Welcome to instalment number fifteen of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. That means that I’m exactly halfway through this year’s countdown. Thank you so much to you all for reading and commenting on my choices because it gives me the impetus and the hunger to continue with it. I never learn, because the end of the year is always so busy for me with work, family life, preparation for the Holiday season and a million other things. It means that I’m usually found hunched over my laptop into the small hours, ensuring that I can keep up the momentum.
On the flipside, it does give me a really good excuse to come out of ‘reviewer’ mode and just listen to some of the best music of the year, so I can put this series together. In short, for all the work it causes me, don’t expect me to stop any time soon.
If you are familiar with this series, then please forgive the usual reminder to those who are new, to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from 30 down to 17, as well as my lists from previous years too.
On to more important things, my next choice in the list:
Unleash The Archers
Score Of Much Metal: 94%
Unleash the Archers have to be one of the best discoveries that I made during 2020. And I made a fair few, I can tell you. I may have reviewed around 150 albums this year, but I listened to a lot more besides. There’s literally nothing that I don’t like about the music on ‘Abyss’; it is electric and magnetic, meaning that I’m captivated and unable to escape the album’s clutches from the first note to the last.
I have listened frequently to ‘Abyss’ since it became available to reviewers. And, bearing in mind that until I was able to purchase the record, I was left with no other choice but to use a stream, that should tell you how much effort I made to carve out time to listen to it. It is that good.
What’s more, the variety within the record keeps the whole thing sounding fresh. From moments of AOR and melodic hard rock panache, to aggressive, more extreme metal accented by occasional growls, it means that I am still finding new nuances that I like, and subtle embellishments that I never noticed before. Where power metal is concerned, I always worry about the longevity, but that’s not a problem for Unleash The Archers. Getting bored of ‘Abyss’? Not on your life.
A more than worthy addition to this year’s list.
What I wrote at the time:
“These guys, in power metal terms, for that is loosely what they play, are becoming something of a force to be reckoned with it seems. OK, they are not up there with Metallica and Iron Maiden quite yet, but they are gaining traction all over the place. And, based on the output of ‘Abyss’, their fifth full-length release, it is easy to understand why.
… it is impossible to ignore the impressive pipes of vocalist Brittney Slayes… She can belt out the high notes, she can deliver something much lower and sinister, whilst she also possesses real charisma, able to portray a myriad of emotions within her performances. And do I also hear a few growls here and there? Brittney, ladies and gents, is the real deal.
…with track after track delivered with style, panache, variety, confidence and a tightness that is to be commended…trust me when I say that there is almost no filler to be heard within the ten tracks and 58 minutes of music on offer within ‘Abyss’.
Labelled as a power metal band, I must admit to being surprised by the amount of variety to be heard on ‘Abyss’ too. This isn’t all 100 mile per hour galloping, and high-pitched wailing, although there is plenty of this to be heard; there is much more to the band’s bow than this alone.
I don’t really know how else to sum up this record, except to say ‘woah!’ Modern, melodic, heavy, varied, tight, confident, and sublime – ‘Abyss’ has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons and made itself a strong contender for a spot in my end-of-year best-of list.”
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: