancers and self-proclaimed ironists; With tracks like Into Shore of Blood, Blazon Rite prove that still, when in the hands of the sincere and the devout, it continues to possess the power to move hearts and minds (as well as necks) in equal measure. All hail the new pretenders to the true metal throne!” Scott Adams

Read Scott’s full review of Endless Halls of Golden Totem HERE

18. Electric BoysUps!de Down (Mighty Music)
Electric Boys readers choice
“Despite the fact that the band have very obviously pleased themselves with this album, there isn’t a weak point to be found anywhere, much less anything that could be labelled self-indulgent. Conny Bloom and his mates are master craftsmen, and on Ups!de Down they’ve used that craft to deliver some of the most vital, exciting music of their long and storied career”. GS

Read Gavin’s full review of Ups!de Down HERE

17. Kent Hilli The Rumble (Frontiers Music)
“The new World Champion of AOR walks among us…From start to finish, not a note is wasted, no chance to set the hairs on the back of the neck prickling is turned down, no stone is left unturned to deliver high quality melodic hard rock”. GS

Read Gavin’s full views on The Rumble HERE

16. SabbatoneroL’Uomo di Ferro (Time To Kill Records)
Sabbatonero readers choice
“The whole thing has been put together for a great cause, with a host of people putting in some great shifts to provide wall-to-wall entertainment for discerning ears everywhere. I can’t imagine a single headbanger anywhere failing to find something to like about this album – so get involved and start digging into those wallets now!” SA

Read Scott’s breakdown of L’Uomo di Ferro HERE

15. Hearts and Hand GrenadesTurning To Ashes (Eclipse Records)
Hearts & Hand Grenades readers choice- Turning To Ashes (Eclipse Records)
“There’s a certain indefinable something about this band that won’t fail to intrigue you, and I’m certainly hooked after just a few spins of Turning To Ashes. I can’t imagine for a moment that all our readers will be as enamoured as me, but if you don’t mind the lighter side of rock getting into your musical diet every now and then I think you’ll find a fair bit to chew on here. Get involved!” GS

Read all of Gavin’s thoughts on Turning To Ashes HERE

14. ChelseaMeanwhile Gardens (Westworld)
Chelsea Sargent readers choice
“It’s impossible to listen to Chelsea without a huge, gormless grin spreading across your fizzog as soon as they crank up the classic Britpunk feels… on Meanwhile Gardens the band have put together an album that long term fans will instantly recognise and adore”. SA

Read Scott’s full review of Meanwhile Gardens HERE

13. CoronarySinbad (Cruz Del Sur Music)
“The key here is that Coronary get it. They don’t come across as try-hard revivalists because they, simply, aren’t trying at all. This is the music that comes naturally to them, that flows through their fingers and throats, coalescing on the fretboard, through the drum heads and out of the vocal PA as naturally as breathing. It may sound crass to state it in print – but Coronary are heavy metal”. SA

Read Scott’s full review of Sinbad HERE

12. TemtrisRitual Warfare (Wormholedeath)
“Aussie power metallers return to the fray in scorching form…Temtris prove again on Ritual Warfare just what an accomplished, important band they are; if you’ve still not experienced their majesty yet, what are you waiting for?” Ferry Templeton

Read Ferry’s full review of Ritual Warfare  HERE
11. Witch CrossAngel of Death (High Roller Records)
“A welcome return from these Euro metal veterans…Heavy metal in it’s purest form (and this is a pure heavy metal album) wears it’s immutability as a badge of honour, and in that sense Angel of Death is an unqualified success. By any other yardstick it’s a faintly laughable throwback to the days of spandex and patchouli; I know in which camp I sit – I’ll leave you to choose for yourself”. SA

Read Scott’s full review of Angel of Death HERE

10. StarmenBy The Grace of Rock n’Roll (Melodic Passion)
Starmen Readers Choice
“The fact remains that the levels of quality here far surpass what many bands can only dream of, let alone attain. Should they ditch the costume n’panstick? I think so, though I suspect I’m in the minority. But frankly, if they can keep churning out albums as good as By The Grace of Rock n’Roll, who cares?” GS

