Album Of The Year 2021 – Number 19

Welcome to Day 11 of my Album Of The Year 2021 Top 30 Countdown.

I have nothing clever or witty to say today, except I hope you like my choice today.

And if, after reading, you want to check out my other picks so far this year, you’ll find all the links you need at the bottom of this post – each pick offers a quote or two from the full review I published, a link to it if you’re so inclined, a comment about why I believe it deserves its place in the list, artwork, photos, and an embedded track, different wherever possible from the track used in the review – this isn’t just a quick, cursory ‘top 30’ series, I want it to be entertaining and valuable. Fingers crossed that I achieve this ambition.

And there’s only one way to find out: read on, dear friends, acquaintances, and fellow lovers of loud, heavy music…

Number 19

Iotunn

“Access All Worlds”

Metal Blade Records

Release Date: 26 February 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 94%

It is rare that a debut release will come out of nowhere and blow me away. So I have to doff my cap to Iotunn as that’s exactly what this brand new quintet managed with ‘Access All Worlds’ back towards the beginning of 2021. And to think that if it hadn’t been for a nudge or two by some trusted voices, I may have missed it altogether. So if you’re still unfamiliar with this Danish outfit, don’t delay, check out this remarkable debut.

The breadth of ideas and sounds is staggering at times, creating a truly rich soundscape within which to escape. It can be a little daunting, but if you give it some love and attention, you’ll soon discover that it’s heavy, it’s intelligent, it’s complex, it’s memorable, and it’s inviting. It’s also a little addictive, as I have found out over the course of the year, gravitating back to it, as I have, at regular intervals.

The addictiveness comes from the abundance of melody found within each of the songs on ‘Access All Worlds’, some of which are an instant saccharine hit, others take a little more time to worm their way into your brain. Either way, it means that Iotunn have been able to grab and then maintain my attention since the end of February. And as I listen again whilst putting together this post, I’m reminded in glorious fashion just why I love this album and why it deserves its spot in this year’s ‘best of’ list. I can’t wait to hear album number two now…although it will have some big shoes to fill.

What I wrote at the time:

“This has a little of everything that I like in my heavy metal diet these days. Brutal death metal, progressive constructs, epic ambition, a cosmic-inspired grandiosity, and tons of melody. So much melody. At times, it is such a beautiful listening experience that you momentarily forget just how heavy this album actually is, and how proggy some parts are. It’s as if Iotunn have found a perfect blend of all these elements. The extreme metal head will find enough brutality to enjoy, the lover of technicality will be able to geek out at the complexity, and everyone else will get sucked into the majesty of the hooks and the melodies that bathe this music in their warm embrace.

Normally, I will comment a little negatively about an album that extends beyond an hour in length. However, on this occasion, the seven songs that hit the 61-minute mark are fully deserving of their length. I’m hard-pressed to identify any extraneous fat that would require extraction, with each track bringing something fantastic to the listener…

I cannot believe that I nearly let this superb album slip through my fingers. With ‘Access All Worlds’, Iotunn provide me with a little bit of everything that I love about heavy music. It is technical, complex, atmospheric, engaging, melodic, and, frankly, magnificent. There’s nothing else I feel the need to say, except buy it, listen to it, love it.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 20

Number 21

Number 22

Number 23

Number 24

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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