Album Of The Year 2021 – Number 24

Welcome to Day 7 of my ‘Album Of The Year 2021 Top 30 countdown’. I’m glad you’re still with me, as we reach the end of the first week. I’m really enjoying myself and I sincerely hope that this is coming across in this series – after all, it’s supposed to be a bit of fun. Therefore, wherever your favourite release features (or not), please stick with me and enjoy the ride…maybe you might discover something that you missed first time round.

Just a quick reminder that you can find links to the previous posts in this series, plus links to the lists from previous years, all the way back to 2012, at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

Number 24

Night Crowned

“Hädanfärd”

Noble Demon

Release Date: 9 July 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 93%

Hädanfärd might not quite as high in my list this year as their debut was in 2020, but that’s down to two factors. Their debut, ‘Impius Viam’ literally came out of nowhere and it floored me. Secondly, I think that 2021 might be an even stronger year for metal in general. With the pandemic speeding up the writing and recording cycle thanks to no touring, 2021 has seen a glut of releases from across the spectrum, from the big hitters, to the surprise new packages.

Believe me when I say, however, that Night Crowned have carried on from where they began with their debut and in ‘Hädanfärd’, have released another blistering slab of melodic blackened death metal.

And, actually, as I type and listen to this record yet again, I wonder if I should be placing this album even higher in the rankings. I know that the places 30-16 are more arbitrary than the top 15, but even so, the quality on offer is undeniable, the enjoyment levels very high, and it just feels like ‘Hädanfärd’ should be higher. But these are the tough choices that I have to make unfortunately.

What I wrote at the time:

“Right out of the gate, ‘Hädanfärd’ feels more extreme than its predecessor. It is a more condensed affair, being comprised of just nine tracks and with a run-time just shy of the 45-minute mark. But whilst the debut was no happy and jolly affair, ‘Hädanfärd’ ups the ante even further, with a greater emphasis on the black metal aspect of the band’s sound. If, like me, you enjoyed the more melodious side of Night Crowned’s sound, fear not though because this element has not been lost entirely. It is slightly more refined and occasionally more well-hidden in the compositions, but it is there and comes more to the fore as you rack up the listens.

Clearly, Night Crowned have benefitted from keeping a stable line-up, as the output on this sophomore release so ably demonstrates. Whether it was a result of the pandemic, or other influences, the Swedes appear angrier, more evil, and more determined to wreak havoc on anyone who cares to listen. But it is tempered by some sophisticated and clever songwriting, alongside enough melody to ensure that you are pulled back for repeated listens.

With such a strong debut under their belts and with such a quick turnaround, I had my doubts that ‘Hädanfärd’ would live up to my expectations. Well, I shouldn’t have been so doubtful, because ‘Hädanfärd’ is every bit as impressive as the debut. Angrier, spikier, more malevolent, but still rather magnificent.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 25

Number 26

Number 27

Number 28

Number 29

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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