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A Year In Metal - 2020: "Highlights" Through The Eyes Of The MS Staff, Elites, And Official Contributors


Written by: ScreamingSteelUS
Published: 24.01.2021


2020 is over, but we're not quite done with it just yet (nor is it done with you). With the next edition of the Metal Storm Awards on their way, it's time for us to think back to those 12 months and try to remember what the two or three good moments were and how they escaped the shredder.

As you can imagine, those of us in Metal Storm Towers have nothing better to do with our lives right now, so we've provided you with a few of our favorite (and least favorite) things from 2020 - and perhaps some things for you to look out for in the soon-to-come MSAs.

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Staff
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Abattoir

Favorite Album: Countless Skies - Glow
Best Home-Country Album: Mephistophelian - Anotos
Most Played Song: In Mourning - "The Black Lodge"
Most Promising Band: Pull Down The Sun, Fires In The Distance
Best Concert: Attended 6 gigs in 2020, so not much to choose from. Even though, I enjoyed Liam Gallagher in Vienna, I'm going with Bad Cop/Bad Cop concert. A classic punk-rock entertainment in a small, packed, sweaty place, with an intense 5 square mosh pit.
Biggest Disappointment: Not even worth mentioning.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Void.
And 2021?: Well, I'm sure we'll be privileged to get to listen some great new music, which is probably the only certain thing happening this year. Of course I hope for the revival of the concerts/touring, at least in the second half of the year. Otherwise I'll start taking some 'powerful vitamins' to suppress the symptoms of the heavy live event deprivation.






BitterCOld

Favorite Album: Enslaved - Utgard or Bütcher - 666 Goats Carry My Chariot whether feeling cerebral or punchy
Best Home-Country Album: Black Curse - Endless Wound
Most Played Song: Sleestak - "Black Iron Prison/Submerged" or "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun"
Best (and only) Concert: Los Cretinos, Ramones cover band playing the launch of a DIPA at Chelarte in Bogota. 30+ songs with half being deep cuts. After the show they got me a beer for standing on the table at the back of the bar and singing along. Got a great pic of me rocking "Johnny"'s wig, making me 'Gabba Gabba we accept you, one of us'.
Biggest Disappointment: Canceled World Tour. Not a band, my own.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Hoisting beers with D.T. in Colorado.
And 2021?: Maybe a gig? There are metal bars here. Really don't care so much as we sort this pandemic shit out by 2022.






Darkside Momo

Favorite Album: either Psychotic Waltz - The God-Shaped Void or the excellent Final Fantasy VII Remake soundtrack
Best Home-Country Album: only listened to Igorrr - Spirituality & Distortion, thankfully it's really good
Most Played Song: easily "Hollow Skies" out of the FFVIIR soundtrack
Best Concert: Three attended, including an excellent showcase (for professional music librarians) of regional bands where I discovered the fantastic Cuarteto Tafí, but the best was the Death Angel / Testament / Exodus one
Biggest Disappointment: as far as I'm concerned, 2020 could have been worse. Music-wise, it saddens me to say that Dark Tranquillity's Moment, while harboring some really great songs, definitely couldn't live up to Atoma.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Getting out of depression for good?
And 2021?: Moar of everything, hopefully. Enslaved in Paris would be great, the Motocultor festival too... And the new Moonspell sounds promising so far






Ivor

Favorite Album: It took me a while to pick Pure Reason Revolution's Eupnea, I was so afraid of being disappointed with it. Frankly, it scores second after their debut album. They've matured in their songwriting a lot. Other favorites are no less worthy: Jonathan Hultén - Chants From Another Place, Hedvig Mollestad - Ekhidna, Blues Pills - Holy Moly!, Thy Catafalque - Naiv
Most Played Song: Rather most memorable ones: Hedvig Mollestad - "Antilone", Blues Pills - "Low Road", Jonathan Hultén - "Where Devils Weep", Thy Catafalque - "Szélvész"
Best Concert: There was only one concert, so Swallow The Sun reaps the reward.
Biggest Disappointment: Surprisingly okay given the circumstances. Just general disappointment with how the world is handling itself. And I shouldn't be surprised but I am disappointed with Ayreon's latest, more with the singers to be precise, not even I think this album is much worth. Instrumental part of it is semi-decent.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Not sure there are any.
And 2021?: It appears that decision to go for another round of school about a year and a half ago has turned out to be a good way of keeping sane. Studying arts has been fun so far.






Milena

Favorite Album: I just know I'm going to change my mind and bug SSUS about editing this, but I'm gonna give it to Pain Of Salvation's Panther.
Best Home-Country Album: Let's go with something from my other home country - Green Carnation had a fantastic comeback, you guys.
Most Played Song: Queen was on a 24/7 schedule to cheer me up, and "Nevermore" always got a repeat play because it's so short.
Most Promising Band: I'm extremely excited about Mariana Semkina having a solo project.
Best Concert: I've watched all the live streams you watched and then some, and had the best time with my Finnish faves Sonata Arctica, Insomnium and Amorphis. It's not as good as the real thing, obviously, but some of the elements are still present - the pre-show jitters are strong, text chatter with friends can replace shouting in their ear, and a good frontman can connect through a video link. That being said, I want real shows.
Biggest Disappointment: The pandemic being only the third or fourth worst thing that happened to me this year.
Metal Moment Of 2020: People have finally figured out Taylor Swift is great.
And 2021?: I might just blast "Painkiller" on my way to get vaccinated. I don't expect shows to return before winter, but if they do...






nikarg

Favorite Album: Anaal Nathrakh - Endarkenment. Full list of favourites here.
Best Home-Country Album: Hail Spirit Noir - Eden In Reverse.
Most Played Song: "Rune's Heart" by Panopticon.
Most promising band: Sweven.
Best Concert: Birdflesh - Live in Athens in February. It's not like I attended many.
Biggest Disappointment: A world with masks. A world without concerts.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Not being locked inside a single day. And surviving despite that.
And 2021?: Hopefully, a world without masks. And a world with concerts. And better people... yeah, that would be nice.






ScreamingSteelUS

Favorite Album: Myrkur - Folkesange; Majestica - A Christmas Carol
Best Home-Country Album: Afterbirth - Four Dimensional Flesh
Most Played Song: Alestorm - "Shit Boat (No Fans)"; Anaal Nathrakh - "Endarkenment"; Majestica - "Ghost Of Marley"; System Of A Down - "Protect The Land"; Falconer - "Kings And Queens"
Most Promising Band: Neptunian Maximalism; Bütcher
Best Concert: Uhhh.... well, I guess Opeth by default, because it was the only show I went to this year. It was a great show anyway, of course.
Biggest Disappointment: You mean aside from the pandemic destroying everything, my country going completely off the rails in every conceivable respect, my job continuing to do its best to kill me, my planned international travels being demoted to "future aspirations," losing my much-anticipated first Judas Priest show to lockdown, and realizing that everything that went wrong in 2020 is merely a symptom of much deeper problems endemic to human civilization that can neither be overwritten by something as arbitrary as a change of calendar year nor be rectified with a mere vaccine or handover of administration? Probably my Violet Evergarden box set being delayed. Other than that, it was okay.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Interviewing Freddy Lim for the second time, and via Skype rather than e-mail.
And 2021?: Hell if I know. Hopefully the Violet Evergarden movie. Plus Dragon Maid season 2. The rest can just boil in acid.






Troy Killjoy

Favorite Album: Panzerfaust - The Suns Of Perdition - Chapter II: Render Unto Eden
Best Home-Country Album: See above. Honorable mentions: Wake, Atramentus, Raider, and Völur.
Most Played Song: Likely "Aggressor" by Vredehammer or "Tsitsushka" by Thy Catafalque, since I'm probably not allowed to list the entirety of The Suns Of Perdition...
Most promising band: Cryptic Shift and Atramentus have huge debuts to follow up, but I'm also anticipating how Sunken and Wormhole progress, and to track Cytotoxin's sustainability.
Best Concert: Nothing to report from 2020 aside from the utter dismay at the Cult Of Luna show being canceled because of the Ronasaurus Rex, but I've watched Baroness live at Westend Festival 2013 on Youtube like 6 times if that counts.
Biggest Disappointment: Nothing personally; I don't really have expectations when it comes to music. Anathema essentially disbanding was difficult to process for a minute though. On the flip side, I worked my ass off and got promoted, started making progress and saw some big gains with swing trading, and discovered some great music. It makes me feel a little guilty to say that it was one of the best years of my life.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Listening to The Maniacal Vale and Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness on acid.
And 2021?: Between trading and tripping, I'll be flying to the moon, baby.



