2020: Jan-Jun


If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I'm not broke yet.

Created by: musclassia | 16.01.2020



1. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Ascension
2020 [8.8] - Another storming display of atmospheric blackened sludge, with infernal production, thunderous percussion and ripping riffs. The Crowning and the final track are the highlights of an excellent collection of music.
2. Skyforest - A New Dawn
2020 [8.7] - Symphonic melodic black with stirring strings, the whole thing is imbued with so much emotional heft in every moment. It takes a bit of time to fully build up momentum (the opening track is somewhat unassuming), but the likes of Heart Of The Forest are quite delightful. It's nothing particularly new, it just pulls off that epic melodic atmos-black sound better than the legion of other bands that do very similar stuff.
3. Pure Reason Revolution - Eupnea
2020 [8.7] - A consummate return to music, and particularly to the prog of their masterpiece debut The Dark Third, with the mellow prog preferred over the electronic alt rock of their subsequent efforts. The long songs act as excellent demonstrations of their outstanding songwriting, but the material here is strong throughout.
4. Lotus Thief - Oresteia
2020 [8.5] - Drenched in atmosphere, this lurks on the edges of an explosion for long stretches, with its imploring vocals and ominous guitars, but is generally quite reserved in its approach, an exquisite blend of post-rock, alt, and hints of extreme metal.
5. Elder - Omens
2020 [8.5] - On the one hand, some of the vocal parts are a bit iffy, and some of the rockier bits occasionally fall a bit flat. On the other hand, they deliver an array of incredibly pleasing lush melodic sections that more than make up for it. Not at the level of Lore or Reflections..., or a worthy listen in its own right. Halcyon is an excellent song.
6. Intronaut - Fluid Existential Inversions
2020 [8.4] - Some more quality prog/sludge/post-metal, with the band showing no signs of going wayward despite the loss of their drummer.
7. Katie Gately - Loom
2020 [8.3] - A tribute to her late mother, Katie Gately channels a bit of Kate Bush in this dark, at times almost industrial art pop venture, with Waltz and Bracer particular highlights. The vocal layering, use of various sound effects (whether instruments or mechanical) and songwriting maturity, particularly on Bracer, are enthralling.
8. Psychonaut - Unfold The God Man
2020 [8.3] - Sprawling, psychedelic post-metal with a very distinctive sound, and meshing of various vocal and instrumental approaches. Brings measured bouts of intensity, but is more of an atmospheric, twisting experience.
9. Earth Rot - Black Tides Of Obscurity
2020 [8.3] - An absolute riff onslaught; these songs are packed with a whole range of ideas in the black/death metal spectrum, all of which are delivered with high quality (although the curveball clean riff midway through The Cape Of Storms didn't quite do it for me).
10. Tombs - Monarchy Of Shadows
2020 [8.2] - A new line-up and a new lust for life for this US black metal band, with some death metal influences bleeding in (unsurprising given 3/4 of the band is also in a death metal band); the first two tracks and The Dark Rift in particular rip.
11. Sylosis - Cycle Of Suffering
2020 [8.2] - Feel like this score could go up or down quite a bit, but more likely down a tad. My favourite band, coming back after a hiatus, I'm glad just to hear anything from them, but I do have to concede that a lot of the material here doesn't like up to the legacy of Monolith and Edge Of The Earth. Early standouts are Idle Hands and Apex Of Disdain, but considering those would go down as solid album tracks on the aforementioned albums, that's a bit troubling.
12. Dukatalon - Involuntary Action
2020 [8.2] - Some slicky, groovy sludge with plenty of thunderous low-end and not quite the swagger of Hollow Leg, but very accessible, and with some tasteful melodic guitar work alongside the power of the riffs, which are replete with sick hooks.
13. Thy Catafalque - Naiv
2020 [8.2] - The most I've enjoyed an album by this project since Rengeteg, it's huge fun and possesses a lot of the 'accessible oddball' charm of that particular record.
14. Stoned God - Incorporeal
2020 [8.2] - Highly enjoyable prog-death, with effective clean vocals, and technical instrumental work without feeling like a tech-death record; I get vibes closer to Devin at times than I do Necrophagist.
15. Garganjua - Toward The Sun
2020 [8.2] - An interesting post-/doom fusion, the heavy parts are backed up with impressive sound, whilst the lighter moments are quite airy. The clean vocals work nicely in conjunction with the instrumentals, whilst the growls have depth. It has an impressive degree of variation in its approach, with Light Bearer the song that was most up my street.
16. Vredehammer - Viperous
2020 [8.1] - Ripping blackened death with good use of electronics.
17. Sweven - The Eternal Resonance
2020 [8.1] - A musical return from the frontman of Morbus Chron, this is more classically OSDM to my ears than the album that inspired this project's name, but still has proggy elements, with some softer sections, keyboard flourishes, and twisting songwriting.
18. The Heliocentrics - Infinity Of Now
2020 [8.1] - A compelling combination of psychedelic rock, krautrock, jazz, funk and more into a vibrant, eclectic and ever-mobile sound; whilst the spastic saxophone on Elephant Walk wasn't to my liking, the stirring climax of lengthy closer People Wake Up! makes for a memorable end to the record.
19. Fluisteraars - Bloem
2020 [8.1] - Didn't grab my attention early on too much with the slightly off-kilter blackgaze sound, but it became increasingly charming as the song and album went on. Offers some pretty uplifting melody, increasingly so as the album goes on.
20. Dola - Dola
2020 [8.1] - An impressive album that manages to be varied and draw on a range of inspirations without sounding eclectic. At it's core it's a blackened doom album, but the post-rock elements in Wyusc Nas, the sludgy grooves in Tam Mnie Nie Unijesz and other elements distinguish it from similar bands.
21. Yuri Gagarin - The Outskirts Of Reality
2020 [8.1] - A band that managed to rack up quite a lot of plays on one of their previous albums by it being reliably recommended by YouTube when listening to anything post- related, this is a solid follow-up by a band with the skills to generally merit that kind of exposure.
22. Aiming For Enrike - Music For Working Out
2020 [8.1] - I'm not familiar with 'dance punk', but if it's like this album then it sounds like a lot of fun, as this is a highly entertaining little effort, full of energy, vibrancy, and with plenty of hooks.
23. Dzö-nga - Thunder In The Mountains
2020 [8.1] - This year's Saor - Forgotten Paths, some very pleasant folk/meloblack with gentle acoustic guitars, dainty strings and wind instruments, and epic meloblack, as well as contrasting male and female cleans, and BM shrieks. Starlight, Moonlight, Firelight is a delightful instrumental piece.
24. On Thorns I Lay - Threnos
2020 [8.0] - A solid follow-up to Aegaen Sorrow with another strong display of their appealing Gothic doom sound, full of dramatic synth backgrounds, deep gutturals and pleasantly melancholic guitar leads and riffs.
25. Xenobiotic - Mordrake
2020 [8.0] - Dense, exciting techy deathcore with a hefty low-end, satisfying song structures and tasteful use of keyboards to add dynamics.
26. Cult Of Fire - Nirvana
2020 [8.0] - Just about edges Moksha, aside from the understated, more freeform intro to Budda pt. 3, this is some solid symphonic meloblack, which isn't quite how I remember them sounding before.
27. Olhava - Ladoga
2020 [8.0] - Lengthy but serene blackgaze, with a semi-permanent sheen offering up tranquillity. The bass is pleasantly audible throughout, which is a nice touch.
28. Envy - The Fallen Crimson
2020 [8.0] - Really nice blackgaze/post-hardcore, with a nice mesh of punky aggression on some songs and euphoric serenity on others.
29. Marrasmieli - Between Land And Sky
2020 [7.9] - Folky atmos-black, but a gnarlier beast than Dzo-nga or Skyforest, with the folk elements a tad more muted and the black metal somewhat harsher. Wasn't quite as enjoyable but similarly well-written.
30. Arbrynth - A Place Of Buried Light
2020 [7.9] - A subdued but stirring atmos-black record. The first song is a bit underwhelming, but the second track more than makes up for it, and builds good momentum for the rest of the record, with Beautiful In Death also a suitably moving piece.
31. Redwood Hill - Ender
2020 [7.9] - It's been a long while, but this blackened post-metal band finally has album number 3 out. It's a lot longer than the previous two, and less diverse, drawing more heavily than previously from the fountain of Amenra, but they're still capable of delivering bleak, crushing post-metal.
32. Turia - Degen Van Licht
2020 [7.9] - Accomplished atmos-black, pretty heavy on the blasting for an atmos-black band but has those signature atmospheric moments too, some of which work really nicely with the tremolo guitar melodies infused into them, such as in the title track.
33. Catalepsia - Inheritance
2020 [7.9] - This is the year of super-long albums, and this is another one to add to the pile, with nearly 80 minutes of solid Gothic doom to get stuck into. It doesn't necessarily merit the length, but it's not like there's any points where it particularly drags, and the super-lengthy closing track is a highlight of the record.
34. Yaldabaoth - That Which Whets the Saccharine Palate
2020 [7.9] - Technical and occasionally chaotic black metal, some times it gets contorted and nasty in a way that doesn't particularly appeal, but some of the proggy creepy but mellow bits are nice, and the general mild oddness is enjoyable enough.
35. Black Royal - Firebride
2020 [7.9] - An impressive coalition of death/doom, sludge, hard rock and symphonic elements into a natural and cohesive package, possessing a thick, volcanic sound and plenty of aggression, but also more accessible rock inclinations and tasteful, occasional use of orchestral instruments such as violin.
36. Malokarpatan - Krupinské Ohne
2020 [7.9] - Lengthy journeys of somewhat speed/heavy metal-infused black metal, with some quirky synths appearing from time to time. Some parts drag a bit, but there's a number of great moments to compensate.
37. Lurker Of Chalice - Tellurian Slaked Furnace
2020 [7.9] - I don't know their album well enough to say how this stacks up, but I enjoyed the psychedelic vibe to a lot of the music here.
38. Dawn Of Solace - Waves
2020 [7.9] - The latest entry into the extensive multi-project discography of melancholy melodic metaller Tuomas Saukkonen, there's no huge surprises; this is a solid record, with effective atmosphere and moving songs, particularly cuts such as Choice. It may actually be the most I've enjoyed one of his records, but I need more time to give it a stronger evaluation.
39. Sepultura - Quadra
2020 [7.9] - Sepultura are getting quite ambitious at times here, particularly with some of the choral vocals, symphonics and more later in the album, whilst still delivering some of their harder-hitting thrash tracks in a while early on. May beat out The Mediator... as my favourite Derrick Green record.
40. Wacław Zimpel - Massive Oscillations
2020 [7.9] - Minimalist electronics, employing oscillating pulses on the title track and new age serenity of Sine Tapes and Release. The spastic free jazz alto clarinet interjections are not particularly enjoyed, and the looseness of some of the instrumentation gets a bit grating at times, but when it's on song, Massive Oscillations conjures up some compelling musical journeys of subtlety and gradual evolution.
41. Zalmoxis - A Nocturnal Emanation
2020 [7.9] - Extensive and accomplished 20-odd minute single black metal song, with solid riffs and atmosphere.
42. Konvent - Puritan Masochism
2020 [7.9] - A fairly classic doom-sounding death/doom record, compared to some of the fathomless depths extreme doom bands can drop to, the lead guitar riffs, Candlemass-on-steroids riffs and growls all work rather nicely.
43. Yoth Iria - Under His Sway
2020 [7.9] - Short but sweet burst of mid-tempo melodic black metal, with nice lead guitar work, gang vocals and chuggy grooves.
44. Ether Coven - Everything Is Temporary Except Suffering
2020 [7.9] - Moody atmospheric sludge with some lengthy song runtimes, chunky riffs and murky atmosphere. The clean vocals aren't necessarily great, but this does the darker, heavier stuff more than well enough to compensate for this.
45. Blackguard - Storm
2020 [7.8] - Pretty conventional-sounding melodeath/extreme power with symphonic and folk elements; lots of high-energy epic cheese, but done in a very fun way.
46. Aeonian Sorrow - A Life Without
2020 [7.8] - Slow, morose, grandiose extreme melodic doom with a Gothic vibe, particularly from the keyboards and beauty and the beast contrasting vocals. I found it pretty moving, and the abridged runtime worked in its favour.
47. Psychotic Waltz - The God-Shaped Void
2020 [7.8] - A band I knew by name but not by music, I can appreciate why long-term fans of the band would be excited by this comeback as it comes across nicely, even though it's not quite what I vibe with these days.
48. L'Homme Absurde - Belong
2020 [7.8] - A solid take on the post-black style, with a meaty production, good nice and nasty moments, and solid song structures. The electronic outro of Sanctuary makes for a nice conclusion to the record.
49. Dragged Into Sunlight - Terminal Aggressor II
2020 [7.8] - The extended noisy dark ambient opening eventually gives way to some appropriately savage blackened sludge, which ramps in intensity throughout this near-half hour single song of bile and misery.
50. Cult Of Fire - Moksha
2020 [7.8] - A bit more melodic than I remember them being, but an interesting and engaging album on the whole. The Indian musical influences seem less prominent than on some previous records, aside from the chanting on Har Har Mahadev, but there is otherwise a solid chunk of melodic black metal (with occasional keyboards) to get stuck into here.
51. Jordablod - The Cabinet Of Numinous Song
2020 [7.8] - Nicely twisted black metal; some of the roughness in the production, such as the churning bass sound, adds to the psychedelic aspects of the album. It's a bit more interesting when it's going a bit wacky or bringing in medieval melodies than when it's doing the blackened rock sound on some tracks.
52. Dark Fortress - Spectres From The Old World
2020 [7.8] - Surprised to see this black metal album explode quite so much in the charts; it's got a relatively distinctive sound, but whilst I find it relatively enjoyable, I'm not sure what it is here that's supposed to really grip me.
53. Agnes Obel - Myopia
2020 [7.8] - Soothing Kate Bush-esque art chamber pop, with a somewhat subdued and sullen vibe. The opening song and title track are particular highlights.
54. Karg - Traktat
2020 [7.8] - Extremely long but generally compelling blackgaze/melodic black metal, with the typical dainty guitar work above a barrage of low-end blasting effectively pulled off.
55. Sightless Pit - Grave Of A Dog
2020 [7.8] - A wild, varied cacophony of noise, it's a predictably imaginative project given the out-there musical projects of the comprising members, but whilst it's not my thing, I found it more rewarding than most of the music those other bands have put out. I enjoyed some of the pulsating industrial noise, as well as the softer, ominous work on Ocean of Mercy and Love is Dead.
56. NGHTCRWLR - HiSeq_Let The Children Scream
2020 [7.8] - I dig the noisy, sinister, grinding dub backdrop to the title track, and the overall oppressive, dense soundscape of this record; at times the noise gets a bit too 'in your face' for my enjoyment, but for the most part I dig this.
57. Sea - Impermanence
2020 [7.8] - Heavy doomy, sludgy post-metal; the vocals are pained enough and riffs suitably crushingly heavy, but it mainly shines on the lengthy closer Dust rather than being consistently great throughout.
58. Frayle - 1692
2020 [7.8] - Enjoyable female-fronted doom (although the 10-second Monsters really should've been removed), the slow riffs and vocal interplay between softer and harsher vocals is done quite effectively.
59. The Spirit - Cosmic Terror
2020 [7.7] - A very classic take on the meloblack sound, but a rather enjoyable one. Not quite Dissection worship in the way something like Thulcandra is, but heavily inspired by that group.
60. The Amazing Devil - The Horror And The Wild
2020 [7.7] - Some really lovely British folk rock. Not all of it is quite to my tastes - it's probably not surprising that the darker sounding songs, such as the title track and That Unwanted Animals, are more to my tastes than the more jovial folk pieces such as Welly Boots and Fair, but even the romantic duet Marbles progresses to quite an exciting conclusion, and even the songs I don't necessarily love I can appreciate the work on. I really wish I could just download the title track however, which seems to be impossibel.
61. Old Man Gloom - Seminar IX: Darkness Of Being
2020 [7.7] - A surprise early release, like many of their efforts this is hit and miss, with the noisier elements not hugely appreciated, but the sludgier parts sounding suitably primitive and the acoustic Death Rhymes coming off quite nicely. The more expansive closing duo of In Your Name and Love Is Bravery provide the record with a very strong ending.
62. Cénotaphe - Monte Verità
2020 [7.7] - Fairly rudimentary but gripping black metal, with quite a melancholic vibe to it.
63. Izthmi - The Arrows Of Our Ways
2020 [7.7] - A fairly distinctive post-black album, with some blackgaze, more contorted semi-dissonant riffs, stretches of more melancholic music (including some neat solos), and frenetic, break-neck BM blasting all thrown together, sometimes in the same song. However, it's one of those "this is creative, but I'm not particularly engaged" albums.
64. Slift - Ummon
2020 [7.7] - Psychedelic/space rock album that moves closer to and further away from my tastes throughout its extensive runtime - I very much dig the chill vibe of Son Dong's Cave, space vibe of It's Coming and groove of Dark was Space.., but the psych rock of Thousand Helmets Of Gold was less to my liking.
65. Cindy Lee - What's Tonight To Eternity
2020 [7.7] - Eclectic mesh of abrasive noise with somewhat twee vocals and instrumentation, there's a lot going on here, meaning what would ordinarily sound quite upbeat becomes menacing and disorienting.
66. Kaoteon - Kaoteon
2020 [7.7] - Well-produced, hooky, tech-y blackened death (with the tech-death side primarily carried by the busy bass playing), this effectively balances melody, aggression and technique.
67. Goblinsmoker - A Throne In Haze, A World Ablaze
2020 [7.7] - Suitably murky aggressive stoner doom, with a pleasantly brief (<30 minute) runtime, this is very much a nasty trudge through miserable swampland.
68. Kawir - Adrasteia
2020 [7.7] - Conventional but fairly stirring pagan-style black metal with enough satisfying hooks, and twists and turns within the songs to sustain enthusiasm throughout. The keyboards in Atalanti work nicely.
69. Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - Patchouli Blue
2020 [7.7] - Dark ambient jazz, an intriguing mix that comes across really well. The subdued electronic base isn't betrayed by the sax, which restrains itself enough to sound haunting rather than obnoxious. There's a bit of a Blade Runner soundtrack vibe to this record, as well as a hint of Katharos XIII.
70. Panopticon - Panopticon / Nechochwen [Split]
2020 [7.6] - Nechochwen make a good contribution to this atmos-black split; however, Panopticon completely overshadow them with Rune's Heart, a near-20 minute journey that is arguably the project's greatest offering to date.
71. Belore - Journey Through Mountains And Valleys
2020 [7.6] - Epic atmos-black firmly in the vein of Summoning and Caladan Brood; it's a bit livelier than those bands and thus more to my taste, but remains a bit one-dimensional throughout its runtime.
72. Bütcher - 666 Goats Carry My Chariot
2020 [7.6] - Very retro-sounding speed metal, wearing its influences nakedly (Diamond Head in Metallsttrom's introduction, Metallica on Iron Bitch, a whole load of other thrash and speed metal bands from the 80s elsewhere); it's a very fun revival of a fairly forgotten sound, but that's about it.
73. Huntsmen - Mandala Of Fear
2020 [7.6] - Extremely long follow-up to their promising debut, this doesn't have the same roots American vibe as American Scrap, being a more expansive album. However, it does have a solid supply of intriguing songs and hooky riffs to get stuck into in its near 80 minutes of runtime, albeit with some sag time around the middle.
74. Violet Cold - Noir Kid
2020 [7.6] - Less consistent than kOsmik, as Synergy can be a bit irritating, but the female vocals are well utilized on Battle Unicorn, and tracks 5-7 all have some good moments. It's more diverse than their previous records, which means the odd bum notes are perhaps expected but also more easily forgiveable.
75. Serpent Column - Endless Detainment
2020 [7.5] - A maelstrom of chaotic aggression, I respect the frenetic nature of it but don't particularly enjoy it.
76. Lowrider - Refractions
2020 [7.5] - Lags a bit in the middle with some fairly generic uptempo stoner rock songs, but the more melancholy work bookending the album, particularly the excellent closing track Pipe Rider and Weedpecker-ish Ode To Ganymede, lift it up.
77. Blessed Black - Beyond The Crimson Throne
2020 [7.5] - Brief and not great throughout, but the darker tone on some of the earlier tracks makes for a nice twist on the stoner metal sound.
78. Holy Fawn - The Black Moon
2020 [7.5] - Pleasant enough heavy post-rock with airy, ethereal vocals and the odd moment of intensity.
79. Ritual King - Ritual King
2020 [7.5] - Fairly standard hazy stoner rock, but gradually picks up during the album - Dead Roads is a very satisfying jam.
80. Moses Boyd - Dark Matter
2020 [7.5] - Intriguingly varied jazz fusion record, drawing in hip hop, garage, afrobeat and other influences into an eclectic yet consistently quality package.
81. Blaze Of Perdition - The Harrowing Of Hearts
2020 [7.5] - Perfectly enjoyable predominantly mid-tempo post-black metal with solid atmospheric stretches, but a tad generic.
82. Loathe - I Let It In And It Took Everything
2020 [7.5] - Very Deftones-y for large portions, but brings in some nu metal/metalcore aggression in certain places, at times to its detriment.
83. Lonker See - Hamza
2020 [7.4] - Has a tendency to annoy on certain tracks, most notably 3-4-8 and the closing song, but otherwise this is some fun jazzy psychedelic space rock.
84. Seven Spires - Emerald Seas
2020 [7.4] - Generally enjoyable symphonic metal dominated by the impressive vocalist. Aside from her, this draws from power metal with regards to the storytelling and flair for the dramatic, but is generally more midtempo, with some deep, chugging riffing and very slight inclinations towards slightly more extreme styles.
85. Ewigkeit - Land Of Fog (20/20 Re-Vision)
2020 [7.4] - Intriguing proggy black; not too surprising that the man behind the project is involved in In The Woods now. Didn't love it but quite a lot to enjoy here.
86. Sons Of A Wanted Man - Kenoma
2020 [7.4] - Solid post-black, albeit lacking a bit of something to elevate it above its peers.
87. Elder Druid - Golgotha
2020 [7.4] - Thick, meaty sludge doom with good riffs and dense production. It's a tad limited, but generally solid at what it does.
88. Quasarborn - A Pill Hard To Swallow
2020 [7.4] - Alternates between quite conventional mid-tempo thrash chuggers and more tech-y instrumentation, with a predominantly soaring clean vocal approach, albeit with occasional growls. There's flirtations with tech-death, but this is predominantly a thrash album, and although a rather good one, that does mean it holds limited appeal for me.
89. Jeff Parker - Suite For Max Brown
2020 [7.4] - Smooth modern jazz, with slick guitar work the dominating instrument in what is generally a diverse mix of instrumental and tonal approaches.
90. Demons & Wizards - III
2020 [7.4] - Decent enough comeback, with some solid long songs, but again this project remains lesser than either of the bands its members also play in.
91. Vengeful Spectre - Vengeful Spectre
2020 [7.4] - Some intriguing black metal that incorporates folk elements from the band's native China, these elements are generally well-utilized, aside from some rough moments, and the underlying black metal is solid if not spectacular.
92. Caspian - On Circles
2020 [7.4] - I find myself most wrapped up in this post-rock effort during its early instrumental-only periods, without quite as much affection for the vocals, but there are a couple of really solid songs to round out this record.
93. Body Void - Body Void​ / ​Keeper [Split]
2020 [7.3] - Exhaustingly grim sludge/doom, moving at slow pace with an overload of distortion and bile in the mix. A bit more palatable than some of Body Void's previous work, but still a bit tough to enjoy.
94. Scarab - Martyrs Of The Storm
2020 [7.2] - Another solid round of Egyptian death metal, but perhaps without enough to differentiate it from Serpents Of The Nile to solidify its appeal compared to that record.
95. Brothers Of Metal - Emblas Saga
2020 [7.2] - Flamboyant epic power metal, with very much a dramatic storyteller vibe. The dual vocal approach is nice, although the shouty tone of the male singer doesn't always quite work for me compared with the dynamic female singer.
96. Kvelertak - Splid
2020 [7.2] - Have to say, not entirely convinced by the vocalist, but otherwise this album is a bit more convincing than the last one, albeit without reaching the level of the debut. The aggression of something like Ulvetid is mainly gone, this is black-tinged hard rock, with some spins on this more convincing than others, but with most songs satisfying to one level or other.
97. Kassad - London Orbital
2020 [7.2] - Solid melancholy post-black metal, the substantial stretches of more quiet ambient music act reasonably well as contrast, but could be a bit more inspiring. The blackgaze parts do nothing new, but work nicely.
98. Wrekmeister Harmonies - We Love To Look At The Carnage
2020 [7.2] - A band I can appreciate the artistry behind without really liking, their peculiar drone-oriented avant-garde style is distinctive and creative, but also not really something I particularly care for.
99. Lovebites - Electric Pentagram
2020 [7.1] - 80 minutes of high-energy power metal like this is really too much, particularly given it's not replete with instantly memorable hooks; however, if some of the fat was trimmed, the underlying sound and songwriting are solid.
100. Unreqvited - Mosaic II: La Déteste Et La Détresse
2020 [7.1] - An effective blackgaze/depressive black metal album, capable of summoning the euphoria of the former and melancholy of the latter, this is rather well put together, with some solid implementation of symphonic elements, particularly in its harsher moments.
101. Ygg - The Last Scald
2020 [7.1] - Good atmos-black but incredibly by-the-numbers.
102. Faustian Pact - Outojen Tornien Varjoissa
2020 [7.1] - Decent symphonic black metal, with some cheesy but effective background synths. The croaky vocals are a bit grating, however, and it is very much 'of its style', without really adding anything interesting to the formula.
103. Grin - Translucent Blades
2020 [7.1] - The Baroness-esque artwork potentially missells the dirty, noisy sludge approach that kicks off the record. Quite slow and murky early on, it becomes a bit more psychedelic and less suffocating as the album progresses.
104. Drown - Subaqueous
2020 [7.1] - Pretty good funeral doom from the Tchornobog guy, but not great enough to get over my general trepidation towards the subgenre.
105. Adrian Tăbăcaru - Lucifer - A Rock Opera
2020 [7.0] - An at-times rather lush prog rock album (particularly the intro), overall the hard rock parts were of less interest to me than the more flamboyant, showy bits (got some Hietala-in-Nightwish vibes at times), but the whole thing made for enjoyable enough listening, and the accompanying animated video adds an intriguing extra dimension to the project.
106. Deathwhite - Grave Image
2020 [7.0] - Suitably melancholic vocals and atmosphere, but a little bit boring at times, in terms of the song structures and vocal melodies.
107. Ironflame - Blood Red Victory
2020 [7.0] - Competent and well-produced classic heavy/power metal with its 80s influences worn clearly (Maiden, Helloween, etc.), but without anything to rise beyond being a capable imitator of what's gone before.
108. Godthrymm - Reflections
2020 [7.0] - For what it is (a nostalgic epic doom record), it's very good; it's just not something that appeals to me.
109. Amenra - De Messe / De Metanoia
2020 [7.0] - Decent dark ambient/drone effort, but CHVE's solo efforts have been more convincing takes of this style.
110. Panopticon - Panopticon / Aerial Ruin [Split]
2020 [7.0] - Soft acoustic bluegrass like the second half of Panopticon's Scars... album; for the second time this year, Panopticon is the stronger contributor to this split, with the closing track The Pit a particular highlight.
111. Polaris - The Death Of Me
2020 [6.9] - Has some decent songs in but overall doesn't match up to The Mortal Coil.
112. Vvilderness - Dark Waters
2020 [6.9] - Fairly accomplished post-black metal/blackgaze, albeit not something that particularly captivated me.
113. Die Like Gentlemen - Stories
2020 [6.9] - Pleasant enough folk-y acoustic guitar album, although the muted instrumentation and exuberant vocals don't quite gel for me.
114. Tortuga - Deities
2020 [6.8] - Quite varied in approach, this has moments that feel like regular stoner rock, as well as moody doom, but there's some more aggressive, rampaging moments that counteract the slower meat n' potatoes of much of the album nicely. The production is suitably fuzzy, but although I enjoyed some parts quite a lot, overall it didn't quite win me over.
115. Grey Skies Fallen - Cold Dead Lands
2020 [6.8] - There's some nice guitar solos and leads here, and the more extreme passages were fairly solid, but the classic doom parts with the Pat Walker vocals were a bit offputting for me.
116. Ihsahn - Telemark
2020 [6.8] - Ihsahn with a big band accompaniment, the brass and other instruments add some fun flourishes, but the songs aren't anything too exciting by his standards, and I can live without hearing the covers again.
117. Maere - I
2020 [6.8] - Nasty, frenetic, somewhat dissonant death metal - the one-note vocal sound makes it feel a bit monotonous though, and without any real hooks it just sounds like angry directionless noise at times.
118. Major Kong - Off The Scale
2020 [6.8] - I got introduced to this instrumental stoner rock band on last year's 4 Way Split, on which their contribution was probably the least up my street. This is similar, good rock but not quite what I'm looking for in bands in the genre.
119. The Night Flight Orchestra - Aeromantic
2020 [6.6] - This kinda thing is generally not in my interests, but Speed from Soilwork is a great vocalist, and I did quite like the first song (it had a bit of a Seventh Wonder vibe), it it wasn't too bad.
120. Allie X - Cape God
2020 [6.6] - Decent electropop that flags a bit in the middle with a couple of songs far away from my tastes; the best tracks bookend the record.
121. Marko Hietala - Pyre Of The Black Heart
2020 [6.4] - Nothing inherently wrong with the folky hard rock sound on this album by Nightwish's bassist, but nothing to really inspire me to return to it.
122. Magnum - The Serpent Rings
2020 [6.0] - Has a couple of nice songs (e.g. The Archway Of Tears), but is overall fairly run-of-the-mill poppy proggy hard rock.
123. Wormhole - The Weakest Among Us
2020 [5.8] - This is well-done tech-y brutal death, but at the same time it is tech-y brutal death, pig squeals and all, and it makes for somewhat tedious listening.
124. Poppy - I Disagree
2020 [4.8] - I'm all for poppy metal ventures, having hugely enjoyed stuff from Blood Stain Child and Amaranthe in the past, but a lot of this was just irritating.
125. Nero Di Marte - Immoto
2020 [4.5] - A depressing backfire, Nero Di Marte attempted to push their boundaries instrumentally, vocally and as songwriters, but in doing so removed everything that made me so fond of them in the first place. Sisyphos is a early frontrunner for my least favourite song of 2020.
126. Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man
2020 [4.0] - I mean, fair play to Ozzy for managing to make a record, but this is not enjoyable to listen to.
127. Gorevent - Fate
2020 [3.5] - I saw this recommended somewhere and I honestly don't know why. Considering it's only 20-odd minutes long, it's an incredibly tedious listen, comprised solely of quiet, monotempo death metal "riffs", all crawling at low-mid tempos, all sounding pretty much the same, and all being drowned out by the overly loud and similarly monotone deep growls.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments

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Comments: 3   Visited by: 46 users
16.01.2020 - 16:16
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I see your 4.8 rating and I have to say

I Disagree
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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19.01.2020 - 21:33
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Also so glad that for each entry you tell us what year it was released in, I really wouldn't have been able to tell otherwise.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
Loading...
20.01.2020 - 11:06
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 19.01.2020 at 21:33

Also so glad that for each entry you tell us what year it was released in, I really wouldn't have been able to tell otherwise.


I aim to please
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