We invited some of our staff and collaborators to provide the list of the best of 2020. Let’s check it out now!
JACK – Promoter, Production Assistant
Best albums of 2020 (click here to zoom-in on the list only)
Best EPs of 2020
KIM – Promoter, Production Assistant
I’ll be honest, my attention to new releases this year have been truly lacking. With no shows since the beginning of the year and with what would have been my best year yet with The Invisible Orange, I’ve been in a slump and all over the place with my relationship to music. Some of the bands below were recommended to me by my roommate and I’ve been hooked since.
I look forward to what comes out of 2021!
Some of my favorite release of this year are:
- Spiritbox Constance and Holy Rolly (ft. Ryo Kinoshita)
- Carcosa – Absent EP
- Currents – The Way It Ends
- Within Temptation – The Purge
- Thy Art Is Murder – Killing Season
- August Burns Red – Guardians
- Polaris – The Death of Me – Favorite Song: Hypermania
- The Kodiak – Pink Miss
- Alpha Wolf – A Quiet Place To Die
The Hallowed Catharsis live stream at The Rickshaw Theatre was my favorite of the few I was able to watch. They’ve worked so hard and have been through many triumphs recently. The honestly kill it every single time.
I miss seeing all of your faces at shows and I hope to see them all again soon!
DANNY – Writer/Reviewer
Album of the Year
20. Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
19. Mors Principium Est – Seven
18. Finntroll – Vredesvavd
17. Dawn of Solace – Waves
16. Amaranthe – Manifest
15. Wytch Hazel – III: Pentecost
14. Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
13. The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
12. Falconer – From a Dying Ember
11. Ensiferum – Thallassic
10. Unleash the Archers – Abyss
9. All Time Low – Wake Up, Sunshine
8. Dark Tranquility – Moment
7. Scardust – Strangers
6. Nightwish – Human*
5. Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment
Extremity thrives on contrast, and the sledgehammer blows of Anaal’s blackened industrial
death metal land all the harder through the band’s increasing incorporation of sweet melody
through both expertly crafted power metal choruses and melodeath lead lines. Terrifying and
addictive in equal measures.
4. Katatonia – City Burials
Katatonia are the masters of melancholy progressive metal, and they haven’t put a foot wrong in
twenty years. City Burials sees the band shift away from the modern Opeth stylings of The Fall
of Hearts towards a tighter, more immediate sound, and the result is a record that hit me hard
on first spin and has only grown on me since.
3. Countless Skies – Glow
While the elevator pitch for Glow is straightforward (“Insomnium + Devin Townsend”), the
record’s real appeal lies in the record’s rich emotional textures. Countless Skies can dish
heaviness when needed, but the core of this record is its hugely uplifting sense of melody,
which hooks deep while never feeling poppy or cheap.
2. Draconian – Under a Godless Veil
Veil represents another step away from Draconian’s death-doom roots, with an increased
emphasis on atmosphere and texture over heaviness and aggression. The transition is
executed perfectly, with gorgeous melodies, rich lyrics, and one of the best vocalists in the
metal scene. If you have any interest in emotional, beautiful, entrancing metal, you need to hear
1. Seven Spires – Emerald Seas
An absolute masterclass in symphonic metal, Emerald Seas blends rich symphonics and
diverse soundscapes with some of the most phenomenal performances you’ll hear all year,
especially on drums and vocals. However, symphonic metal is ultimately about songwriting, and
the heart of the record is set of 11 memorable, tight, hooky, and beautiful songs, ranging from
sticky-sweet Disney-soundtrack material to Dimmu-styled blackened symphonics.