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Elites
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Mr. Doctor

Favorite Album: Tough one. For metal I'd say Ulcerate - Stare Into Death And Be Still and Imperial Triumphant - Alphaville. For less metal I'd say Ulver - Flowers Of Evil and Respire - Black Line
Best Home-Country Album: Poema Arcanus - Stardust Solitude
Most Played Song: I "danced" alone a lot to Ulver - "Russian Doll".
Most Promising Band: Neptunian Maximalism if they keep producing quality bat-shit crazy music. Also Kaatayra and Aztlan for incorporating incredible acoustic music into their metal.
Best Concert: Only attended two shows before Covid-19 hit the stage. Best one was definitely King Dude in March. Extra points for being the very day the Swedish goverment placed the restrictions for large gatherings. Perfect timing.
Biggest Disappointment: Really? People and Covid-19. Double fucked due to the fact I work as a radiographer.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Not getting covid and celebrating Metalstorm's 20th birthday!
And 2021?: Getting infected on the very first day of the year. And fortunately kicked the shit out of it after a week in solitude.






musclassia

Favorite Album: It turned out to a re-release rather than an original 2020 release, but Psychonaut - Unfold The God Man; if I have to stick to albums released this year, I guess Elder - Omens.
Best Home-Country Album: Surprisingly not Sylosis; Cycle Of Suffering is my most-played album from this year, but being honest, I do think Pure Reason Revolution - Eupnea is a stronger album.
Most Played Song: Of songs released in 2020, probably either Dance Gavin Dance - "Prisoner" or something from Cycle Of Suffering (my bet is "Apex Of Disdain"); including songs released in any year, Coheed & Cambria's "The Crowing" was a staple of my running playlists during lockdown.
Most Promising Band: Considering how little impact the one album I'd previously listened to them had made, I was floored by both of Wake's 2020 releases, with Confluence arguably even better than the already-excellent Devouring Ruin.
Best Concert: I'm very glad Sylosis arranged their comeback show for very early in the year; the Testament show a couple of weeks before lockdowns started was very fun too.
Biggest Disappointment: Aside from the postponement of Roadburn, ArcTanGent and what would've been the first times I saw Spaceslug and High On Fire live? You'd think it might the fact that the pandemic prevented my band's debut album from dropping in 2020, or the death of my grandfather, but I think just the collective disappointment in humanity as a whole in 2020 is the biggest disappointment.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Making it through the year without catching Covid or losing my sanity was fairly good.
And 2021?: Early signs aren't good, but it would be nice if it was slightly better than 2020.






RaduP

Favorite Album: Neptunian Maximalism - Eons and Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure
Best Home-Country Album: Descend Into Despair - Opium
Most Played Song: Jessie Ware - "What's Your Pleasure", Roisin Murphy - "Jealousy", Lianne La Havas - "Read My Mind"
Most Promising Band: Neptunian Maximalism
Best Concert: Slipknot in February, but mostly because of the trip, not the concert itself.
Biggest Disappointment: Isn't it obvious? Probably the one that hurts the most is not getting to see the reunited Ved Buens Ende.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Bandcamp taking a stand for musicians while Spotify keeps getting worse.
And 2021?: Some hope would be nice.





Starvynth

Favorite Album: Sweven - The Eternal Resonance
Best Home-Country Album: 2020 has been a pretty bad year for metal made in Germany and I'm struggling hard to recall more than a handful of good or at least decent albums. However, I'm regularly revisiting Dahlian's Moonlit as it can somehow shine through the tangled thickets of last year's mediocrity.
Most Played Song: "Industrial Sonnet For The Wartime Malaise" by Phantom Hymn
Most promising band: Wills Dissolve
Best Concert: There's a serpent in every Eden | slick as grease and cold as ice | there's a trick question in every survey | rest assured to fool you twice
Biggest Disappointment: People. And Dark Tranquillity's Moment.
Metal Moment Of 2020: Smuggling a kitten from Croatia to Germany and passing three national borders in the midst of a global pandemic without getting caught.
And 2021?: 2021 will most probably go down in history as the year of steadily lowered expectations, so let's better expect the worst as long as its cause is beyond our control and let's try to enjoy the little things in life instead. Little things, like small gigs. Maybe one or two of them and nearby. Yeah, that would be nice.



