Welcome to day three of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. No big intro from me today, except to remind you that my picks between 30 and 16 are in no particular order, and that this series seeks to shine the spotlight on my favourite albums that this otherwise awful year has produced. My 30 rays of sunshine (or misery, anger, and aggression) that have kept me going for the past 12 months or so.
Metal Blade Records
Score Of Much Metal: 93%
Today’s pick may be a bit of a surprise for some, but I have had a soft spot for God Dethroned for many years. And, with ‘Illuminati’, the have finally delivered a consistent, high quality album from start to finish. When this band are on form, they are devastating, and ‘Illuminati’ doesn’t waste any of its 36 minutes whatsoever. From beginning to end, we get what God Dethroned are best at, namely savage and brutal blackened death metal, but with a ludicrous amount of anthemic melody, and hooks so barbed that there’s no way they’re getting dislodged from your brain without causing maximum damage.
What I love about this band is that they have stuck faithfully to their chosen formula, stubbornly refusing to change their direction or approach. God Dethroned have been around for nearly three decades and ‘Illuminati’ is the proof that whilst they may have lost a few members along the way, they have never lost their hunger and desire to create music.
I have always wanted to put God Dethroned into one of these end-of-year lists and now, thanks to the devastating quality of ‘Illuminati’, they have well and truly earned their spot. That makes me very happy indeed.
What I wrote at the time:
“…I get the feeling that this is arguably the most consistent studio effort the quartet have ever released… I never once itch to press the ‘skip’ button and before I know it, the album is finished. And crucially, the more I listen, the more I am tempted to simply start all over again without a pause for breath.
It all starts with the title track, ‘Illuminati’…The guitar tones are crushing and full of weight. The rhythm section backs it up beautifully sounding equally strong and heavy. As the track develops, the pace quickens to a point where we are treated to the ubiquitous blastbeats, staccato riffs and sinister atmosphere that give God Dethroned their ‘blackened’ tag. But as we’ve all come to expect, the song is chock full of melody and subtle hooks that work their charm with repeated listens.
Because of its consistency, power and immediacy, ‘Illuminati’ has to be the best album of God Dethroned’s long and illustrious career. It is certainly my personal favourite as it delivers on just about every level and I never tire of its majestic and melodic savagery.
Read the full review here.
The list this year so far…
If you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here: