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Metal Storm Awards 2020

This edition of the Metal Storm Awards truly came from the heart. If you couldn't tell from the text that opened the 2020 edition, we felt especially motivated this year to bring you some quality music. There has been a prevailing attitude among musicians over the last year that, even with the inability to tour, even with all the delays in shipping, even with the many logistical impossibilities that have been thrust upon us by the pandemic, it is important to get music out into the world and give people something to look forward to, to enjoy, and to take a little bit of solace in. The wisdom of that philosophy has been borne out over this last year, which somehow saw an incredible spate of high-quality releases, and we hoped to offer up a piece of that mentality ourselves by packaging together all of the music that we found the most rewarding. When you cast aside all pretext, we're no authorities; we're just fans. That's why some of the genre placements are insane, yes, but the point is that we're in the business purely to experience and support this stuff, so we hope that you benefited in some way from the 2020 Metal Storm Awards.

While we speak of benefiting, let's pause and observe some of these results. Katatonia ran away with Alternative, which might not have been cause for remark had they not left well behind them graciously received albums from the ever-popular Deftones and Trivium. Avant-Garde/Experimental of course went to Thy Catafalque, an obvious institution at the frontiers if we had to name one, but the inclusion of Mora Prokaza's trap/black metal fusion generated less hostility than we had anticipated, so that was one nice surprise. To our more distinct amusement, while there was certainly an appropriate number of easy and predictable clean-ups (Enslaved? Winning by a landslide? You must be joking!), there were quite a few narrow races this year, surely a testament to the fact that sometimes hard work can cancel out name recognition. We watched in shock behind the scenes as Ensiferum's stunning rejuvenation actually struggled, not only against the warty and mushroomoid veterans in Finntroll, but against relative newcomers Havukruunu, whose unbridled energy was not to be easily outdone by establishment picks. Likewise, Thrash saw a similarly resurgent Sepultura hounded until the last by Sylosis, and in Symphonic Ad Infinitum's debut clawed its way vote-for-vote alongside Delain's grand finale (with the current lineup, anyway). In our most stunning upset, Lucid Planet not only swiped Progressive from Pain Of Salvation, they brutally crushed Biggest Surprise and Best Album Artwork for a very rare triple crown (usually if a band wins more than one category, at least one of them is for something bad).

The stupid write-in nominations were not quite as plentiful this year, but you'd better believe that we still had three (3) votes for Poppy's bubblegum-evil I Disagree in Post-Metal, along with a single vote for Saor's Guardians, an album that is not in its first, second, or third possible classifications a post-metal record and that also came out in 2016. And somebody wrote in Pearl Jam in Hard Rock? Do you think that this is acceptable behavior? "Manowar - They probably released a live DVD or something" made it into Power. Well, first of all, you can check. We have a database. Second of all, they didn't. Third, did you not listen to the new Falconer? It was excellent. Well, at least we can rest comfortably with the knowledge that in said category Demons & Wizards ultimately drew second to Unleash The Archers. If they had won, well, we'd have nobody to congratulate, under the circumstances. As usual, no write-in came within a meaningful distance of securing the lead, but we had numerous - yeah, we're talking numerous - write-in votes for albums that were already nominated in those very categories. We know that most of you don't bother listening to all the nominees before voting (which you should really stop doing), but, honestly, do you not even bother to finish scrolling to the bottom before you submit your votes? Geez, it's like herding cats around here.

We'll level with you about the Drama category: you weren't supposed to be able to write in your own votes. The idea was to have a "special" category with a preset winner (nothing at all). We are just as confused as you by how this site works, however (if not more so, because we have to deal with it more frequently), and somehow that did not come to pass, so, yes, that was just a mistake. For a brief spell we intended to clear out the write-ins on a regular basis to achieve our intended outcome, but after reading the submissions that started flooding in, we relented. Sure, some of them are dumb, some of them are not for the appropriate year, but it is overwhelmingly clear just what was on everybody's minds last year. We already knew that (read the text - that was the point), and yet seeing the number of variations we had on that same theme kind of drove home just how much this last horrible year has touched each of us.

But maybe things are beginning to look up just a little bit. Maybe. A bit. At least we're continuing to see a steady stream of great music coming out of isolation, and we still have some more Bandcamp Fridays to keep us occupied. The 2020 Metal Storm Awards may be over at last, but you can rest assured that we're already thinking about 2021. After all... well, not to be gauche, but it's going to take a lot more than a pandemic to stop heavy metal.

Now go discuss the results.

The Best Alternative Metal Album

The Best Ambient / Drone / Noise Album

The Best Avantgarde / Experimental Metal Album

The Best Black Metal Album

The Best Death Metal Album

The Best Djent / Math Metal

The Best Doom Metal Album

The Best Extreme Doom Metal Album

The Best Extreme Progressive Metal Album

The Best Folk / Pagan / Viking Metal Album

The Best Gothic Metal Album

The Best Grindcore Album

The Best Hard Rock Album

The Best Hardcore / Metalcore / Deathcore

The Best Heavy / Melodic Metal Album

The Best Industrial / Cyber / Electronic Metal Album

The Best Melodeath / Extreme Power / Gothenburg Metal Album

The Best Melodic Black Metal Album

The Best Metalgaze Album

The Best Post-Metal Album

The Best Power Metal Album

The Best Progressive Metal Album

The Best Sludge Metal Album

The Best Stoner Metal Album

The Best Symphonic Metal Album

The Best Thrash Metal Album

Clandestine Cut Of The Year

The Best Album Artwork

The Best Cover Song

1. Allegaeon - Roundabout (Yes cover) 28
2. Oceans Of Slumber - Wolf Moon (Type O Negative cover) 23
3. Ihsahn - Manhattan Skyline (A-Ha cover) 15
  The Hu - Sad But True (Metallica cover) 15
5. Amaranthe - 82nd All The Way (Sabaton cover) 12
6. Mors Principium Est - Uprising (Muse cover) 11
  Crippled Black Phoenix - She's In Parties (Bauhaus cover) 11
8. Heads For The Dead - Transilvanian Hunger (Darkthrone cover) 10

The Best Debut Album

The Best DVD

The Best Video

1. Igorrr - Very Noise 16
2. Nightwish - Noise 11
  Anaal Nathrakh - Endarkenment 11
4. Oranssi Pazuzu - Uusi Teknokratia 10

The Biggest Letdown

1. Nightwish - Human. :II: Nature. 72
2. Metal Storm - Unable to connect to database 21
3. Ayreon - Transitus 20
  Dark Tranquillity - Moment 20
5. Covid-19 - Covid-19 17
6. Demons & Wizards - III 14
7. Lamb Of God - Lamb Of God 10
  Metallica - S&M 2 10

The Biggest Surprise

Drama Of The Year

1. Covid-19 - Covid-19 38
2. Children Of Bodom - Alexi Laiho Passing Away 26
3. Covid-19 - No live events, all tours and festivals cancelled/postponed 25
4. 2020 - everything 24
5. 2020 - Covid-19 15
6. Van Halen - The King / God / Eddie is dead 11
  Iced Earth - Jon Schaffer Rioting the Capitol 11
8. Trapt - Chris Brown vs everyone / Social Media Dumbassery / Twitter Meltdown / Feud with Power Trip 10