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Official Contributors
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omne metallum

Favorite Album: Phoenix by Dirty Loops or Titans Of Creation by Testament if we're talking metal
Best Home-Country Album: Bleed From Within Fracture
Most Played Song: "Hanging On The Telephone" Antillectual
Most Promising Band: Fires In The Distance, hell of a debut album.
Best Concert: HRH Metal, only managed to make three this year so slim pickings haha
Biggest Disappointment: Covidiots and Covid Cancelled concerts
Metal Moment Of 2020: Personally? Getting to meet Ripper Owens. In General? Livestreaming has come on leaps and bounds I guess.
And 2021?: The Return of live music (hopefully)






teamster

Favorite Album: Dawnwalker - Ages
Best Home-Country Album: Hum - Inlet
Most Played Song: The Basement Paintings - "Instinct"
Most Promising Band: Sons Of A Wanted Man
Best Concert: Watching Voivod live studio stream in August
Biggest Disappointment: The passing of Neil Peart
Metal Moment Of 2020: No matter how bad it was in the real world, I could always fall back on my music. Apple Music and Bandcamp my biggest crutch.
And 2021?: Let's keep it about music. Can't wait for releases from Lantlôs, Coroner, Atoma, Fen, Bossk






tominator

Favorite Album: Paradise Lost - Obsidian
Best Home-Country Album: Schizophrenia - Voices
Most Played Song: 2020 songs? 4 come to mind: Paradise Lost - "Darker Thoughts", Demons & Wizards - "Diabolic", Dynazty - "Heartless Madness" and A Life Divided - "Hello Emptiness"
Most Promising Band: Asian Death Crustacean
Best Concert: Only one I got the chance to see in 2020 was Sabaton. By lack of anything else, do my live "singing" sessions under the shower count?
Biggest Disappointment: Some peoples behaviour during a year where a pandemic was raging. Music wise? That garbage Lucid Dreaming album with its gorgeous and inviting cover.
Metal Moment Of 2020: I can't really think of one to be honest. Maybe System Of A Down remembering that they are a band, and that writing music is a part of that?
And 2021?: We'll see, I guess. There isn't that much perspective for 2021. Hopefully things get better towards the 2nd half of the year.



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Bad English
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Bad English

Favorite Album: To many to say, but those are what I liked most. AC/DC - Power Up, Biff Byford - School Of Hard Knocks and Demons & Wizards - III, Trident - North, Cirith Ungol - Forever Black, Death The Leveller - II, Dwarrowdelf - Evenstar, Finntroll - Vredesvävd, The Wizar'd - Subterranean Exile, also Mörk Gryning, Tyrant, Ivanhoe, and Vanden Plas
Best Home-Country Album: Home country: few suprises, maybe bets year so far for new albums. Oghre - Grimt, Saturn's Husk - The Conduit, Urbix - Laika Dzeloņdrātīs and Frailty - Tumi Ūdeņi
Current location: I chose few local bands from the north, since northen Sweden is true. Reaper's Mark - The Sick Man's Farewell, Kvaen - The Funeral Pyre, Mörk Gryning - Hinsides Vrede
Most Played Song: Dunno
Most Promising Band: Kvaen, Hjelvik and Marko Hietala
Best Concert: None
Biggest Disappointment: Nightwish, Myrkur, Stryper, Testament, British Lion, Six Degrees Of Separation, S-Tool, Raven, Ozzy Osbourne, Unleash The Archers
Metal Moment Of 2020: Hellenic black metal scene, swedish scene, 50K and Ms 20 years article
And 2021?: same old keep om being online, doing as much as I can and listen new albums and be promoted to Staff







Written on 24.01.2021 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 18   Visited by: 263 users
24.01.2021 - 01:20
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
What? BE is staff now?

