2020: Jul-Dec

Just about finished the first half of the year without losing too much to the character limit; I have learnt to make these list descriptions increasingly pithy

Created by: musclassia | 01.07.2020

1. Enslaved - Utgard
[9.0] - Enslaved undergo arguably their greatest stylistic shift in a decade and put out something that feels new for them whilst still retaining all that makes them great.
2. Wills Dissolve - Echoes
[9.0] - Hugely enjoyable extreme prog song-album odyssey.
3. Wayfarer - A Romance With Violence
[8.8] - Another excellent atmos-black record from possibly my favourite currently active atmos-black band.
4. Aversio Humanitatis - Behold The Silent Dwellers
[8.6] - I hear a lot of Schammasch in their sound, as well as a decent amount of Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, and anyone who knows my tastes will know that that is by no means a bad thing.
5. Neptunian Maximalism - Éons
[8.5] - Who knew one day I would be this captivated by psychedelic drone jazz? Despite the colossal length, this is pretty spectacular.
6. Pull Down The Sun - Of Valleys And Mountains
[8.4] - Really fine prog/metalcore/post/+ album with The Ocean and Gojira vibes.
7. The Ocean - Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic / Cenozoic
[8.4] - Missing both the consistent excellence and peak brilliance (The Great Dying) of part 1, but still one of the strongest releases this year, even if Psychonaut did kinda beat them.
8. Thurisaz - Re-Incentive
[8.3] - Quality atmospheric progressive meloblack, with a variety of approaches and plenty of evocative feels in the music.
9. Khors - Where The Word Acquires Eternity
[8.3] - Really nice meloblack, with some really nice guitar solos, hooky riffs and decent use of keyboards in the background.
10. Deadwood Tree - Mourn
[8.3] - Very strong post-metal, occasional hints of Amenra (Spire) but also cover other similarly compelling territory.
11. Motorpsycho - The All Is One
[8.3] - Pretty excellent prog rock album, has a lot of classic elements (particularly Yes), but in a modern setting - the long song Night Of Pan is incredible, particularly with its very extended percussive build-up in its second half.
12. Gaerea - Limbo
[8.3] - Successful follow-up to their hyped debut, with some nice melancholic melodic stuff amidst the rest of the black metal.
13. Jaga Jazzist - Pyramid
[8.3] - Really enjoyable psychedelic/progressive/space rock/jazz fusion sound, with four luscious and rewarding long tracks to get stuck into.
14. Keleketla! - Keleketla!
[8.2] - Really enjoyable multinational collaboration, with elements of Afrobeat, jazz, electronica, soul, hip-hop and more within an engrossing package.
15. Kaatayra - Só Quem Viu O Relâmpago À Sua Direita Sabe
[8.2] - Black metal on acoustic guitars, elevated further by the use of Brazilian folk music and percussion, really captivating release.
16. Nug - Alter Ego
[8.2] - Quality post-metal debut full-length, with influence from The Ocean but also a solid djent side to their sound.
17. Pain Of Salvation - Panther
[8.2] - The electronics have taken more of a central role in a major reinvention from the sound of ITPLOD, but unsurprisingly the band pull off another sonic shift with aplomb.
18. Anaal Nathrakh - Endarkenment
[8.2] - Frantic yet super-melodic, this is huge fun.
19. Vous Autres - Sel De Pierre
[8.2] - More industrial black sludge goodness from these Frenchies.
20. Wake - Confluence
[8.2] - Second great release this year from Wake, really good use of post-rock amidst the death metal on this EP.
21. Rival Consoles - Articulation
[8.2] - Really enjoyable downtempo electronic record that really shines in its subtler first half.
22. Decoherence - Unitarity
[8.2] - Excellent industrial black metal record with some sensational moments (including the outro to Equilibrium Unreached).
23. The Reticent - The Oubliette
[8.2] - Strong follow-up to the emotional wrecking ball that was On The Eve Of A Goodbye, this time focused on the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease.
24. Protest The Hero - Fabula & Syuzhet
[8.2] - Two quality tracks that missed the cut of a quality album; probably would have had at least Duelling Cavalier on Palimpsest ahead of a couple that made that record.
25. Luna's Call - Void
[8.2] - Really solid extreme prog effort with crunch and quirks.
26. Panzerfaust - The Suns Of Perdition - Chapter II: Render Unto Eden
[8.2] - Richly atmospheric post-metal-heavy black metal record.
27. Fren - Where Do You Want Ghosts to Reside
[8.2] - Very nice prog rock album with emotional peaks, whether via the jazz piano on Pleonasm or Pink Floyd-esque ending to Heavy Matter.
28. Throane - Une Balle Dans Le Pied
[8.2] - Top-notch industrial BM song.
29. Greg Foat - Symphonie Pacifique
[8.2] - A pretty excellent follow-up to last year's The Mage; a couple of horrible sax solos aren't ideal, but the chillout vibe of a lot of it, particularly towards the end of the record, is serene.
30. Autonoesis - Autonoesis
[8.1] - Really impressive combination of thrash alongside aspects of black and death, plus the odd 80s Arena rock or prog moment; the solos rule hard.
31. Cloudkicker - Solitude
[8.1] - Quite gnarly earlier on, but has some really lovely stuff later on, e.g. Off His Way.
32. Raven Throne - Viartańnie
[8.1] - Some really effective Infestus-esque atmosblack that also gets good use out of electronics.
33. Backxwash - God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
[8.1] - A brief but intense experience, the pulsating bass beats give a sinister menace to most of these songs, which is amplified on the tracks with distorted vocals. The Black Sabbath samples and Faith No More-esque vocals on Spells probably also help this hip-hop record resonate with me, but even without them this would be a compelling listen.
34. Prison Of Mirrors - De Ritualibus Et Sacrificiis Ad Serviendum Abysso
[8.1] - Ripping black metal, quality riffs and big sound, managing to keep long songs (one runs beyond 20 minutes) consistently gripping.
35. Judicator - Let There Be Nothing
[8.1] - Credit it where it's due, there's not many power metal albums that I truly enjoy when listening to, but this Blind Guardian-inspired US power metal band put out another great album with great Hansi-style vocal harmonies.
36. Airbag - A Day At The Beach
[8.1] - Another quality prog rock album, at times leans towards Porcupine Tree, other times towards the Steve Rothery solo album from a few years ago.
37. Manticora - To Live To Kill To Live
[8.1] - Quality prog/power release with memorable riffs, soaring vocals and compelling song structures. Takes hints from heavier genres (e.g. melodeath) in some riffs, without ever spilling over into extremity.
38. Fires In The Distance - Echoes From Deep November
[8.1] - Very enjoyable melodeath/doom sound, with infectious synths and guitar melodies.
39. Kall - Brand
[8.1] - I've seen Kall labeled as 'black n' roll' in one or two places; maybe 5% of their sound on certain tracks could be that, but it's drowned under psychedelia, jazz and more, particularly in the more convoluted compositions that comprise the second half of the tracklist.
40. Synovial - Song Of Silver
[8.1] - Really good proggy metalcore, with twisting songs, good vocal hooks and strong musicianship.
41. Dahlian - Moonlit
[8.1] - Impressive and ambitious progressive death debut album with a bunch of lengthy tracks that owe some debt to Opeth without being excessively similar.
42. - Entity
[8.1] - Strong depressive black metal with good use of clean vocals and effective guitar work.
43. GoGo Penguin - GoGo Penguin
[8.1] - Really satisfying smooth piano-driven jazz record.
44. Skáphe - Skáphe³
[8.1] - What a redemption story considering how much I hated Skaphe2; it has dissonance and fury, but also some nice atmospheric inclinations.
45. DGM - Tragic Separation
[8.1] - SymX/Pagan's Mind-esque, 80's-influenced prog - melodic and moving.
46. Necrophobic - Dawn Of The Damned
[8.1] - The Infernal Depths Of Eternity is a cracker of a track.
47. Havukruunu - Uinuos Syömein Sota
[8.1] - Very fun black/pagan release; goes pretty hard on the black metal side but manages to get plenty of pagan-style melody in there. Just a very fun listen.
48. Aseitas - False Peace
[8.1] - Positively vulgar mixture of death and sludge, with frantic intensity, cavernous grime, abrasive noise, and occasional moments of atmosphere and levity. Very impressive, albeit a bit overlong for this type of oppressive sound.
49. Montaña Sagrada - The Living Green
[8.1] - Very impressive debut from this Chilean project featuring ex-members of projects such as Mar De Grises, compelling mix of death metal with atmospheric, occasional symphonic and other elements.
50. Wren - Groundswells
[8.0] - At the sludgier end of the post-metal spectrum, with some fairly bludgeoning moments, but also some nice atmospheric stretches too.
51. Umbilicus Necis - Confine Astratto
[8.0] - Really good post-black, lots of aggression but nice atmospheres and occasional lulls.
52. Draconian - Under A Godless Veil
[8.0] - Another solid effort from these Gothic doom pros.
53. Wintaar - There Is No God In War
[8.0] - Effective combination of different black metal styles, particularly those more melodic ones, that really comes into its own as the album progresses.
54. Falconer - From A Dying Ember
[8.0] - Really good power metal; I don't know if the muted vocal approach is necessarily the best approach in terms of intensity but it does at least give the band a unique feel.
55. Teramaze - I Wonder
[8.0] - Bit long for its own good, but with enough quality material to remain enjoyable through.
56. Exocrine - Maelstrom
[8.0] - Occasionally leans into the excesses of tech-death, but mostly a very enjoyable prog/tech-death album with nice melodic parts.
57. Rikard Sjoblom's Gungfly - Alone Together
[8.0] - Some more lovely prog rock from this year; not quite as good as a couple of releases above it in this list, but On The Shoulders Of Giants is a great closer.
58. Ixion - L'Adieu Aux Etoiles
[8.0] - More well-constructed doom akin to Monolithe with good use of electronics/symphonics.
59. Void Rot - Descending Pillars
[8.0] - Ripping doomy death metal, lots of buzzsaw riff but at a more spacious, mid-ranged tempo.
60. Shedfromthebody - A Dead And Aimless Hum
[8.0] - Bleaker, richer in sound and more entrancing than the other downbeat female singer/songwriter/guitarist acts that have been coming through recently.
61. Rezn - Chaotic Divine
[8.0] - Nice use of saxophone on this stoner doom record.
62. Crippled Black Phoenix - Ellengæst
[8.0] - Another cool rendition of their unique combination of 80s new wave, modern indie, post-rock, prog and other influences.
63. Dynfari - Myrkurs Er Þörf
[8.0] - Really nice atmos-black/post-rock hybrid, slightly let down at times by the vocals but otherwise great.
64. Idris Ackamoor - Shaman!
[8.0] - Perhaps a bit too long, but very vibrant afro-jazz record.
65. Cult Of Lilith - Mara
[8.0] - A bit too tech-deathy for my tastes at times, but outside of those bits it's imaginative, ambitious and entertaining.
66. Ars Magna Umbrae - Apotheosis
[8.0] - Leans into the dissonant chaotic BM style earlier on, but becomes a bit more atmospheric as the album progresses; it pulls off both approaches very well.
67. Azure Emote - The Third Perspective
[8.0] - An exuberant but not chaotic extreme prog album with some really interesting use of keyboards/electronics; not entirely convinced about the more extreme elements but the rest of it was enjoyable and fairly unique-sounding.
68. Mora Prokaza - By Chance
[8.0] - Intensely creative avant-garde black metal release with major trap/hip-hop influences seamlessly infused into their sound.
69. October Falls - A Fall Of An Epoch
[8.0] - Effectively composed and moving atmos-black record, with nice melodies, folky acoustic interludes, Pagan hints in some of the riffing, and an effective atmosphere developed in large part by the percussion.
70. Black Crown Initiate - Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
[8.0] - Strong third effort by this extreme prog group.
71. Atavistia - The Winter Way
[8.0] - Wintersun worship, but very enjoyable Wintersun worship.
72. Cytotoxin - Nuklearth
[8.0] - Ended up liking this brutal/grindy death metal album more than I expected; the onslaught of blasting early on got a bit much, but it had hints of Cattle Decap that elevated those moments, and the solos in the title track and melancholic soft instrumental outro piece made for a strong conclusion.
73. Khthoniik Cerviiks - Æequiizoiikum
[8.0] - Quirky, off-kilter DM done well.
74. Funeral Leech - Death Meditation
[8.0] - Chunky doomy death with satisfying riffs.
75. Dyssidia - Costly Signals
[8.0] - Interesting and effective prog release with regular flirtations with more extreme territory, which aren't always quite as convincing, but the cleaner parts are typically vibrant and moving.
76. Svalbard - When I Die, Will I Get Better?
[7.9] - Really enjoyable post-hardcore; the punkier parts aren't quite for me, but the post-rock-inspired parts and harsher blasting all sound great.
77. Ensiferum - Thalassic
[7.9] - The power metal elements that are (more) prominent here, particularly due to the new clean singer, add an interesting element to tracks. The run of Rum, Women, Victory to For Sirens inclusive is very fun.
78. Marche Funèbre - Einderlicht
[7.9] - Enjoyable d/d on the lighter end of things, but with bursts of DM.
79. Mors Prinicipium Est - Seven
[7.9] - Another solid effort from this group, but arguably not their best work.
80. Eye Of Doom - Curse Of The Pharaoh
[7.9] - Really fun stoner doom EP with nice delicate acoustic ending.
81. Zora Jones - Ten Billion Angels
[7.9] - Dunno what UK Bass is, but this is fun, very skittish and bouncy.
82. Katavasia - Magnus Venator
[7.9] - A ripping and well-delivered meloblack album with some nice local Greek music influences weaved in at times.
83. Amiensus - Abreaction
[7.9] - Whilst potentially lacking a bit in killer moments, a mostly effective continuation of the increasing black metal direction their sound has been progressing since their debut. Iconoclasm ends off proceedings with a fluorish.
84. Sleestak - Aeon
[7.9] - On first listen, not quite as captivating as The Fall Of Altrusia, but this psychedelic stoner/post-/doom sound that they have cultivated still sounds distinctive and compelling nearly a decade on from their last release.
85. Katla - Warmongering Luciferians (Chapter 1)
[7.9] - Fierce sludge/stoner EP; listening to "Warcries" could give a newborn baby chest hair.
86. Graceless - Where Vultures Know Your Name
[7.9] - Very fun Bolt Thrower-esque death metal.
87. Satyr - Locus
[7.9] - Math-y and sometimes djent-y post-hardcore venture with chaotic time signatures and nice vocals, screamed and sung.
88. Tomorrow's Rain - Hollow
[7.9] - Effective Gothic (death/)doom album with a litany of well-known guests appearing on it.
89. Jupiterian - Protosapien
[7.9] - The addition of sludge into this extreme doom sound makes certain songs pretty compelling; the more funeral doom portions aren't quite as engaging, but generally a solid effort.
90. Ordinance (FIN) - In Purge There Is No Remission
[7.9] - Really enjoyable black metal effort, the vocals are a bit croaky but the riffs are memorable and the more atmospheric/melodic hints in there really nicely add to the record.
91. Dunwich (RUS) - Tail-Tied Hearts
[7.9] - Kinda Gothic doom but doesn't sound too much like that, hints of Frayle and Dreadnought in their sound, good stuff overall.
92. Gösta Berlings Saga - Konkret Musik
[7.9] Weird synth-heavy instrumental prog with some off-kilter synth and guitar parts, and adventures towards Waste Of Space Orchestra territory.
93. Astralist - 2020 (Demo)
[7.9] - An impressive opening statement from this Irish extreme doom band, with nice guitar leads and powerful riffs.
94. Hyborian - Volume II
[7.9] - A March record, but deserves some attention - like Hollow Leg last year, this is just fun, rampaging sludge/stoner fun.
95. Xypnotisk - Torn Wide This Fractal World
[7.9] - Psytrance with black metal chords on top; room to develop the fusion but it's incredibly fun.
96. Váthos - Underwater
[7.9] - Effective post-black debut from this Romanian group, nice atmospheres and healthy amount of subtle melody.
97. Atramentus - Stygian
[7.9] - Sickening growls are the highlight of a stirring funeral doom record, albeit one with occasional barren patches.
98. Lik (SWE) - Misanthropic Breed
[7.9] - Very standard Swedish OSDM, but at least the riffs are very memorable.
99. Primitive Man - Immersion
[7.9] - Nasty as fuck, as to be expected, punishing noisy sludge; Primitive Man are a bit too abrasive to properly enjoy, but the level of malice in their sound is truly admirable.
100. Gulch - Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress
[7.9] - Short, sharp burst of hardcore savagery, with a nice meaty sound.
101. Isaurian - Chains Of Blue
[7.9] - Some nice alt/gaze-y post-metal, not too dissimilar to Arctic Sleep (but better than their latest).
102. The Moon And The Nightspirit - Aether
[7.9] - Not quite as captivating as Wardruna at their best, this more mystical and string instrument-heavy sound is very charming, with the opening title track a fine demonstration of the virtues of their sound.
103. Gaupa - Feberdröm
[7.9] - Really strong psychedelic hard rock with Bjork-esque vocals, it brings riffs, atmosphere and swagger across its runtime.
104. Hum - Inlet
[7.9] - A solid alt rock record (songs fluctuate from shoegaze territory tracks to those including big almost alt-metal riffs), with a distinctive sound, interesting song structures and nice gloomy vocals. The last couple of tracks drag a bit, combining lengthy runtimes with muted monotony, but the first 2/3 of the record is very solid.
105. Nihiloxica - Kaloli
[7.9] - Very cool mix of African percussion and electronics.
106. Kairon; IRSE! - Polysomn
[7.8] - Very likeable combo of shoegaze, prog and space rock; I prefer it in its proggier moments later on.
107. Woomera - Caustics Of A Tidal Spirit
