GUEST POST: Shield of Wings Shares Their Top Albums of 2021

Ghost Cult continues our “2021 End of Year Guest Post Extravaganza” with a slew of posts from bands, industry, PR pros, and more! We’ll be sharing lists, memories, and other shenanigans from our favorite bands, partners, music industry peers, and other folks we respect across the globe. In this edition Shield of Wings shares their Top Albums of 2021 list with us! Their new album Unfinished releases on February 11th, 2022 and you can hear new tracks, a watch a video, and pre-order the album here:

We in the Symphonic Metal band Shield Of Wings do not claim to be music journalists! But the year preceding our album launch has proven to be one full of spectacular and creative albums, and we felt like sharing our favorites. Read on to discover each band member’s pick of the year, and a few words from them on why it made such an impact on them!


ALEX’S PICK (Bassist)

Scale the Summit – Subjects

This year I really enjoyed Scale the Summit’s newest album, Subjects. I’ve been a fan of their work for a long time – In my mind they’re in the top tier of the prog/djent scene along with bands like Periphery, Animals as Leaders, and Tesseract. Scale the Summit’s earlier albums have all been purely instrumental, so the inclusion of vocals here makes this album feel refreshingly new. Each song is sung by a different guest vocalist, and the fact that the album still has a unified sound is a testament to the songwriting.

The album’s production is also a strong point: the mix is tight and transparent. As a bassist I appreciate being able to hear the nuances of Killian Duarte’s bass playing, which could easily be obliterated with a wall of guitars and distortion in a modern metal mix.

This album has great grooves, catchy melodies, soaring lead lines. Highly recommended for fans of melodic metal, prog, and/or djent music.


ALIYAH’S PICK (Keyboards/Support Vocals)

Seven Spires – Gods of Debauchery

A bold exploration of all things epic, this work of Seven Spires has been a repeat listen for me since it came out in September. Bombastically serenading us through a harrowing journey to the ends of the earth and back, it is one of the few albums I bought in physical format this year and definitely my most listened to. It’s truly epic. As a long-time fan of Symphonic Metal in all its iterations, I hear traces of Dimmu Borgir, Kamelot, and Dark Passion Play-era Nightwish, all wrapped up tightly with expert musicianship from everyone in the band. Adrienne Cowan’s vocal performance in particular is incredibly inspiring, playing through all styles from black and death growls, power cleans, classical and folk.



Outrun The Sunlight – A Vast Field of Silence

From high energy to smooth, relaxing, and atmospheric this album is on my repeat playlist. At times reminding me of Plini and Scale the Summit, Outrun the Sunlight takes you through instrumental ostinatos that build on each other as layers are added to the song landscape. This album is quite interesting as some musical phrases repeat throughout its entirety. One will find some tasty hi-hat work as the CD comes to a close with solid musical performances throughout. Would recommend a listen.


LARA’S PICK (Lead Vocals)

Empyrium – Über den Sternen

I was eagerly awaiting this comeback, and it more than exceeded my expectations. Per usual with Empyriu’s material, the lyrical content is very beautiful and speaks to me deeply. The vocals are lush and emotive, as well as the buttery guitar work and orchestral passages. This album is beguiling, dynamic, and perfect for a sorrowful summer’s eve. What more could one ask for?

Favorite tracks: The Oaken Throne, Moonrise, The Wild Swans


JAMES’ PICK (Composer, Guitars/Orchestrations)

Be’lakor Coherence

While I’ve listened to a number of albums that are “new to me” this year, I’ve listened to less than five that were released this year. What can I say – it’s been a busy year getting our own album together! Since Lara already chose Empyrium’s “Über den Sternen”, I will go with my runner up –Be’lakor’s “Coherence”. Perhaps not objectively “album of the year” but this one hit me rather hard. Though, staying roughly in the lane of melodic death metal, there were some unpredictable parts in the songs that induced the desire for an immediate relisten. Top song – “Foothold” and a gold star for the album’s outro riff.

Album honorable mention: Duskmourn – Fallen Kings and Rusted Crowns