He made it!!
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Growing up is the worst. I hope I never do it.
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24.01.2021 - 01:25
Darkside Momo
Retired
Written by Karlabos on 24.01.2021 at 01:20

What? BE is staff now?

He made it!!

Look better

He's not
Quote:

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Staff
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but he sure is
Quote:

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Bad English
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----
My Author's Blog (in French)


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
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24.01.2021 - 01:25
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Karlabos on 24.01.2021 at 01:20

What? BE is staff now?

He made it!!

Not exactly, but we did agree to let him contribute to the highlights article. He'd usually be the first to comment with his picks here anyway.
----
"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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24.01.2021 - 01:27
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
I almost felt proud of him for a sec.
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Growing up is the worst. I hope I never do it.
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24.01.2021 - 06:29
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Yet another reminder to change my picture from... eight years ago? Oops.

Here's hoping everyone's 2021 aspirations come to fruition and that Kevin's taste in music, defying all odds, improves somehow.
----
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
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24.01.2021 - 15:27
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by Troy Killjoy on 24.01.2021 at 06:29

Yet another reminder to change my picture from... eight years ago

You Teenager, now its time grow some beerd
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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24.01.2021 - 16:21
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Dark side why were you depressed? I am all the time and I am happy if I am depressed

Starvynth to me it was good year in German metal hehe
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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24.01.2021 - 18:10
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by Bad English on 24.01.2021 at 16:21
I am happy if I am depressed

You really are bad at English, man.
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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
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24.01.2021 - 18:14
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
Written by Troy Killjoy on 24.01.2021 at 18:10

Written by Bad English on 24.01.2021 at 16:21
I am happy if I am depressed

You really are bad at English, man.

Wait, what if he meant it?
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Growing up is the worst. I hope I never do it.
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24.01.2021 - 18:20
doez
Hallucigenia
I really like the fact that BE got his own category, the man's too unique to be anywhere else
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An album rated 6 is an album I enjoyed
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24.01.2021 - 23:13
Metren
Dreadrealm
This was a fun read and also a clear sign that I need to start properly listening to metal again, I've barely heard/have an opinion on any of the albums mentioned in the article.

Also, congratulations to Bad English for being featured in the article as a Bad English under the category Bad English. You've earned that spot with years of hard work, man!
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My one-man project's Bandcamp with free downloads: https://dreadrealm.bandcamp.com/
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24.01.2021 - 23:48
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by Metren on 24.01.2021 at 23:13

This was a fun read and also a clear sign that I need to start properly listening to metal again, I've barely heard/have an opinion on any of the albums mentioned in the article.

Also, congratulations to Bad English for being featured in the article as a Bad English under the category Bad English. You've earned that spot with years of hard work, man!

Man check out my list from 2020 and listen each of those albums.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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26.01.2021 - 07:32
tintinb

To be fair mate, that would take us atleasr two years.
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Leeches everywhere.
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26.01.2021 - 14:54
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
Written by tintinb on 26.01.2021 at 07:32

To be fair mate, that would take us atleasr two years.

Well, not really. "checking out" is different than "listening to"
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Growing up is the worst. I hope I never do it.
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28.01.2021 - 18:42
Aries Rising

Who do I have to bribe to join this elite club and can I pay in GameStop and/or AMC stock?
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28.01.2021 - 18:57
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Aries Rising on 28.01.2021 at 18:42

GameStop and/or AMC stock?

That will only be a possibility if we have some certainty that the hedge funds will not successfully lobby some favorable regulations.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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28.01.2021 - 19:12
Aries Rising

Written by RaduP on 28.01.2021 at 18:57

Written by Aries Rising on 28.01.2021 at 18:42

GameStop and/or AMC stock?

That will only be a possibility if we have some certainty that the hedge funds will not successfully lobby some favorable regulations.

Oh you know that they have a plethora of politicians in their back pockets, probably the President too. It looks like we might see the death of the illusion of the free market in my country because of this, unless this weird coalition of far-left and far-right figures banding together to try and save the free market. 2021 is looking like it will the WW2 to the WW1 that was 2020.
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29.01.2021 - 22:11
sgtrobo

Looking forward to my first end of year awards

tons of fantastic metal released this year, to say the least
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