by Nikita Alekseyevich Khrenov
Absolutely sucked, no mistake about it. Going into this year I thought this list would be a cakewalk but as I started to revisit some of the records from the previous weeks, I was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of quality music that was churned out. That being said, here are my top records from this year, not necessarily in any particular order:
Sweven – The Eternal Resonance
Svalbard – When I Die, Will It Get Better?
Feminazgul – No Dawn for Men
Clown Core – Van
An Autumn for Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Albums of the Year 2020
10. Carnation – Where Death Lies
Carnation came on my radar as an impulse buy at Newbury Comics back in 2018 and it was possibly one of the best purchases I ever made. With this record they got tighter and more savage than was thought possible. Visceral compositions slam the listener right in the chest from the start until all breath is knocked out of the lungs, and you press play again.
9. Cryptodira – The Angel of History
Hot damn can these boys’ shred. Such an interesting amalgamation of prog, hardcore, sludge, post rock, and death metal stirred together to create a stew of mind-blowing proportions. Every listen brought on a new discovery and it could very well take until next December to experience this album fully.
8. Static-X – Project Regeneration Vol. I
The task of working through material left behind by a fallen friend is a tricky undertaking, but this album proves that the original members of Static-X had a bond like no other. Project Regeneration feels like a long-lost successor to Wisconsin Death Trip and although no one will ever be able to truly replace Wayne, Xer0’s voice fits neatly into the songs that it takes the untrained ear an extra second to tell the difference.
7. Unleash the Archers – Abyss
Wow wow wow, this band just set the new high standard for metal songwriting. One listen and you’re automatically hooked, just tight all across the board. The melodies are just perfect, the production feels huge, but everything is placed perfectly where it needs to be. Without a doubt an astounding record.
6. Lör – Edge of Eternity
You know what, I don’t need Wintersun anymore. Seriously, this band is that good. Between the superb orchestrations and masterful crafting of their songs, I’ll never need to listen to Jari’s band again. This concise EP is a perfect jaunt into a fantastical realm and coupled with their cover of Blind Guardian’s “Another Holy War,” Lör proves they’re a reckoning in metal.
5. Knight of the Round – Seven
Nobuo Uematsu is a master composer. The man has shaped many lives with his immense catalog of music, with some of the most iconic songs ever written. Knight of the Round manage to take his compositions and keep true to their original forms while also bringing them into the eclectic world of heavy metal. They didn’t just stop at covering songs though, they managed to craft the perfect track list to be able to effectively tell the story of Final Fantasy VII, and that level of attention to detail can only come from a deep love and respect for the art.
4. Fires in the Distance – Echoes from Deep November
You know you play in a band with some guys for almost two years and you think you know them pretty well, then out of nowhere they drop a massive bombshell of a record on you. Echoes from Deep November is what happens when you transplant a band that lived in Scandinavia for decades right into New England. Emotional leads and a booming rhythm section topped off with a ferocious roaring voice at the forefront, you have a recipe for the next big thing in melodic metal.
3. Katatonia – City Burials
As the old saying goes: “some things age like fine wine,”. Well Katatonia started out as a fine wine and aged into ambrosia. City Burials is such a deep and complex record, so many moving parts come together in such a way that you can’t possibly dissect it all in once listen. If this is what comes of taking a break for this group, let them take all the time they need for the next album.
2. Desired – Best Before 1998
Your feet won’t stop moving. Drenched in 80’s retro bliss, Desired takes all the trappings of future funk and cranks the quality to 11. Heart pumping beats, soaring melodies, sultry vocals, all come together to create what I believe to be the ultimate archetype of what this genre should be.
1. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville
How do you follow-up such a dark and depraved album as Vile Luxury? Well Alphaville is the answer. The perfect soundtrack to the Higher City from Metropolis, the band retains their avant-garde jazz infused black metal core but brightens up the formula with more approachable song structures and brighter passages. Don’t let that fool you, this album is still a malicious hungry beast ready to devour the listener at any moment.
Were any of these albums on your personal Best-Of-2020 list? Leave a comment!
Stock thumbnail photo from Pexels.