[7.8] - Curious mix of math rock, djent, prog, and hints of post-rock/metal; some parts feel a tad underwhelming, but at its peak it can deliver some captivating elaborate soothing soundscapes or polyrhythmic grooves, particularly on Rebirth II.
108. Deftones - Ohms
[7.8] - Deftones have never quite clicked with me (mostly due to the vocal melodies), but I did enjoy this quite a lot.
109. Covet - Technicolor
[7.8] - Blissful math rock, with great instrumentation across the board and nice vocal cameos.
110. Imperial Triumphant - Alphaville
[7.8] - Very unique and avant-garde spin on tech/proggy death metal, with some really interesting use of percussion and samples, and winding, contorting songs. I don't love it, but it's certainly interesting.
111. Mabura - Heni
[7.8] - Stoner/psychedelic doom - the stoner metal is solid, but the drone/tribal/psychedelic parts are super exciting to see where they could take them next.
112. Saturn's Husk - The Conduit
[7.8] - Very likeable, quite muted and tonally dark instrumental stoner metal album; could perhaps be a bit shorter but very fun overall.
113. Oceans Of Slumber - Oceans Of Slumber
[7.8] - Proggier and more grandiose than past records, it's good, but a bit too long for its own good and lacking killer moments to compensate for it.
114. Medicated - Descension
[7.8] - Enjoyable Devin-ish alt-influenced melodeath sound.
115. All Them Witches - Nothing As The Idea
[7.8] - Quality stoner rock album with some nice little variants put in. Not everything works, but reliably enjoyable.
116. Noumena - Anima
[7.8] - A lot folkier than I remember Absence being, also a bit better than I remember the previous one being. Bit surprising that they're so much less prominent than Insomnium given the similar vibes they give off.
117. Infant Island - Beneath
[7.8] - Vicious hardcore/screamo with post-rock bled into tracks (see the end of the Comfort) to great effect.
118. Cross Bringer - The Songs Of Spiritual Delusion
[7.8] - Not as good as Calligram as far as blackened hardcore goes but a solid debut effort.
119. I Am No Hero - Nights Of Wonder
[7.8] - Very dainty post-rock (isn't it all?) with some lovely melancholic bits,
120. Rosy Finch - Scarlet
[7.8] - Pleasantly distinctive stoner metal effort from this trio; shines in its darker, more contemplative moments (Vermillion, Gin Fuzz).
121. Stonebirds - Collapse And Fail
[7.8] - Fluctuates between hardcore Mastodon worship (Stay Clean), chilled out Yob vibes (Down), and other dirtier sludge sounds; nothing special but perfectly enjoyable.
122. Bongtower - Oscillator
[7.8] - A fun, heavy space-themed stoner metal album, with one of the better Metal versions of Space Oddity I've heard, although it is perhaps a bit too sample/interlude-heavy.
123. Threestepstotheocean - Del Fuoco
[7.8] - Goodheavypostrock.
124. Raventale - Planetarium II
[7.8] - Started off a bit underwhelming, but this symphonic/melodic black album picked up as it progressed.
125. Afsky - Ofte Jeg Drømmer Mig Død
[7.8] - Solid Norse black metal with a somewhat warm tone.
126. M.S.W. - Obliviosus
[7.8] - Fairly mellow doom, with some ethereal singing, use of strings and muted chords for long stretches, particularly on the atmospheric title track. Eventually this can spill over into more extreme territory, with black metal riffing, blasting and harsh vocals; the two ends of the spectrum are pulled off similarly adeptly.
127. Serpent Column - Kathodos
[7.7] - Vicious, at times hellish black metal, but with a taste for subtle melody; however, the anarchic noise/-core tangents are a bit too abrasive.
128. Catapult The Sun - Human Empire Falls
[7.7] - Beastly two-track demo release from this Greek stoner doom instrumental trio, with real churn to the guitar tone and beastly riffs.
129. Sheamata - Innoname
[7.7] - Really enjoyable symphonic melodeath effort.
130. Sunken - Livslede
[7.7] - Pleasant atmos-black/blackgaze effort, quite dreamy in patches.
131. Bongtower - Last Summer Days
[7.7] - Good stoner metal with Electric Wizard-heavy influences alongside more driven desert rock.
132. Poema Arcanus - Stardust Solitude
[7.7] - Effective extreme-leaning doom from Chile; the classic doom vocals don't do too much for me but the guitar work is nice.
133. Dephosphorus - Sublimation
[7.7] - Nasty blackened death with quality riffs.
134. NINA - Synthian
[7.7] - Very fun synthwave/pop record; not quite as strong in the second half, but in the first half in particular there's some great tracks.
135. Autumn Nostalgie - Esse Est Percipi
[7.7] - Effective atmos-black/blackgaze album (leaning more towards the latter as the album progresses) with some dry patches but also some nice atmospheric stretches.
136. Dabda - But, All The Shining Things Are
[7.7] - Shimmering, soothing Korean math rock, with its share of technicality but a greater emphasis of blissful vibes.
137. Patrons Of The Rotting Gate - Bathed In Ash
[7.7] - Very promising prog/tech-death album with some really nice moments, but also a few rough edges in the songwriting that are likely to improve on subsequent efforts from this one-man project.
138. Bipolar Architecture - The Tragic Protagonist
[7.7] - Solid djent/post-metal mixture, with some gripping atmospheric guitar work alongside the chunky grooves.
139. Zombi - 2020
[7.7] - Enjoyable instrumental prog rock (think Rush more than Animals As Leaders), the 80s synth rock parts are my favourite aspects.
140. Amiensus - Ami/AV Split
[7.7] - The doomy melodeath of Adora Vivos makes for a nice first half to this split, but Amiensus' 10-minute folk black contribution edges them out.
141. Zeal & Ardor - Wake Of A Nation
[7.6] - Politically charged, and demonstrative of Z&A's capacity to evolve their sound, but not super compelling musically.
142. Rome - The Lone Furrow
[7.6] - Neofolk, more Sol Invictus than Wardruna, and with a litany of renowned guests - generally decent.
143. Uada - Djinn
[7.6] - I thought this started pretty well, but lost quite a bit of appeal after the first couple of songs were over.
144. Pandrador - Ov Rituals, Ov Ancestors, Ov Destiny
[7.6] - A step up from something like Necrot in terms of memorability, with this more modern spin on death metal; not quite standout but easy to like.
