We're one post away from the top 20 of 2020, here is my 30-21 from my top 100 albums of 2020.
30. Tigran Hamasyan - The Call Within
I first heard of Tigran Hamasyan listening to 2017's An Ancient Observer. As good as it was, The Call Within blows it out of the water.
Tigran Hamasyan is proggy jazz fusion mixed with Armenian folk. Hamasyan plays piano, but he has said in interviews that he would love to play guitar and front a thrash band. This makes a lot of sense as his music appeals to many prog and metalheads.
29. Aeternam - Al Qassam
Aeternam is melodic blackened death metal mixed with Middle Eastern melodies (think Orphaned Land).
I'm already a big sucker for folk infused metal, and even more so when it incorporates folk that I'm not used to hearing. At its core it sounds a lot like Behemoth, but the Middle Eastern folk elements elevate it to the next level.
28. Body Count - Carnivore
Ice-T's metal project continues to crush it with another quality album. Ever since their "comeback" album Manslaughter, they've been steadily releasing consistently great albums.
Ice-T's lyrics covers gang life, systemic racism, and corrupt cops. It is relevant now more than ever. And how about Ernie C! He is a BEAST of a guitar player. That breakdown riff in Bum-Rush? *chefs kiss*
27. Igorrr - Spirituality and Distortion
Igorrr mixes together electronic breakbeats, classical, extreme metal, opera, and huge dose of WTF. If you remember my #95 album, Rïcïnn also sings on this album.
Lastly, I never thought I'd ever hear George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher's brutal death metal vocals over chiptune on Parpaing, but it somehow makes sense in such a strange year.
26. Elder - Omens
Coming from 2017's excellent Reflections of a Floating World, this album disappointed me at first. It was less heavy and leans more towards OG prog a la Pink Floyd.
After several listens though, it REALLY grew on me and it ended up being one of my favorite albums of the year. I just wonder if these songs will sound good live, it sounds like they're really stretching their singing abilities and may not sound good in a live setting (ahem...Mastodon).
25. Cryptic Shift - Visitations from Enceladus
Space sci-fi death metal, and this is 2020s analog to Blood Incantation's 2019 album Hidden History of the Human Race. They are both cosmic death metal albums, both 4 songs each, and both contain one ridiculously long song.
Unlike Blood Incantation however, this album seems to be receiving less love. I'm not sure why, as I find this album to be on the same level if not better. Instead of ending with an epic long song, Cryptic Shift starts out the album with a ridiculous 25 minute song. Well played.
24. Leprosy - Obnoxious Futuristic Vision
With that band name, it is a not so subtle hint as to what the band will sound like. From the very first opening notes, it really cements that this is a Death worship band...but in space!
While there's nothing really new here, it's done so damn well that I can't help but rank it so high. I wonder if they'll continue with this sound (which is fine), or evolve into something new for subsequent releases.
23. Krallice - Mass Cathexis
Krallice is a Colin Marston joint (from Behold...The Arctopus) and they are a messed up avant garde black metal band.
Colin Marston is musician and producer extraordinaire and he's having a banner year. Some of the other albums he has touched include Imperial Triumphant, Afterbirth and Pyrrhon. Marston plays guitar, keyboards, bass and also produced this album. Dude's a monster and this album is beastly.
22. Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant
I'm not sure what's going on out there, but the Australian prog / metal scene has been making major waves. Caligula's Horse was set to tour in the US, and they would have played Slim's but COVID shut that down.
It's unfortunate too, since this ended up being such a sleeper hit for me. I didn't like this the first couple listens, but it has grown on me immsensely with subsequent listens. One of the best prog albums of the year, don't miss it!
21. Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin kynsi
This blackened psychadelic doom album sounds like you are attempting to summon demons from the seventh layer of hell.
From the get go it really puts you into this trance and even though it's mid-tempo, it still evokes those black metal vibes without the quick riffs and blastbeats. Oranssi Pazuzu is a band from Finland that I've been casually following, but I think this is their best yet.