Song of the Year
10. The Strokes – Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus
9. Alestorm – Call of the Waves
8. My Dying Bridge – Your Broken Shore
7. Silverstein – September 14
6. All Time Low – Basement Noise
5. Onslaught – Strike Fast, Strike Hard
4. Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment
3. Salem – Destroy Me
2. Sojourner – Talas
1. Seven Spires – Unmapped Darkness
EP of the Year
3. My Dying Bride – Macabre Cabaret
2. Carcass – Despicable
1. Salem – Salem
DEREK – Production Assistant, Street Promo
Top albums – Metal ones!
- Skycrest by Iron Savior.
- 666 Goats Carry My Chariot by Bütcher.
- Premonition by Empress.
- Preyer by Ilsa.
- Soul Nebula by Mendozza.
Top albums – Non Metal!
- Here Lies by Astari Nite.
- Helmet Mounted Display by Chrome Corpse.
- Perfumes and Fripperies by The Wake.
- Loud Is Not Enough by Enemy Radio (Public Enemy).
- Agitprop Alterna by Peel Dream Magazine.
Here’s a link to my full list!
ALLAN – Graphic Design
- Album of the Year: Dark Tranquillity – Moment
- Runner Up: Katatonia – City Burials
- Livestream of the Year (metal): Devin Townsend – Empath Live Vol. 2: By Request (Sept 5)
- Livestream of the Year (non-metal): Bonus Stage – Virtual VGM Fest Ultimate (Nov 13-15)
ANA ISABEL – Video Ball Production Assistant
- Album of the Year (metal): Katatonia – City Burials
- Live Stream of the Year: Katatonia – Dead Air
- Merch of the year: It’s a tie between Katatonia hat and Katatonia pin
MAYO – Boss
Album of the Year:
#1 – Napalm Death – Throes of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism
The veterans make justice to the band that was once started with a completely different lineup, but with the exact same spirit. Napalm Death remind us with Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism why extreme metal was born: aggression, heaviness, experimentation, breaking boundaries, make thought and enjoy the process on top of all that. This is the sort of breakthrough I would have expected from a “new” band, instead, we have this group of old friends that have played together for decades to continue to push the limits of music and do not settle for a formula. Shoutout to Shane Embury who was really busy this year making albums as Dark Sky Burial, Venomous Concept and collaborating with Bent Sea.
2. Unleash the Archers – Abyss
3. Undergang – Aldrig i Livet
4. Wake – Devouring Ruin
5. Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Top 10 albums – EXTREME METAL
- Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (#1 Overall)
- Undergang – Aldrig i Livet (top Death Metal, #3 Overall)
- Wake – Devouring Ruin
- Tombs – Monarchy of Shadows (EP)
- Krallice – Mass Cathexis
- Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
- Skeletal Remains – The Entombment Of Chaos
- Nox Formulae – Drakon Darshan Satan (top Black Metal)
- Afsky – Ofte jeg drømmer mig død
- Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still
Top 5 albums – METAL (Melodic, Classic, Heavy, Progressive, Stoner, etc. – Except “Extreme”)
- Unleash the Archers – Abyss (#2 Overall)
- Paradise Lost – Obsidian
- Spell – Opulent Decay
- Katatonia – City Burials
- R.I.P. – Dead End
Top 5 albums – NON-METAL
- Vandal Moon – Black Kiss
- Tricky – Fall To Pieces
- Dark Sky Burial – De Omnibus Dubitandum Est
- The Weeknd – After Hours
- Master Boot Record – Floppy Disk Overdrive and VirtuaVerse.OST (ok, let’s make it six then)
Favourite Live Streams:
- Rotting Christ – Rumbo A Mexico Metal Fest MxMFV (July 18)
- Katatonia – Dead Air (May 9)
- Enslaved – Verftet Online Music Festival (April 1)
- Tribunal – Orange Sessions (July 5)
- Obituary – Live “Slowly We Rot” (October 17) and Live “Cause Of Death” (October 24)
To all our fans thank you. Let us know what were your favourite music releases and moments of 2020. We sincerely hope you gained something out of this year. Let’s keep this going, see you soon, and… raise your metal claw! \W/