Welcome to day six in my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown. Thanks for staying with me. It already feels like I’ve been doing this for weeks, but at the same time, it is flying by.
One of the best things about doing this series is that I get a real and genuine excuse to sit back, relax and listen to all those albums that I have loved this year, with the sole purpose of trying to rank them into some kind of order. With so much music to listen to and to review, it can be easy to forget how good some albums really are and very difficult to revisit them as often as I would like. So this is the perfect opportunity for some self-indulgence.
If you’ve missed any of the 2016 series to date, links can be found to all these at the bottom of this post. Additionally, there are links to my 2012-2015 countdowns too, should they be of interest to you.
But now on to the most important part of this post: my choice at Number 25:
All That You Fear Is Gone
“The all-out attack and crunch of the debut is still present but nowhere near as frequently but that’s in keeping with a different overall vibe to this album than the debut. ‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ is more varied and arguably more mature with the quieter passages demonstrating a different facet of what is unquestionably a highly talented team of musicians…On ‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ nothing is apparently off limits and nothing is seemingly beyond the ability of the quintet.
…if you’re willing to persevere and listen to ‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ on its own considerable merits and accept that it has an identity all of its own, the chances are that you too will end up loving it and will willingly take it to your heart.”
If you’d asked me to place a bet at the beginning of the year, I’d have said that the new Headspace album would almost certainly have featured in this 2016 list. The debut album ‘I Am Anonymous’ was so damn good and the clientele within this UK based progressive outfit is so talented that surely this would have been a safe bet for a died-in-the-wool progressive metal fan. And so it has proved.
‘All That You Fear Is Gone’ is a fantastic record, although it took me some time to get to grips with it and appreciate all of its charms. It is a bona-fide grower in every sense of the term. When I listened initially, I wasn’t a fan at all because it didn’t seem to have that crunch and power of the debut; it felt like it meandered along without much purpose. How wrong could I be though because with time and effort, it has blossomed into a thoroughly excellent, utterly absorbing listen, full of subtle and clever nuances that aren’t obvious at the beginning.
The key is to not compare it to the debut because stylistically, it is quite different. But the musicianship, the professionalism and the attention to detail ids quite incredible, arguably even more honed and assured. As I sit here now, listening to it for the umpteenth time, I am actually wondering whether this album should be featuring higher in my list, because the longer I have it and the more I listen, the more I fall for its unconventional charms. This isn’t as heavy as the debut, but it is as engrossing and commanding without a doubt. I still don’t like ‘Polluted Alcohol’ though!
In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:
And from previous years: