EPs, Extended Plays, Mini-Albums. A lot of times these can be throwaway tracks, b-sides, rarities, rereleases, etc. Every so often though, EPs can be as fully realized as a full length album. However an EP is conceived, it doesn't matter as long as the end result means great tunes in a bite sized package.
As always, each image of the album art is clickable and will take you to the Bandcamp page. Show these bands some love and throw them a few bucks if you dig it. On to the list!
10. Arch Echo - Story I
Arch Echo are a instrumental prog rock band out of Nashville Tennessee. I dug their 2017 self titled album (no self titled song is bs) and the 2019 follow up, You Won't Believe What Happens Next.
I don't know what the hell story is for Story I, but I look forward to whatever Story II ends up being.
9. Protest the Hero - Fabula & Syuzhet
Canada's Protest the Hero released a fantastic album this year. They had a couple B-sides that didn't make it onto the album.
The two songs on here don't seem to be fully mixed / mastered but they still sound fine. The fact that these two B-sides are this good is a testament to how good the album is.
Spoiler Alert: Their album made my top 100 list!
8. Nader Sadek - The Serapeum
Nader Sadek is an Egyptian-American death metal artist that has collaborated with the best names in Death Metal. This time around, he collaborated with Karl Sanders from Nile and it shows as it heavily sounds like this came straight off of a Nile album.
He was also able to sneak some audio equipment into the pyramid of Snefru to record vocals for one of the songs. Metal AF!
7. Waveshaper - The Disk Hunter
Swedish synthwave producer, Waveshaper, releases another solid set of retro tunes. The album art gives the impression of both a dystopian future mixed in with nostalgia from the past.
The synthwave scene is somewhat saturated, but Waveshaper continues to be one of the standouts.
6. Frogg - A Reptilian Dystopia
An intense 20 minutes of blistering technical death metal from New York.
WTF dude, frogs are amphibians, not reptiles.
5. Inferi - Of Sunless Realms
Another technical death metal band, Inferi hails from Nashville, Tennessee.
This one beats out Frogg based on the artwork alone. Look at that artwork by Helge C. Balzer, holy hell!
I've looked at some of Helge's other work and it is just as stunning as this piece.
4. Der Weg einer Freiheit - Covid-19 Sessions
Der Weg einer Freiheit is a German extreme metal band. This is their live performance that they recorded for Metal Injection's Slay at Home festival.
The goal of the virtual livestream was to help raise funds for the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund helping artists and crew during these tough financial times.
3. Zeal & Ardor - Wake of a Nation
The inception of Zeal & Ardor is somewhat absurd, but the end result is a strange but fantastic blend of black metal and blues.
An EP born from the tragic death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement that soon followed, this is an incredible EP that has some extra weight behind it.
With each release, Zeal & Ardor gets better at blending the two seemingly opposite genres, and this is no exception.
2. Gnarbot - Meinl Sessions Vol. 1
Progressive jazz fusion out of Philadelphia. The EP was recorded live in studio, and it shows. Jazz seems to really benefit when played together as a band, and becomes a bit sterile when it's recorded.
I don't know much about this release or this band, other than it kicks some serious ass.
1. Carcass - Despicable
Carcass was going to release a new album this year, but delayed it due to the pandemic. To tide everyone over, they released an EP of some of the songs that didn't make the cut.
Holy hell, if these are the songs that didn't make it onto the album, then the new album is likely going to be one of the best albums of 2021!