2020


The silver lining to the year of Covid is metal bands seem to have had plenty of inspiration. It was very strong year for black metal and a strong year overall. A bit weak in the death metal category but still some gems to be found. Recommendations and comments are always welcome. Enjoy.

Created by: Neachy | 06.02.2020



1. Atramentus - Stygian
(9.5) (Funeral Doom) Seek not immortality. Wilt and die.
2. Evaporated Sores - Ulcerous Dimensions
(9.5) (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.
3. Ulcerate - Stare Into Death And Be Still
(9.5) (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.
4. Guignol Noir - Mantric Malediction
(9) (Black) Every so often something that would otherwise appear to be run of the mill DsO/Schammasch style black metal turns out to be one of the most addictive experiences of the year. This happens to be one of those instances. These guys have a knack for captivating riffs, catchy basslines and outstanding vocals. Across 11 tracks the album never loses steam but rather re-engages the listener again and again by upping the ante with unique hooky riffs that still manage to sit comfortably in the genre of black metal.
5. HWWAUOCH - Protest Against Sanity
(9) (Psychedelic Black) November 18 marked the date of another explosion of bonkers releases from the Prava Kollectiv. At this point Prava>BTC. HWWAUOCH is my favorite of the projects. The basslines are sick af and the atmosphere is batshit insane. Love this project.
6. Hail Spirit Noir - Eden In Reverse
(9) (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.
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. Neptunian Maximalism - Éons
(9) (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.
9. 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.
10. Skáphe - Skáphe³
(8.5) (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.
11. Ars Magna Umbrae - Apotheosis
(8.5) (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.
12. Akhlys - Melinoë
(8.5) (Black) A second glimpse into the night terrors of Naas expressed as black metal proves to be an even more cohesive and disturbing opus than 2015's debut.
13. Ondskapt - Grimoire Ordo Devus
(8.5) (Black) As if the year in black metal hasn't been great enough, we get the return of Ondskapt. If you're a fan Misþyrming's first album, this will be right up your alley. Black metal with death metal sensibilities.
14. Undergang - Aldrig I Livet
(8.5) (Death) Follows in the rich tradition of slightly doomy, disgusting death metal. Late contender for Death metal album of the year in an otherwise weak year for the subgenre.
15. Wayfarer - A Romance With Violence
(8) (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.
16. Abigor - Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook)
(8) (Black) One of the more unique and distinctive black metal bands since the mid 90s. These guys still have it.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Tyrant (USA-CA) - Hereafter
(8) (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.
20. Dodenbezweerder - Vrees De Toorn Van De Wezens Verscholen Achter Majestueuze Vleugels
(8) (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.
21. Dkharmakhaoz - Proclamation Ov The Black Suns
(8) (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.
22. Prometheus - Resonant Echoes From Cosmos Of Old
(8) (Cosmic Black/Death) Make it through the first track like "yeah this is ok" and start to think of looking for the next thing to listen to. Once the cosmic/ambient vibes start to kick in, this thing ramps up to the next level. Be patient with this one and it pays off.
23. 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.
24. Decoherence - Unitarity
(8) (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.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. Silver Knife - Unyielding / Unseeing
(8) (Atmospheric/Depressive Black) Melancholic yet uptempo. Beautiful yet properly black. Top notch.
29. 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.
30. Draconian - Under A Godless Veil
(8) (Gothic Doom) This is easily the best I've heard Draconian sound.
31. Lamp Of Murmuur - Heir Of Ecliptical Romanticism
(8) (Black) Raw, old school aesthetic with plenty of melody to keep it all together. You've seen the hype. Maybe not THAT good but well worth the time for a listen or ten.
32. Urfaust - Teufelsgeist
(8) (Black/Doom/Ambient) Urfaust has a sound uniquely their own. If I had to get in the ballpark of their sound, I would say think of the black/doom of TRoB and the Black/Ambient of LoC. Doesn't really get very close, but there are definite moments/tracks I'm reminded of each on this album.
33. Second To Sun - Leviathan
(8) (Black) Really crisp and aggressive modern black metal with some good subtle melody.
34. 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.
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. Pure Reason Revolution - Eupnea
(7.5) (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.
38. Jupiterian - Protosapien
(7.5) (Sludge/Doom) Ok, Brazil, I see you. Damn fine sludge doom.
39. Void Rot - Descending Pillars
(7.5) (Death Doom) Very good and well executed but lacking enough unique character to push it into greatness.
40. Mahr - Maelstrom
(7.5) (Psychedelic Black) Swirling madness befitting of the year of our lord 2020. This is one of black metals best years.
41. Nexion - Seven Oracles
(7.5) (Black) This has that now fairly well established Icelandic sound in the vein of Svartidaudi. This thing rips though.
42. Necrot - Mortal
(7.5) (Death) A standout from a down year for death metal.
43. Ill Tidings - Signa Tenebris
(7.5) (Black) More terrific black metal from 2020.
44. Amnutseba - Emanatism
(7.5) (Experimental Black) Disjointed but has exceptional moments.
45. Spirit Possession - Spirit Possession
(7.5) Black/Heavy
46. Black Curse - Endless Wound
(7.5) Death
47. Eternal Champion - Ravening Iron
(7.5) US Power/Heavy
48. Black Vice - The Alchemist's Vision
(7.5) Black/Post
49. Khthoniik Cerviiks - Æequiizoiikum
(7.5) Black/Death/Thrash
50. Master Boot Record - Floppy Disk Overdrive
(7.5) Synth Metal



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: 15   Visited by: 111 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
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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.
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"If people kept things simple, there would be no discoveries 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 sci
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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
Nasha Vich Paisa
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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18.11.2020 - 18:26
quieted_darkness

Hey there. Have you checked out "Doldrum - The Knocking"? It's just a demo but I figured it may be something up your alley.
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"If people kept things simple, there would be no discoveries 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 sci
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18.11.2020 - 20:00
Neachy

Written by quieted_darkness on 18.11.2020 at 18:26

Hey there. Have you checked out "Doldrum - The Knocking"? It's just a demo but I figured it may be something up your alley.

I've passed it by a few times on Bandcamp but haven't listened. I'll check it out. Thanks!
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27.01.2021 - 20:35
Evil Cooper

Well, finding here so many albums that make my Top 30 (or that were very close to do it), I realize I have to check out some stuff I've never heard about. In any case, great list, man!
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31.01.2021 - 22:46
Neachy

Written by Evil Cooper on 27.01.2021 at 20:35

Well, finding here so many albums that make my Top 30 (or that were very close to do it), I realize I have to check out some stuff I've never heard about. In any case, great list, man!

Thanks! Hope you find something you like. Our tastes must be somewhat similar with how many great things you have in your top 30. Cheers!
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05.02.2021 - 23:51
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Juist checked 33...really good. Right up my alley.
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rekt
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