145. Nonexist - Like The Fearless Hunter
[7.6] - Melodeath, but with more aggression than most; this does feel like melodic death at times. Not perfect, but it improves as it goes on, with tracks such as Meditation Upon Death providing a fair amount to enjoy.
146. Ihsahn - Pharos
[7.6] - Softer rock tracks, but sound pleasant, with good singing from Ihsahn and solid covers. Preferred this to Telemark comfortably.
147. Crust - .​.​.​And A Dirge Becomes An Anthem
[7.6] - Blackened sludge, but in more of a 'some tracks are black, some tracks are sludge' way - Graveland is very more nasty, muscly Southern-style sludge, whilst a couple of earlier tracks leant a lot more into black metal, almost showing hints of Schammasch at times.
148. Unleash The Archers - Abyss
[7.6] - Shines quite nicely in its power metal moments, particularly something like Faster Than Light, but then the more heavy or pop metal tracks (particularly Through Stars) don't impress in the same way.
149. Ingested - Where Only Gods May Tread
[7.6] - Slam/deathcore, but I actually found it pretty enjoyable on the whole, with solid grooves and breakdowns.
150. Vonlaus - Röð Slæmra Ákvarðana
[7.6] - Good little black metal EP with good moody Lifelover-ish riffs and neat guitar leads on Gegn Mer.
151. Krallice - Mass Cathexis
[7.6] - An interesting band, but one that's too techy for my tastes really.
152. Körgull The Exterminator - Sharpen Your Spikes
[7.6] - Straight-up ripping blackened thrash.
153. John Petrucci - Terminal Velocity
[7.6] - Generally pretty enjoyable instrumental prog album without an overload of shredding, but not quite my thing these days.
154. Boris - No
[7.6] - A lot punkier than the few Boris things I've heard before, it's a fun enough hardcore record, which is something I'm generally not that fussed by.
155. Svärd - The Rift
[7.6] - Probably one of the more enjoyable retro-heavy sounds I've heard in a while, probably because it doesn't feel like a complete retread of NWOBHM, but it filtered through a couple of other influences.
156. Mesarthim - The Degenerate Era
[7.6] - Predictably enjoyable, but given the prolific nature of Mesarthim's output, this is somewhat a case of 'more of the same', without being as standout as Ghost Condensate was.
157. Earthbound - Evergreen
[7.5] - Conventional but enjoyable and competent djent/metalcore EP.
158. Good Tiger - Raised In A Doomsday Cult
[7.5] - A mostly enjoyable post-hardcore record somewhat carried by ex-Tesseract vocalist Elliot Coleman.
159. Ulver - Flowers Of Evil
[7.5] - I was excited by all the Assassination of Julius Caesar talk, but sadly this feels a bit like that album's B-sides.
160. Napalm Death - Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism
[7.5] - Not going to make me a Napalm Death fan, but good enough.
161. Wolves Den - Miserere
[7.5] - Frenetic, melodically inclined black metal that spends most of its time at full pelt.
162. The Pineapple Thief - Versions Of The Truth
[7.4] - Another pleasant rendition of their brand of atmospheric prog/alt rock, albeit a little bit heavy on the soft quiet tracks towards the end.
163. Dagor Bragollach - Cosmogony Of Yggdrasil
[7.4] - Rudimentary, serviceable but slightly unremarkable meloblack with some early Dimmu Borgir-esque mystical keys.
164. Kosmogonia - Enthrone The Gods
[7.4] - Solid enough symphonic folk/melodeath debut record from these Greeks.
165. Carnation - Where Death Lies
[7.4] - Some more good quality but by-the-numbers death metal in a year full of it; quite Resurrection Through Carnage-esque, and Swedish OSDM-leaning in general, but with a cleaner tone.
166. Faustian Pact - Outojen Tornien Varjoissa
[7.4] - Decent black metal with super-cheesy dungeon synths.
167. Fawn Limbs - Sleeper Vessels
[7.4] - More of the same from this prolific grind act.
168. Skeletal Remains - The Entombment Of Chaos
[7.4] - Very by-the-numbers death metal but with some more memorability than Necrot, particularly with the solos.
169. Nimrød - Twelve Degrees Of Violence
[7.4] - Symphonic death metal, has interesting symphonic arrangements and enough about it to not just be completely stuck in the shadow of SepticFlesh/Fleshgod Apocalypse, but not enough to rise much further than that.
170. The Sullen - Rituals Of Death
[7.4] - Enjoyable doomy black metal with tortured vocals and ominous mood.
171. Kaatayra - Toda História Pela Frente
[7.3] - A well-made atmos-black record with nice lead guitar work, but perhaps a bit overly long given that it's a more conventional approach (albeit still with inclusion of Brazilian folk elements).
172. Celestial Season - The Secret Teachings
[7.3] - Melancholic Gothic-y doom with growls, good but forgettable.
173. Chrome Waves - Where We Live
[7.3] - Good blackgaze effort, although Spoonfed is a bit tedious.
174. Briqueville - Quelle
[7.3] - Brooding instrumental post-metal, good but slightly unremarkable.
175. Duma - Duma
[7.3] - Highly original-sounding and very abrasive industrial/grind effort, with vicious electronics in place of guitars and distinctive use of African drums instead of conventional drums.
176. Vassafor - To The Death
[7.3] - Dirty-sounding black metal with some death metal elements (particularly on The Burning Ithyr); the sound is a little bit muddy and flat for things to necessarily jump out, which considering it runs over 60 minutes does mean it starts to lose some charm before it's over with.
177. Cult Of Madness - Insanity
[7.3] - Operating in the same melodeath/metalcore middle ground as The Black Dahlia Murder, this EP comes off as quite similar to TBDM (particularly on Live Like Immortal), but nails the sound very effectively.
178. Steve Von Till - No Wilderness Deep Enough
[7.3] - Pleasant stripped-down acoustic folk with some nice background piano/strings (well, may be mellotron and cello) parts.
179. Ruadh - The Rock Of The Clyde
[7.3] - Saor-ish Scottish black/folk album, not as good as Saor's album from last year but perfectly likeable.
180. Firewind - Firewind
[7.2] - No The Premonition, but they've been much worse than this on recent efforts.