Read Gavin’s graceful musings on By The Grace of Rock n’Roll HERE

9. Paradise LostAt The Mill (Nuclear Blast)
At The Mill Readers choice
“Not your usual live album, then, but obviously these aren’t your usual times. If you watched the live stream, you’ll jump at the chance of owning this an an audio document of the performance; but even if you didn’t, you owe it to yourself to discover just what a heavy metal treat you missed out on last November”. FT

Read Ferry’s full musings on At The Mill HERE

8. Against Evil End of the Line (Doc Gator Records)
“An energetic, enjoyable return to active duty… Metal or Nothin‘ is clearly more than just a song title for these guys – their circuits do indeed gleam! – and it’s good to see such undying faith in the cause of our kind of music in such a far-flung corner of the metal Empire – long may it continue!” FT

Read Ferry’s full review of End of the Line HERE

7. AcceptToo Mean To Die (Nuclear Blast)
Accept Readers Choice
At fifty two minutes plus in duration and eleven tracks in length the album feels slightly bloated – the likes of Sucks To Be You could probably have been lost without anybody worrying over much – but long term fans of the band will still probably find enough to like about TMTD to find a place for it in their hearts and their record collections whatever jaded old hacks like me may think”. SA

Was Scott too mean about accept in his review of Too Mean To Die? Read it in full HERE

6. Michael Schenker GroupImmortal (Nuclear Blast)
Schenker readers choice
“A mixed bag, then, littered with surprises as well as some great performances. It’s well worth a listen, if only to reflect on the life and times of one of heavy rock’s true survivors. Hats off, Michael, and here’s to many more years in the game”. GS

Read Gavin’s deathless prose on the subject of Immortal HERE

5. The Dead DaisiesHoly Ground (SPV/Steamhammer)
Dead Daisies Readers Choice
“Regal rock n’roll that few will be able to rival as the year rolls by… This lineup may only have been together for a very short while, but this truly is the sound of a well-oiled, supremely confident machine at work; A quartet of musicians working together, pooling years of talent and experience in the service of outstanding heavy rock songcraft – and it’s a joy to behold”. GS

Read Gavin’s full review of Holy Ground HERE

4. ShunShun (Small Stone)
Shun Readers Choice
“Monstrously good stuff from the US… there is plenty of top-notch, superbly thought-out and executed, ‘progressive’ in the best sense of the word heavy rock on offer on Shun, and I strongly urge you to get some Shun in your ears as soon as your doubtless busy schedule allows – you’ll be thanking me for the tip for a long, long time, let me tell you…” Michael Stronge

Read Michael’s full review of Shun HERE

3. IronboundThe Lightbringer (Ossuary Records)
Ironbound Readers choice
“Entirely irresistible trad metal from Poland… if you’re an Iron Maiden fan of any description I think you should give this a spin at least once – they deserve your attention! And if you just like old fashioned metal well played with a heroic attention to detail, this might just be what you’ve been waiting for as well. Get stuck in!” FT

Ferry Templeton sheds more light on The Lightbringer HERE

2. Fear FactoryAggression Continuum (Nuclear Blast)
Fear Factory readers choice
“There’s an air of nostalgia to a lot of the material here in yet another ironic twist to proceedings – the ‘Factory being one of metal’s most forward thinking units, traditionally – but that won’t, or shouldn’t, detract from the fact that the music they are making is still boldly relevant in 2021”. MS

Read Mick’s full Aggression Continuum dissection HERE

And the winner is…

1. Flotsam and JetsamBlood In The Water (AFM Records)
Flotsam Readers Choice
“A triumphant return from these veteran thrashers… easily one of the best releases in this band’s long and not always successful career. To hear them firing on all cylinders after so long is a joy but, perhaps more than that, the rejoicing lays in the fact that the band are doing all of this on their own terms without a hint of compromise”. – MS

Read Mick’s full review of Blood in the Water HERE