Album Of The Year 2021 – Number 5

Welcome to Day 26 of my Album Of The Year 2021 Top 30 Countdown series.

So, here we are. After more than three weeks, I have arrived at the final five – the five best albums of 2021 as far as I’m concerned. Trends and peer pressure be damned, these are the five records that have had the biggest impact upon me during what has easily been one of the most difficult years of my entire life. The fact that I have made it through to the end of the year is down, in part, to the music that I have discovered and listened to over the past 12 months. I went through the doldrums where I didn’t listen to anything new, and precious little music at all for the best part of three months. But the pull of music was ultimately too strong and I was welcomed back into the fold once more.

I doubt that you will all agree with my last five choices, but I’m absolutely certain about them, so I’m sticking with them.

Before I reveal my choice at Number 5, just the usual 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 6, as well as my lists from previous years too, going back to 2012.

Number 5

MØL

“Diorama”

Nuclear Blast

Release Date: 5 November 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 96%

Such is the unfairness of life. Had ‘Diorama’ been released a month or two earlier and I’d had more time to live with it, it’s entirely possible that MØL would have found themselves even higher on this year’s list. As it is, having only seen the light of day at the beginning of November, the Danish quintet will have to make do with fifth spot.

Those that know me, know of my love for melody and so, when melody is combined with some spiky, nasty black metal, it’s like a marriage made in heaven. But the strength of the melodies, and their elegance takes this album to the very next level.

As I said in my review, this is an album that makes me feel happy, and it’s an incredibly uplifting affair. To say that about black metal feels a bit weird, but it’s true. What you get are short, sharp compositions that hit hard, but which also sooth, and provide warmth.

I can’t stop listening to this record and it is top of my Christmas list. With ‘Diorama’, MØL have gone from being an exciting prospect, to quite possibly my favourite blackgaze artist currently plying their trade in the metal world. Simply sensational.

Photo: Cornelius Qvist Edit: Kim S. /@HeartMatter Artworks

What I wrote at the time:

“The very thought of black metal being uplifting and positive is pretty much heresy, certainly if you listen to those that consider themselves to be ‘trve’ black metal fans. And yet, here I am, listening to ‘Diorama’, the second album from Danish band MØL and it’s the most prominent thought in my mind; I’m happy. As I listen, I can hear the black metal elements of the music very clearly, but I’m thinking ‘this is beautiful, melodic, gorgeous music’.

On the one hand, the music on ‘Diorama’ is raw, aggressive, and harsh. On the other, it’s warm, inviting, and so wonderfully life-affirming. Put it all together, and it is the most unlikely of perfect matches.

…my thoughts haven’t changed since my first listen – ‘Diorama’ is utterly stunning, and I’m hooked. I’ve listened to it too many times to mention, but I’m not even close to losing interest in the music. If anything, the eight tracks spread over 48 minutes are nigh-on perfect…

…for the first time in probably six months, I am listening to an album that has the power to transport me to another place – a better place. A place of some sorrow, yes, but also to a place of happiness, of joy, and a sanctuary where, for a short while, I forget everything else. I can close my eyes, clear my mind, and just allow the beauty of this music to fill me with positivity and a strength that I feared had left me forever. This, dear readers, is the power of music. This is why I love music. And this is why, with ‘Diorama’, MØL have without a doubt, created one of the best albums of 2021.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 6

Number 7

Number 8

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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