State of the Vortex: 2021 wrap-up

by Snyde

Mon, 3 Jan 2022

Read in 5 minutes

On and on it spins.

Having seen the end of it, it’s hard for me to harbor hatred from 2021 as a year. We got it over and done, and it’s not like the upcoming years are looking to be any better so one might as well surrender to the facts and keep going. Here are the vortex’s top choices for 2021:

(1.) Stortregn - Impermanence

Contrary to its title, Impermanence managed to hold on to the title of least disliked on the vortex since I last talked about it in July. And why not, it’s an agreeable album with some intense and well-strung passages. In a year of truly abominable contenders populating the lists of lesser websites, it is refreshing to see something that is simply well done.

(2.) Archspire - Bleed the Future

A certain air of arrogance emanates from Archspire and their surrounding cult. Many would posit that this was earned through their successes in previous albums and yes, it seems Archspire have concocted a winning formula. “Danger in music” has never felt so neatly packaged and easily digestible.

(3.) Mare Cognitum - Solar Paroxysm

Everyone’s tired of talking about atmoblack but everyone also can’t stop listening to it. It is an all-encompassing beast, a darkness primordial come to engulf the metal genre with poorly-produced tremolo guitars and wooshy synths. Best to ride the wave with Mare Cognitum at its crest, pumping out drawn out epics that still manage to stir something within us for now.

(4.) Worm - Foreverglade

Cavernous doom is, from the outset, uninterested in its listener. You have to be into it because it won’t care to pull you in. Worm navigates this by making you think you care. It give you little bites of death metal to try and trick you into enjoying the barren doom that surrounds it, like a caregiver hiding a pill in the middle of the dog food.

(5.) Fetid Zombie - Transmutations

Surely you must realize that naming your band Fetid Zombie will lead anyone with experience to expect braindeath metal rather than something with tact and finesse. This is music that can make a unicorn question his unending hatred for music. That should be enough of an endorsement.

(6.) So Hideous - None But a Pure Heart Can Sing

To their credit, So Hideous cram in all their angsty, screamy nonsense and get on with actually playing with some interesting symphonic arrangements. As should be obvious to anyone, if you can say something in 30 minutes, you shouldn’t use 60.

(7.) Ad Nauseam - Imperative Imperceptible Impulse

It still puzzles me that Ad Nauseam is the disso band non-metal mags and other hipsters around the internet chose to be the one they use to flaunt their “unbound ecleticism”. Yes, you couldn’t give a half shit about all other metal but you really appreciate the subtle dissonant stylings and raw emotional appeal of the discordant riffing. Of course you do.

(8.) The Silver - Ward of Roses

I wouldn’t call Ward of Roses a good album but it’s definitely less worthy of my contempt than others on this list (see below). While in my view it fails to coalesce into more than haphazardly connected and unearned intensity, it attempts variety and passion. Which is commendable in and of itself.

(9.) Moral Collapse - Moral Collapse

I cannot for the life of me fathom what this record is doing amongst the best of the year but by what I can only explain as some sort of mathematical anomaly it has managed to make it into this list. The people have spoken. But the people are retarded.

(10.) Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsû - s/t

It seems like Absu’s dissolution was nothing but a minor speed bump for what remains of the legendary black thrash outfit. Their formula remains unchanged: drown the listener in blinding-fast riffs. Not even I can complain about that.


Here are some 2021 spreadsheet statistics (taken December 31st, 2021):

Albums appraised: 4441

Album rate average: 4.64 (4.85 weighted for # of votes per album)

Individual rates average: 4.98

For more detailed individual statistics, feel free to visit the Vortexplorer.


That’s it from me. We end the 2021 year-end state of the vortex with a new edition of “Ferday’s Fortune”, the great unicorn once again bestowing upon us a nugget of his boundless wisdom:

Like Snyde mentions, there is no more contempt for this year. Much like the development of covid, it’s time for us to accept the fact that average is the new good, and move on towards a collectively more boring nirvana. It’s still moderately disappointing that such rich soil for growing an artistic seed has been squandered, but that disappointment is gradually making way for a comfortably numb re-defining of the concept of taste. soon, the throngs of Spotify cultists will have their way and AI-produced algorithms will dominate our charts.


The year-end vortex average is a fair way below 5, in some sort of hellish basement where the vast majority of music is content to play. A king in hell, as they say. So beat down and drowned in pablum is this unicorn that I can’t even muster an argument about Snyde’s assessments. I think the only true emotion left after this stultifying year in music is the contempt towards those idiots who will carry the flag of “2021 was the best year in music ever”. You know who you are, and you know inside that you have made a significant error.


On a positive note, the yearly participation in this greatest of discord servers was good, and I truly hope that it will continue, and I pray we are blessed with a few more retards that have an interest in listening to as much terrible music as they can cram in their filthy earholes. This is an underappreciated resource that the entire internet should be so lucky to have. Seriously, has anyone actually seen the ratings on RYM, what the actual fuck. And if you’re really looking for a challenge, try on the Pitchfork top 50 for 2021.


The vortex is dead, long live the vortex. And don’t forget, music sucks.