Album Of The Year 2021 – Number 8

Welcome to instalment number twenty-three of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. As time gets ever tighter leading up to Christmas, and I realise that I’m nowhere near finished with my present buying, I’m ditching the big intro today again – not that anyone reads them anyway I suspect!

That is, apart from my normal, shameless, reminder to anyone new to this series, to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from 30 down to 9, as well as my lists from previous years too.

With that, let’s reveal the next killer album of 2021…

Number 8

Seven Spires

“Gods Of Debauchery”

Frontiers Records

Release Date: 10 September 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 95%

This has to be one of the biggest surprises for me in 2021. I returned from a self-imposed three-month exile due to a broken heart amongst other things at the beginning of October, and set about filling in the gaps in my reviews schedule. After all, music is the healer of all things, isn’t it?!

I’d heard the odd comment about Seven Spires and so I decided to delve in. I was not expecting to hear what I did and I certainly wasn’t expecting to be blown away in the manner that I was. ‘Gods Of Debauchery’ was nothing like what I was expecting, but in all the right ways. Nearly two months late with the review, I still knew that I had to put pen to paper and shine the manofmuchmetal.com spotlight on such a fantastic album.

Long, intricate, technical, and multi-layered, ‘Gods Of Debauchery’ could have been a self-indulgent, unfocussed mess. Instead, it is a glorious testament to the fact that, when done correctly, more can actually mean more.

Blending a plethora of different styles, what is arguably a symphonic metal album at heart becomes an extreme metal affair, a melodic affair, a progressive affair, and an utter delight from start to finish. It’s so heavy, grandiose, and complex, but it’s also damn catchy. As is my way, I’m listening to the record as I type this post and once again, the goosebumps return on a number of occasions. The magic hasn’t dimmed and so ‘Gods Of Debauchery’ is a no-brainer for the Top 10 this year. So good.

What I wrote at the time:

“Yes, yes, and thrice yes. I always love it when I make a new musical discovery, one that gives me goosebumps, makes me smile, and gives me that feeling that I simply need to carve out time in my day to listen to it. And that’s what I get here with ‘Gods Of Debauchery’, the third album from Seven Spires.

It is incredibly difficult to easily pigeonhole Seven Spires, but that’s only a problem for us reviewers, as it makes us have to work harder for our craft. For the listener in me, it’s a sheer delight. Loosely, and lazily, I guess you could refer to the band as symphonic metal, but really and truly, there is so much more to their sound than that. Throw in some power metal, prog, extreme metal in the shape of both death and black metal influences, classical, and melodic metal, and you’re getting a flavour of what you can expect.

Yes there is technicality to be head, from insanely complex drumming, to eye-watering lead guitar solos, and from killer vocals both clean and gruff, to inspired, dancing bass work. But the melodies are sublime, and the song structures always come first ahead of showmanship, offering dynamism, energy, and a great flow throughout. 

I’m not sure there is much left to say. ‘Gods Of Debauchery’ is a very special album indeed. I can even forgive its length, such is its hold over me. I cannot believe I have never experienced Seven Spires before…

…This is a stunning record, full of variety, technicality and sophistication, one that grabs you and never lets go. “

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 9

Number 10

Number 11

Number 12

Number 13

Number 14

Number 15

Number 16

Number 17

Number 18

Number 19

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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