181. Bury Tomorrow - Cannibal
[7.2] - Metalcore akin to Polaris' debut, but without quite the same hooks or atmosphere.
182. Obsidian Kingdom - Meat Machine
[7.2] - Quite quirky prog/alt release with FNM influence, some nice parts but the odd irritating bit.
183. Hellripper - The Affair Of The Poisons
[7.2] - Ripping harsh-edged speed metal, fun.
184. Sordid Pink - Sordid Pink
[7.2] - Djent with hinds of DGD.
185. Finntroll - Vredesvävd
[7.2] - Keyboards make it sound like classic Nightwish trying extreme Euro-folk metal.
186. Colour In The Clouds - Inosculation
[7.2] - Emo/post-hardcore, sounds as you'd expect.
187. Novae Militiae - Topheth
[7.2] - Well-made hellish-sounding BM, but a bit invariant.
188. Thoughts Factory - Elements
[7.2] - Fairly standard conventional classic-sounding melodic prog metal; it's good but not massively enthusing.
189. Wicked Sisters - wired_backwards
[7.2] - Nice hefty little industrial demo.
190. Necrot - Mortal
[7.2] - Very standard OSDM, performed well and with some sick solos (and Sinister Will in general is pretty great), but a bit too generic to be memorable.
191. Feral Light - Life Vapor
[7.2] - Fairly standard, at times melancholic, black metal, with the occasional curve ball thrown in.
192. Uprising - II
[7.1] - Covers black n' roll, Pagan melodies, and a couple of other BM approaches in this one-man band effort.
193. The Psychedelic Furs - Made Of Rain
[7.1] - A good post-punk album, although I feel like the earlier tracks have more charm; it begins to grate a bit as it goes on.
194. Phoxjaw - Royal Swan
[7.1] - A bit too indie for my tastes, but fairly enjoyable indie/post-hardcore debut.
195. Gallows Hymn - The Age Of Decadence
[7.1] - Decent enough proggy/folky melodeath slightly held back by production at times.
196. SVNTH - Spring In Blue
[7.1] - Lengthy album fluctuating between blackgaze, alt rock, Wayfarer-esque atmos-black and a couple of sounds. Does all of them fairly well, but the end product isn't quite equal to or greater than the sum of its parts.
197. Winter's End - Into The Sea
[7.1] - Impressive and full-sounding symphonic metal demo, with competent and complex symphonic arrangements. Some of the vocal melodies could be worked on, but generally a highly respectable effort.
198. A.A. Williams - Forever Blue
[7.1] - Solid subdued gloomy post-rock debut record, with some nice climaxes to several tracks.
199. Omega Diatribe - Metanoia
[7.0] - Djent-heavy groove metal, with notable brocore leanings compared with e.g. Meshuggah. Delivers some pretty punchy riffs and grooves, and the clean vocals are serviceable.
200. The Lightbringer Of Sweden - Rise Of The Beast
[7.0] - Very classic but pretty solid trad heavy/power album.
201. Werewolves - The Dead Are Screaming
[7.0] - Passable debut with some chunky riffs but some patches to zone out during.
202. Midnight Dice - Hypnotized
[7.0] - Incredibly classic-sounding 80s heavy metal sound, but of the more up-tempo and energetic variety, and delivered with a lot of conviction.
203. Orbit Culture - Nija
[7.0] - Nothing crazy, but generally enjoyable Gothenburg with some cool moments and curious Chuck Billy-esque cleans/Testament tendencies on a couple of songs.
204. Sacred Outcry - Damned For All Time
[6.9] - By-the-book Europower metal, good enough but lacking a bit of X factor, apart from the impressive title track.
205. Lednik - Celestial Monuments
[6.9] - Effective instrumental post-rock on the slightly heavier side, the last two tracks have some nice punchy-yet-euphoric moments. Not got quite enough to stand out from the instrumental post-rock cloud though, for me.
206. Sleepmakeswaves - These Are Not Your Dreams
[6.9] - Mostly enjoyable return from these Aussie post-rockers, although the new vocals are a mixed bag, with some of the less inspiring tracks here being those that feature them (particularly Zelda).
207. Kate NV - Room For The Moon
[6.9] - Quirky avant-pop with quite a new age chill feel to a lot of the tracks, when they aren't being taken in peculiar directions structurally, rhythmically or instrumentally.
208. Pyrrhon - Abscess Time
[6.9] - Vicious hardcore/death metal combination, deeply unpleasant and not much pleasure to be derived from listening.
209. Desolator - Sermon Of Apathy
[6.9] - Decent old school-inspired death metal, has a few cool riffs for sure but won't be returning.
210. Uniform - Shame
[6.9] - Punky industrial/noise rock, I liked the general aesthetic mostly, and some tracks were cool, but not a huge fan of the vocal tone, or the style in general.
211. Night - High Tides - Distant Skies
[6.9] - Starts off with early Dio-esque heavy metal, then switches to arena hard rock; does both fine, but not like I particularly care for either.
212. Viikate - Rillumarei!
[6.8] - Decent folky melodic metal with lots of cleaner guitars; it's okay, but not that keen on the vocals.
213. Wolvenfrost - Hel Embattled
[6.8] - Very respectable black metal debut EP.
214. The Infernal Sea - Negotium Crucis
[6.8] - Decent black metal with odd black n' roll moments.
215. Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus
[6.7] - My first encounter with CA, found this to be fairly enjoyable but unremarkable symphonic black.
216. Yatra - All Is Lost
[6.7] - Enjoyable, if slightly rough, sludge/stoner.
217. Hällas - Conundrum
[6.7] - Not sold on the vocals, but I like the synthy hard rock in other parts.
218. Fit For A King - The Path
[6.6] - Shameless Killswitch worship, but some of the more satisfactorily hooky KSE ripping-off I've heard.
219. Maladie - The Grand Aversion
[6.6] - ...Still... was great; this is just wacky in an irritating way.
220. Benediction - Scriptures
[6.6] - Of the many OSDM albums coming out in the last few months, this is not nearly the most interesting IMO.
221. Faceless Burial - Speciation
[6.6] - Dunno if it's just death metal fatigue, but this was technically fine but a dull listen.
222. Varg - Zeichen
[6.6] - Slightly meloblackier version of Amon Amarth, and about as exciting as their recent albums.
223. Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
[6.6] - Decent moody bluesy alt rock, without anything particularly gripping - not quite as good as The Pale Emperor.
224. Guardsman - The Entropy Illusion - Part II
[6.6] - Reasonable heavy/hard rock concept album, although missing a little bit of punch in the mix.
225. Allelic - À Contre Vent
[6.6] - Sadly the music here doesn't quite match up to the spellbinding artwork (unlike Skyforest earlier this year); it's perfectly serviceable pagan black, but slightly limited.
226. Jon Hassell - Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two)
[6.5] - Glitchy, at times eerie ambient music; a bit too weird to be background music and a bit too barebones to be active listening, but an interesting product nonetheless.
227. Arctic Rain - The One
[6.5] - Incredibly 80s-sounding arena hard rock record, from the synths and riff styles to vocal harmonies, but played with plenty of conviction.
228. Ni Moya - Ni Moya
[6.5] - Interesting electronic side-project from the Naxatras frontman; I enjoyed the upbeat ambient vibes of the opening tracks, but the jazz of the closing track less so.
229. Death Force - Delirio
[6.5] - Uncomplicated, raw and frenetic death/thrash demo.
230. Lamp Of Murmuur - Heir Of Ecliptical Romanticism
[6.5] - Incredibly traditional Norse-style black metal, good for what it is.
231. The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers
[6.4] - Fairly enjoyable indie rock album, albeit one that peaks early.
232. Valdrin - Effigy Of Nightmares
[6.4] - Very competent and passingly satisfying Dissection-style meloblack, but not particularly memorable beyond that.
233. The Acacia Strain - Slow Decay
[6.4] - Very low-end chunky deathcore, nice thick sound but wears old a bit fast.
234. Mystras - Castles Conquered And Reclaimed
[6.4] - This is actually quite enjoyable at times with some of the Medieval-inspired melodies; however, it's so fucking lo-fi and the synths are so cheesy, it can't get higher than here.
235. Deep Purple - Whoosh
[6.3] - Perfectly competent hard rock album for a 50-year-old band; Nothing At All is an impressive effort.
236. Daniel Avery - Love + Light
[6.3] - Half techno, half ambient; all good, none great.
237. Changeling - III
[6.3] - Short, sweet, but somewhat unremarkable black metal release. Nothing wrong with it, but left no lasting impression.
238. Bong Prophet - Attack And Dethrone God
[6.3] - A lengthy, and occasionally wearing, drone/noise experience, but a somewhat rewarding one.
239. Ringarë - Sorrow Befell
[6.3] - First half, decent but rudimentary black metal; second half, dungeon synth black metal without the metal and just the synths - okay, but didn't leave a strong impression.
240. Ayreon - Transitus
[6.1] - Long and corny, but with good moments.
241. DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons I
[6.0] - DD never clicked with me; this is okay, but isn't going to change me on them.
242. Turmion Kätilöt - Global Warning
[6.0] - I liked aspects of this mildly eclectic, electronics-heavy album, but it annoyed me a bit too regularly to properly enjoy.
243. Reverorum Ib Malacht - Vad Är Inte Sju Huvud?
[6.0] - An abrasive, cacophanous mix of a variety of styles, including industrial, noise, dark ambient, black metal and more, in an exceedingly lengthy package; has its fair share of good ideas but is a bit unlistenable.
244. Cloudkicker - Loops
[6.0] - Collection of brief loop vignettes, pleasant but a bit insubstantial.
245. Shinichi Atobe - Yes
[6.0] - Passingly likeable but slightly underwhelming minimal techno release, elevated by a couple of more substantial tracks towards the end.
246. Victoria Monet - Jaguar
[6.0] - Unsurprisingly this R&B debut isn't at all in line with my music tastes, but it was interesting to try out and relatively enjoyable, particularly Dive.
247. Oghre - Grimt
[6.0] - Proggy sludge/post-metal, sounds fairly distinctive but also not hugely satisfying.
248. Plague Organ - Orphan
[5.8] - I honestly thought there were some really interesting ideas here, but the relentless blast beats were just too much to handle for 40 minutes straight.
249. VoidCeremony - Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel
[5.8] - Complex but not enjoyable.
250. Ontrothon, Saga Of The Ancient Glass - Ontrothon, Saga Of The Ancient Glass
[5.8] - I've not heard much dungeon synth before, but this is very similar to what I have heard; kinda nice, but pretty twee and way too long given the contents.
251. Amaranthe - Manifest
[5.8] - A bit better than the last couple, but not at The Nexus/Massive Addictive level, and BOOM1! is horrendous.
252. Metallica - S&M 2
[5.8] - Passable return to the S&M sound, although the new songs they selected for this are a bit of a mixed bag.
253. Hiidenhauta - Riivin
[5.7] - Fluctuates between punky Kvelertak-esque black and more symphonic meloblack; not that keen on either.
254. Ish Kerioth - Under Unclean Wings
[5.6] - Rudimentary lo-fi black metal demo, but a fairly enjoyable one.
255. Black Funeral - Scourge Of Lamashtu
[5.5] - Raw and at times quite sloppy ambient lo-fi black metal, with some slightly cheesy synths in there too.
256. Battle Born - Battle Born
[5.4] - This power metal debut is a bit too by-the-book, but the closing track Sovngarde Awaits is a fun ending to the EP.
257. Sumac - May You Be Held
[5.3] - Some more decent sludge riffs diluted in stretches of dissatisfying guitar noise.
258. Defeated Sanity - The Sanguinary Impetus
[5.2] - I do not like brutal death metal, it would appear.
259. Evaporated Sores - Ulcerous Dimensions
[4.0] - I really hated this; I'm sure the music is intentionally dissonant, but it just makes it sound sloppy. The density of the sound in heavier moments is good, but everything else is fucking annoying.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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Comments: 7   Visited by: 55 users
01.07.2020 - 12:34
Maybe move some of the extras here
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
01.07.2020 - 12:45
Written by RaduP on 01.07.2020 at 12:34

