"An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than a...

Top 10 EPs of 2021

"An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain four or five tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well." (Source: Wikipedia)

10. Obscure Skuadron - Mysterious Existence

An EP as obscure as its name, these guys have an awesome thick wall of noise and a nerdy obsession with aliens, as one can tell from the titles of the tracks. Short and sweet, Mysterious Existence makes me wonder if it's an one time event, because I would enjoy a full release like that quite a lot. Screw variety.

9. Grinning Death's Head - Cataclysm

Blood War was a masterpiece, that I found too late. The first new move after four years, Grinning Death's Head new two tracks are equally menacing, and with delightful barbarity. This project doesn't need much to impress, and it's unquestionably energetic and in your face. Gotta love the extra, slight background synths too. It's a must to check out.

8. Spiral Staircase – Cellar Dream

You would say Cellar Dream is the first extended release of Spiral Staircase, not for its length but because it is the first EP after demos and splits, and with two years of space between their previous work. Apart from the fact that I'm fully into this name, logo and cover color, the bleached out fuzziness of this EP for some reason, totally calmed down my soul.

7. Serpent Column - Katartisis

This should need no introduction, especially after a series or really successful releases by this project. By now, you might already expecting what to listen to from Serpent Column, but once again it's equally strong, and reeks of talent and great musicianship. A lot of notable, tickling melodies and dried out riffs here. Pretty technical as always.

6. Somme - Prussian Blood

In case you were thinking that we have too many posterized, pixelized black and white lo-fi black metal projects in the last few years, you were right. In case you were thinking they all hide behind the fuzzy production without really having a solid musical idea, you were right. In case you were thinking they are all the same, they are. Somme from Finland come to teach us the actual meaning of playing "raw black metal", with a proper lo-fi attitude, out of truthful intention and not smugness. Impressive work, I loved every last slice of it.

5. Nocturnal Effigy - The Night's Sorrow

At this state, releases like these get sold out at the blink of the eye. The manpower behind this project is also responsible for some of the most treasured acts in the dungeon synth / raw black metal scene, therefore it's almost guaranteed it will be another treat for the ears: harsh, ominous guitar riffs and an even harsher sound, excellent instrumental pieces and more slower / melodic tracks make up for a wonderful release that forever belongs in the underground.

4. Ûkcheânsâlâwit - Alaskan Escape

Listening to Alaskan Escape, the name of Ildjarn is obviously the elephant in the room. Completely stripped down, repetitive, hypnotic black metal with raspy vocals and a middle finger to all that is nicely produced and friendly. The lyrics are as glacial-cold as you think, there's hardly any turns, but in the end it's so good. I could listen to this pummeling beating for hours, especially riffs like in "uanatshu". It doesn't have to be more complicated than this really.

3. Forsmán - Dönsum Í Logans Ljóma

If you're into Icelandic black metal, then you must already know this new band. If not, then you must listen to them and their debut EP, right away. Professionally made, Forsmán know the groundworks of their country's scene very well and present another piece of huge compositions, massive riffs, powerful vocals and guitar lines and excellent sense of composition. The best Icelandic release this year, with Mannveira closely behind.

2. Kvadrat – Ψυχική Αποσύνθεση

This mini-release alone saved the year for me when it comes to new extreme metal from Greece. Enjoyable and complex, with several exciting turns and unusual melodic structures, excellent aesthetics (and a unique logo!), Kvadrat picks up the label of "dissonant" and ultimately doesn't exhaust the listener with it. Ψυχική Αποσύνθεση (Greek for mental decomposition) is a great first sign from this band, which moved on by being part of a neat split with Moeror and Human Serpent later in the year. I can't wait to see a full length release from them now.

1. Lorna Shore - And I Return to Nothingness...

I never expected that my interest in deathcore would ever be considerably revived, but this EP made too much of an impact to ignore. While being aware of the previous Lorna Shore material, the change to a new singer has brought new light to the band, which could quite frankly reinvent the way the genre is played, especially in the breakdown sections. Epic symphonic parts go along proper doses of heaviness, and the fact that listening to "To the Hellfire" has such a reaction trend, means the band broke through. For better or for worse, this was by far the EP I enjoyed the most this year.