Album Of The Year 2021 – Number 29

It’s day two of my annual Album Of The Year 2021 Top 30 Countdown, otherwise known as “that annoying series that I subject you all to every year”! I’d apologise, but I’m not sorry. I actually really enjoy doing these series as it gives me the justification to indulge myself in the music that made the biggest impact on me throughout the year.

Hopefully as I go through the countdown day-by-day, I will deliver something you agree with, something you missed at the time, or I finally convince you check out something that you may not otherwise have tried.

As always, a quick reminder that numbers 30-16 are only numbered for the purposes of the countdown – they are not listed in any particular order as they deserve a place somewhere on the list.

If you missed my countdowns for previous years or my previous picks this year, links can be found at the bottom of this post, including my ‘honourable mentions’ post that kicked off this year’s list.

And now, here’s my pick for day two…

Number 29

Acolyte

“Entropy”

Blood Blast Music

Release date: 14 May 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 93%

It is always nice to see a new name crop up in my end-of-year ‘best of’ list and so I am really pleased that this one made the final cut. Having never heard of Acolyte before, I was incredibly impressed by this, the Australian quintet’s sophomore full-length release.

At the time of reviewing it, it created a massive headache because I found it so hard to describe. However, as with every double-edged sword, there is a benefit to offset the negative. And that benefit is way more important than a reviewer finding it difficult; in this case, the positive is that Acolyte have put together an album bursting with sophisticated and intriguing music, full of atmosphere and strong dynamics. There’s everything from heavy explosions of sound right through to hushed and gentle minimalist textures.

Loosely, you could refer to ‘Entropy’ as an alternative, progressive rock/metal album, but that’s a rather gross oversimplification. Instead, I urge you to take a listen and make up your own mind – only then will you understand just how good a record Acolyte have produced here.

What I wrote at the time:

“…listening to ‘Entropy’ is no laugh-a-minute’ experience. It’s not a light-hearted romp that provides an instant hit of saccharine enjoyment. But it is a thoroughly engaging and immersive album that puts human emotion, atmosphere, and depth of sound at the heart of the music. It isn’t just the concept and the associated lyrics that ebb and flow, the music does too. 

...texture is an important ingredient of Acolyte full stop, as well as a very clever and masterful blend of old and new, taking modern heavy music ingredients and blending them with more ‘classic’ sounds. Press releases and commentary in the press leading up to this release recommend ‘Entropy’ to the likes of Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Rush, Voyager, and whole host of others besides. But the one band I rarely hear mentioned is Riverside, who I think occasionally loom quite large within the Acolyte sound.

Great performances litter this album, from start to finish. Great songs lurk around every corner. Strong melodic sensibilities are never far away. Passion, authenticity, and belief courses through the material, telling me that Acolyte are a band that are completely and utterly invested in the music that they have created here.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 30

‘Honourable Mentions’

Also, if you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here:

2020

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

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