Welcome to Day 11 of my Album of the Year 2021 Top 30 Countdown, the day where we break into the top 20 for the first time. It starts to get a bit more serious now, and I can feel the tension emanating from all the bands yet to be featured – I know they all tune in avidly every year – after all, is there a more prestigious accolade in the world of metal than this? OK, apart from the Grammys…& the Classic Rock Prog awards…& just about every other award for that matter…OK, so the tension is all mine, but at least I’m excited!

Anyhow, if you felt so inclined, feel free to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from 30 down to 21, the ‘honourable mentions’ of 2021, as well as my lists from previous years too. I hope you enjoy the experience.

And now, onwards into the top 20…

Number 20

Cradle Of Filth

“Existence Is Futile”

Nuclear Blast

Release Date: 22 October 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 94%

Over the last few years, Cradle Of Filth have been experiencing something of a renaissance, releasing a string of albums that have significantly upped the quality that was presented to us during the first decade or so of the 2000s. The latest is the positively titled ‘Existence Is Futile’. A few months ago, I fully agreed with this sentiment. However, perhaps ironically, it was albums like this one that proved to me that this sentiment might be entirely wrong.

It also helps that the music created within ‘Existence Is Futile’ is arguably the Suffolk-based Gothic extreme metal band’s best of the lot, certainly their best since ‘Midian’, possibly since ‘Cruelty And The Beast’ from the last Millennium.

What I love about this album in particular, is the way that they have gone back to what they do best, and that’s to create heavy and abrasive music, laced with over-the-top bombast and pomp, strong theatrics, and a bold nod to classic metal and NWOBHM too. The result is a record that’s aggressive yet catchy, multi-layered yet instantly memorable. It’s a powerful concoction, but one that can be rather irresistible when done properly. Moreover, it reminds me of why Cradle Of Filth used to be my favourite band as a teenager, and that kind of reminder is priceless.

What I wrote at the time:

“…album number thirteen, ‘Existence Is Futile’ is another cracking release, and one that makes it all the more difficult for the haters to maintain their stance. 

…having given this record that extra time, I do not think any less of it, and I’m still spinning it regularly, enjoying the majority of what it has to deliver. It isn’t perfect and it doesn’t quite dethrone ‘Dusk…’ or ‘Cruelty…’, but by heavens is it a great album.

If you’re looking for something a little more extreme, then tracks like ‘Crawling King Chaos’ should quench your thirst…Cradle Of Filth have always been very adept at penning some glorious slower, more melodic pieces over their lengthening career, and this record is no different. The superbly-titled ‘Discourse Between A Man And His Soul’ is both elegant and catchy as hell, blessed with beautiful twin guitar work and rich synths, as well as maudlin tinkling piano notes. 

For much of 2021, I have shared the sentiment of the album’s title, feeling that life indeed can be extremely futile. Thankfully, I have worked hard to change my mindset, and my efforts have been assisted by the music that I love and cherish. As it turns out, Cradle Of Filth are one of those bands that I still cherish, especially when they are in such glorious form. No longer do I think that my existence is futile – how could I with music like this to listen to? The band may proclaim that ‘Existence Is Futile’ but somewhat ironically, this album has helped prove to many of us that this is very much not the case at all.

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

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:










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