Maybe move some of the extras here

Don't tell me what to do
01.07.2020 - 12:46
Written by musclassia on 01.07.2020 at 12:45

Written by RaduP on 01.07.2020 at 12:34

Maybe move some of the extras here

Don't tell me what to do

Ok Zach de la Rocha
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
03.10.2020 - 15:33
Au Pays Natal
Wow, this is pretty great...

Side note. As you probably know - maybe you don't - Fen is my favorite band on earth right now. Gimme stuff on this list that reminds you of them , in anyway ...
03.10.2020 - 16:46
Au Pays Natal
03.10.2020 - 17:54
I wrote a response to this earlier in the day, but for some reason it didn't seem to post.

Written by tea[m]ster on 03.10.2020 at 15:33

Wow, this is pretty great...

Thanks, I'll add it and the other link below to my queue.

Written by tea[m]ster on 03.10.2020 at 15:33

Side note. As you probably know - maybe you don't - Fen is my favorite band on earth right now. Gimme stuff on this list that reminds you of them , in anyway ...

I checked my lists and didnt' see anything obvious. Perhaps the closest may be Dynfari - Myrkurs Er Þörf? A few other ones which may have some appeal are Marrasmieli, Panzerfaust, Amiensus, Arbrynth and Turia, but I woulnd't be too confident about any of them
06.10.2020 - 15:02
Written by tea[m]ster on 03.10.2020 at 15:33

Wow, this is pretty great...

Interesting proggy/djent/mathy stuff, I don't love it the whole way through but there's some really cool parts in there, particularly in the last song

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