Welcome to instalment number fourteen of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’.

I really hope you are enjoying my series – I’m blown away by the interest, the comments, and the likes that I have received so far, with very few people telling me that I’m an idiot and that I have got my choices all wrong. I’m not yet halfway, so there’s still plenty of time mind you. In the meantime, I’ll just bask in the glory of minimal negativity.

If you happen to be new to the series, please allow me to issue the usual reminder to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from 30 down to 19, as well as my lists from previous years too.

But that’s it – let’s get on with the show…

Number 17

Psychotic Waltz

The God-Shaped Void

InsideOut Music

Score Of Much Metal: 95%

If you’d told me 13 months ago, that this band would find its way into my top 30 for 2020, I’d have laughed in your face. Standing in the crowd for Psychotic Waltz’s performance at ProgPower Europe 2019, I was not impressed, as you’ll know if you read my review of the festival. Poor individual performances, sound problems, and technical issues – it was a bit of a mess, and I could only last a few songs. Not a great first impression, given that somehow Psychotic Waltz had, until then, eluded my radar.

Nevertheless, when I was presented with the promo for ‘The God-Shaped Void’, I felt somehow compelled to dive in and take a listen. Surely a band like this, with the talent they have and the cult fanbase that they enjoy, cannot be as bad as I was led to believe the year before? As it turns out, no, they’re an excellent band and, frankly, this latest release blew me away.

Big riffs, melodies, bold, moody atmospheres, understated complexity; it’s all here. Not to mention a compelling performance with voice and flute from Devon Graves. And the more I listen, the more I like the music on this album, to the point where I’m just about floored. I have listened to this record nearly as much as any other in 2020, as much now as I did around the time when I was gearing up to write my review. I don’t get bored of it in the slightest; it is as strong and fresh now as it was back in February.

This could be the biggest ‘oops’ moment of my musical life – but better late than never, eh?  

Psychotic Waltz 04.10.2019 Session Bochum – Matrixn, Germany

What I  wrote at the time:

“The first impression I have is that ‘The God-Shaped Void’ is much more melodic and majestic than I was led to believe from what I’d heard at ProgPower. ‘Moodier’ is another adjective I’d throw into the mix. It is also, dare I say it, less overtly progressive than I was expecting. There is no disputing the ‘prog’ tag, but I was anticipating the music to be just a little faster and demonstrably complex if I’m honest. 

However, the fact remains that I have put off this review for a good while now because I want to have an excuse to listen to it just a little bit more. And I’d not do that if it was an album that I didn’t fundamentally like. Or, in this case, an album that I like a lot more with each passing listen. For it is not until you allow the music to really get under the skin that you notice everything that’s going on here.

I’m struggling to name any track out of the ten on ‘The God-Shaped Void’ that isn’t up to scratch here.

An album of this quality leads me to a specific and important train of thought: what the hell have I been doing all these years to have missed a band of this quality? ‘The God-Shaped Void’ is an intelligent, brilliantly executed slab of heavy progressive metal which, if I can ever stop playing it, will be the catalyst to check out the entire back catalogue.

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

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

If you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here: