2020


The silver lining to the year of Covid is metal bands should have plenty of inspiration. We seem to already be reaping these rewards with how great July and August were with new releases. September has been no slouch either. Enjoy.

Created by: Neachy | 06.02.2020



1. Neptunian Maximalism - Éons
(9.5) (Drone/Free Jazz/Tribal) 2 hours. Who the fuck has the audacity to craft a 2 hour album and expect people to listen to the whole thing much less actually enjoy it? Fuck your sensibilities. Get on this if you know what's good for you. There's not enough genre tags for this insanity. Psychedelic, drone, free jazz, tribal drum beats, middle eastern and African folk sounds, experimental, dark ambient thrown in a blender and coming out greater than the sum of its parts.
2. Atramentus - Stygian
(9.5) (Funeral Doom) Seek not immortality. Wilt and die.
3. Skáphe - Skáphe³
(9) (Psychedelic Black) Skáphe² is a modern black metal classic as far as I'm concerned. Four years later can they possibly live up to or even *gasp* outdo!? their previous effort? Well, let's just say I'm not disappointed and I'd have a hard time imagining anyone who enjoyed ² to not also dig ³. The production has shifted from muddy and claustrophobia inducing to spacious and dynamic without sounding plastic. The drumming feels more adventurous this time around as well. I don't really understand the reason for the smaller tracks not being blended into the larger tracks. Some of my favorite instrumental moments of the album occur during those tiny tracks however. Only time will tell how this one ends up comparing to its predecessor but this one definitely sits among the best of 2020.
4. Evaporated Sores - Ulcerous Dimensions
(9) (Blackened Sludge/Death Doom/Power Electronics) Sentient Ruin is killing it this year with their releases. This one may end up being the crown jewel of the year. Reminds me a bit of Indian but with the maddening electronic touch similar to what you'd expect on a Mories release. This one is not to be missed. Violent, abrasive and hate filled. A perfect musical expression of what 2020 has been for most of us.
5. Ars Magna Umbrae - Apotheosis
(9) (Black) Praise the Goddess, Polish one man band Ars Magna Umbrae have returned and bestowed upon us an opus of pure majesty and hateful reverence.
6. Ulcerate - Stare Into Death And Be Still
(9) (Post Death/Tech Death) This took 3 full spins to really grow on me. The talent and technicality on display here can be overwhelming. The production is so clean and modern that it can come off as sterile but truly it fits the vision of what Ulcerate is trying to do with this record. The brutality of previous records is toned down in favor of something more explicitly technical and at times reflective and emotional. But don't get it twisted: this thing will still rip your face off.
7. Jordablod - The Cabinet Of Numinous Song
(9) (Experimental Black) After many listens it finally dawned on me what this reminds me of. Originally I thought Negative Plane but that's not quite it. Gin-era Cobalt mixed with Horseback's The Invisible Mountain. Black metal at its core, with psychedelic and surf rock tendencies and a definite western motif. Acoustic, ambient and droney sections mellow things out from time to time.
8. Imperial Triumphant - Alphaville
(9) (Avant-Garde Technical Black/Death) Loved the first track from the first time I heard this. The rest of the album, not so much. But the first track has kept me coming back and the rest has grown on me. This album is the sonic embodiment of decadence.
9. Hail Spirit Noir - Eden In Reverse
(8.5) (Heavy Psych/Prog) More retro futuristic psychedelic prog weirdness from these Greek chaps. Gone is any semblance of black metal but judging by the results, that's a good thing.
10. Wayfarer - A Romance With Violence
(8.5) (Western-themed Atmospheric Black) "Black metal of the American West, a cavalcade of fury, melancholia and dust-laden storytelling." - Profound Lore. Yep that pretty well nails it.
11. Dodenbezweerder - Vrees De Toorn Van De Wezens Verscholen Achter Majestueuze Vleugels
(8.5) (Black/Dark Ambient) Yet another project from the prolifically demented mind of Mories. This continues the recent resurgence of Mories metal prowess. Mystagogue and The Sombre from last year were the first things I really liked from him since around 2015. This is kinda noisy, raw, ugly black metal with dark ambient sections interspersed.
12. Dkharmakhaoz - Proclamation Ov The Black Suns
(8.5) (Industrial Black) The suddenly prolific black metal scene of Belarus has produced a gem. Employs the heaviness of industrial metal combined with the fury and atmosphere of black metal.
13. Void Rot - Descending Pillars
(8.5) (Death Doom) On first listen, extremely good and well executed but lacking enough unique character to push it into immediate greatness. Will certainly be spinning this numerous times in the coming weeks.
14. Prometheus (GRE) - (8.5) (Cosmic Black/Death)
15. Decoherence - Unitarity
(8.5) (Industrial Cosmic Black) Another gem of dissonant yet rhythmic industrial black metal with a splash of power electronics. I can't get enough of these guys' sound. Good thing they're so prolific.
16. Tyrant (USA-CA) - Hereafter
(8.5) (Heavy/Traditional Metal) The comeback album of this obscure heavy metal band from the 80s actually kicks major ass for what it is. Features the talents of Rob Lowe of Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus on vocals which really pushes this album over the top for me.
17. Jupiterian - Protosapien
(8.5) (Sludge/Doom) Ok, Brazil, I see you. Damn fine sludge doom.
18. The Funeral Orchestra - Negative Evocation Rites
(8) (Blackened Funeral Doom) Excellent lightly blackened funeral doom. Production and vocals are black metal influenced but everything else is purely doom.
19. On Thorns I Lay - Threnos
(8) (Melodic Death Doom) Never heard (of) this band before. Band name is terrible but the music is fantastic. Incorporates symphonic elements/instruments without getting overly melodramatic.
20. Second To Sun - Leviathan
(8) (Black) Really crisp and aggressive modern black metal with some good subtle melody.
21. Warp Chamber - Implements Of Excruciation
(8) (Death) Fun, old school minded but not by the numbers death metal. Nice, short album at under 30 minutes, doesn't overstay it's welcome. Continues the trend of awesome fucking death metal from the west coast of the US the past few years.
22. Erythrite Throne - Call Of The Northern Moon
(8) (Ambient Black/Dungeon Synth) This is one of those hyper-prolific bandcamp projects. Threw this on thinking it would be laughably terrible. But alas, found it to be eminently listenable. Excellent blend of lo-fi black metal and moody dungeon synth. Will definitely have to dig deeper into this project.
23. Nexion - Seven Oracles
(8) (Black) This has that now fairly well established Icelandic sound in the vein of Svartidaudi. This thing rips though.
24. Acherontas - Psychic Death - The Shattering Of Perceptions
(8) (Hellenic Black) Properly intense, well produced and varied enough in the songwriting to keep the listener interested for the duration.
25. Lychgate - Also Sprach Futura
(8) (Black/Doom) Far and away the best thing I've heard from this project which is surprising given the presence of Greg Chandler (would have thought I would have enjoyed the previous material a lot more). This would make a fine mini-soundtrack to Blade Runner.
26. Silver Knife - Unyielding / Unseeing
(8) (Atmospheric/Depressive Black) Melancholic yet uptempo. Beautiful yet properly black. Top notch.
27. Katavasia - Magnus Venator
(8) (Hellenic Black) A nod to the old school of Greek black metal done just right.
28. Onirik - The Fire Cult Beyond Eternity
(8) (Black) The arrangements here are immaculate.
29. Seven Chains - Thus She Speaks, The Spiraling Marantha
(8) (Experimental Black) Has some of that Portal-y Skáphe-like black metal but mixed in with a bunch of ambient weirdo stuff that I kinda love.
30. Sinistral King - Serpent Uncoiling
(8) (Black/Death) Being a fan of extreme metal, I'm used to things sounding ferocious. However, this sounds more ferocious than normal. Fairly standard songwriting but very emphatically performed.
31. Tempestarii - Chaos To Feast
(8) (Ritualistic Atmospheric Black) This is what Wolves In The Throne Room might sound like these days if they didn't live up their own asses.
32. Death Courier - Necrotic Verses
(8) (Death) Thrashy, well done old school death metal from Greece. A bit on the short side for a full length at 33 minutes and change. This could have benefited from an another track or two imo.
33. Odraza - Rzeczom
(8) (Black) After hearing Biesy's latest record days before, I was foolishly ready to write off the Polish scene. This album is so rough yet so polished. At various times I'm reminded of Shining, Funeral Mist and DsO. But Odraza has crafted a sound uniquely their own.
34. Khthoniik Cerviiks - Æequiizoiikum
(8) (Black/Death/Thrash) Not too far up it's own ass with technicality for it's own sake. This is genre blending and bending at its finest. Heavy, rifftastic and vicious with heavy sci-fi influence. What more can you ask for?
35. Spirit Possession - Spirit Possession
(8) (Black/Heavy) Of several attempts I've heard shooting for this sound this year, this has been the best of the bunch.
36. Pure Reason Revolution - Eupnea
(8) (Progressive) Doesn't reach the majesty of The Dark Third but blends the elegant atmosphere of that album with some of the heavier sounds of their later albums to create possibly the most varied yet cohesive output of their career.
37. Primitive Man - Immersion
(8) (Blackened Sludge/Doom) Bludgeoning.
38. Amnutseba - Emanatism
(8) (Black) I've gone back and forth on this album, mainly due to the back half of the album. Lots of electronic sounds that can be off putting. But I think I've gotten used to them at this point. Very good record.
39. Master Boot Record - Floppy Disk Overdrive
(7.5) (Electronic/Synth Metal) Unique style + inspired songwriting = killer album.
40. Lifvsleda - Det Besegrade Lifvet
(7.5) (Black) Crushing. Devastating black metal.
41. Freeways - True Bearings
(7.5) (Hard Rock) Hella fun shit.
42. Black Flux - Black Stream
(7.5) (Black) Just good fucking black metal.
43. Enslaved - Utgard
(7.5) (Progressive Viking) Enslaved doing what Enslaved does.
44. Lantern - Dimensions
(7.5) (Black/Death) If this whole album was as good as first track "Strange Nebula" we'd have a 9 on our hands. As it stands, this thing listens more like a compilation than a normal full length due to the disjointed feel of the songwriting and overall tone. There's plenty of sick basslines throughout this but the guitars hang around in DsO territory a bit too much to stand out.
45. Vous Autres - Sel De Pierre
(7.5) Blackened Post-Metal
46. Black Curse - Endless Wound
(7.5) (Death) Comprised of members of bands including Blood Incantation, Spectral Voice and Primitive Man this thing rips as much as one might rightly expect. The songwriting doesn't draw me in as much as I would like but the vicious sound and vibe makes up for it.
47. Decoherence - Albionic Hermeticism / Decoherence [Split]
(7.5) (Atmospheric Black/Industrial/Math Black) The first track by Albionic Hermeticism is a ritualistic slow builder. Second track is pretty basic black metal. Decoherence slays per usual.
48. Illkynja - Sæti Sálarinnar
(7.5) (Black) Black metal from Iceland. You know what to do.
49. The Ruins Of Beverast - Don't Walk On The Mass Graves [Split]
(7.5) (Blackened Doom) Very interesting experimental track from Mourning Beloveth and probably the best TRoB has sounded in a decade or so.
50. Atavisma - Atavisma / Void Rot [Split]
(7.5) (Death Doom) Some great output from a couple of overlooked bands.
51. Black Vice - The Alchemist's Vision
(7.5) (Psychedelic Post Black) I'm starting to like black metal from Texas. Definitely carries a similar vibe to Haunter's first album and Tyrannosorceress' debut. Mostly mid-paced jammy riff-laden post black metal but occasionally ramps up the pace as well as drifting into slow ambient sections.
52. Order Of Orias - Ablaze
(7.5) (Orthodox Black) This is the sophomore effort from these Aussies. Their debut was all the way back in 2011 and was fairly decent. This has a really good sound and I'm a sucker for the genre. I have a feeling I'll like this one more with more listens.
53. Armagedda - Svindeldjup Ättestup
(7.5) (Black) A mere sixteen years since the release of their last full length and these kvlt swedes have returned. They make use of mid and slow-paced (for black metal) tempos quite frequently throughout this. A great addition to their discography.
54. Godthrymm - Reflections
(7.5) (Epic Doom) Very solid effort by this group which features at least one ex-member of My Dying Bride. I have a feeling I will be returning to this one and it will be a grower.
55. Expander - Neuropunk Boostergang
(7.5) (Crossover Thrash) Sci-fi themed and has a bit of that Converge style hardcore feel. Produced by Kurt Ballou and released on Profound Lore.
56. Atavist - III: Absolution
(7.5) (Melodic Post Doom) Majestic. The violin sections really push this to the next level.
57. Ævangelist - Nightmarecatcher
(7.5) (Ambient Blackened Death) This is the best thing from Matron Thorn since Death Fetishist and the best Ævangelist since the Esoterica split. Though that's not saying too much considering the quality of the product in between. Well worth a listen if you can look past the #metoo allegations. Terrific unsettling blend of dark ambient and doomy Blackened Death riffage. All 3 tracks are well over 10 minutes and yet don't feel excessive as they give the ideas explored the proper space to breathe.
58. Bríi - Entre Tudo Que É Visto E Oculto
(7.5) Experimental Black
59. Dark Fortress - Spectres From The Old World
(7.5) Black
60. Paradise Lost - Obsidian
(7.5) Gothic/Death Doom
61. Infera Bruo - Rites Of The Nameless
(7.5) Progressive Black
62. Dysylumn - Cosmogonie
(7.5) Post-Black
63. Haken - Virus
(7.5) Progressive
64. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Ascension
(7.5) Post-Black
65. Aethyrick - Gnosis
(7.5) Black
66. Ljosazabojstwa - Głoryja Śmierci
(7.5) Black/Death
67. Dearth - To Crown All Befoulment
(7) Black/Death
68. Panzerfaust - The Suns of Perdition - Chapter II: Render Unto Eden
(7) Black
69. Cirith Ungol - Forever Black
(7) Heavy/Doom
70. VoidCeremony - Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel
(7) Progressive Death
71. Necrot - Mortal
(7) Death
72. Bell Witch - Stygian Bough: Volume I [Collaboration]
(7) Dark Folk/Funeral Doom
73. Incantation - Sect Of Vile Divinities
(7) Death
74. Sinister - Deformation Of The Holy Realm
(7) Death
75. Purtenance - Buried Incarnation
(7) Death
76. Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi
(7) Blackened Avant-Garde/Psychedelic
77. - Entity
(7) Blackened Doom
78. Ringarë - Sorrow Befell
(7) Atmospheric Black
79. Dumal - The Confessor
(7) Melodic Black
80. Pyrrhon - Abscess Time
(7) Experimental Tech Death



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Neachy ]



Comments

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Comments: 10   Visited by: 76 users
09.02.2020 - 21:47
LuciferOfGayness
Account deleted
Pretty much what I have been listening to as well and I agree with the placings but I would subtract 2 from all scores. Feb 14 promises goodies - Turia, Ensnared, Necrowretch and Godthrymm. Good list so far...
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09.02.2020 - 22:28
Neachy
Written by Guest on 09.02.2020 at 21:47

Pretty much what I have been listening to as well and I agree with the placings but I would subtract 2 from all scores. Feb 14 promises goodies - Turia, Ensnared, Necrowretch and Godthrymm. Good list so far...

I went ahead and preordered the Turia album on bandcamp. Sounds like it should be top notch. The other 3 could be interesting as well... I was ambivalent on Jordablod the first time I heard it but I was drawn back again and again. It's a damn fine album but suspect Turia may overtake it.
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13.02.2020 - 20:12
mz
Have an eye on this. Sounds very promising :
https://digital.immortalfrostproductions.com/album/usurpation-of-the-seven
----
Giving my ears a rest from music.
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13.03.2020 - 04:47
quieted_darkness
When I first heard Gloosh - Timewheel I was impressed by the first song but after that it didn't click for me. I'll have to give the album another shot. So far we share Jordablod and Ygg on our list and I wrote down Drown to try out more of the album. Well my list doesn't exist yet but will soon enough. Maybe in a few days or in a couple of weeks.
----
"If people kept things simple there would be no discovery in the world. If scientists said the brain is just a brain and not take it by small segments and labeling it. We would not have come as far. Labels are necessary. Music is science!"

- Me
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09.05.2020 - 17:09
Chobo_jokeR
Another year, another excellent list that you've put together. I regularly check your lists to see what I've missed or what has gone under the radar. Looking forward to see how this one evolves throughout the year.
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09.05.2020 - 20:11
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
I discovered your list lately. Already gone through a lot of stuff. Will surely check out remaining.

List looks great.
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10.05.2020 - 17:45
Neachy
Written by Chobo_jokeR on 09.05.2020 at 17:09

Another year, another excellent list that you've put together. I regularly check your lists to see what I've missed or what has gone under the radar. Looking forward to see how this one evolves throughout the year.

Thanks. Always good to hear that others are finding stuff they like on these lists
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11.07.2020 - 03:23
Chobo_jokeR
Nexion and illkynja were both really nice finds. I really like the Icelandic black sound.

You may have already heard their album but after looking at illkynja on Facebook I saw another icelandic band, Hrae has one out in 2020 as well. I thought it was quite good.

Sputnikmusic has an album from Prison of Mirrors ranked very highly. Bandcamp saying it sounds like Deathspell omega as well. I found it to be too long without the same level of variation DsO offers.
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12.07.2020 - 01:20
Neachy
Written by Chobo_jokeR on 11.07.2020 at 03:23

Nexion and illkynja were both really nice finds. I really like the Icelandic black sound.

You may have already heard their album but after looking at illkynja on Facebook I saw another icelandic band, Hrae has one out in 2020 as well. I thought it was quite good.

Sputnikmusic has an album from Prison of Mirrors ranked very highly. Bandcamp saying it sounds like Deathspell omega as well. I found it to be too long without the same level of variation DsO offers.

I enjoy the Icelandic sound as well. I heard Hræ earlier this year but wasn't really in the mood for it at the time. I still owe it another listen. Prison Of Mirrors is in the need to listen queue. Make sure you check out the upcoming sophomore album from Ars Magna Umbrae. I expect great things. Their debut from 2018 was awesome.
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12.07.2020 - 06:08
Chobo_jokeR
Written by Neachy on 12.07.2020 at 01:20

I enjoy the Icelandic sound as well. I heard Hræ earlier this year but wasn't really in the mood for it at the time. I still owe it another listen. Prison Of Mirrors is in the need to listen queue. Make sure you check out the upcoming sophomore album from Ars Magna Umbrae. I expect great things. Their debut from 2018 was awesome.


I remember enjoying their debut, so I just gave the single from the new one a listen. That definitely sounds promising.

I'm also looking forward to Vassafor and Temple Nightside out on August 7th.
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