We're rounding that corner, here's my 20-11 from my top 100 albums of 2020.
20. Priest - Cyberhead
A few years ago, several disgruntled ex-members of Ghost formed a synthpop group, Priest. New Flesh was their debut album, and it was filled with addictive earworms that also threw some major shade at their former bandleader.
With Cyberhead, they are now a few years removed from that event. It does seem to be less angry, and less catchy. This album didn't grab me as quickly, and it really hits its stride on the B side.
19. Almanac - Rush of Death
Victor Smolski is formerly of Rage, and left that group due to musical and personal differences. He ended up forming his own group, Alamanc.
Rush of Death is their third album, and my entry into the band. They are a power metal band with loads of guitar shred.
The album is just so full of fun, positive energy, that it provides the exact lift I needed in 2020. It also contains my #4 song of 2020, Predator.
18. Of Feather and Bone - Sulfuric Disintegration
Heading in the opposite directin of fun and positive energy, Of Feather and Bone provides an outlet for all the rage and anger I needed to express in 2020.
The death metal banger is a perfect compact 30 minutes. It's a relentless, brutal assault on the ears and is totally messed up in all the right ways.
17. Jonathan Hultén - Chants from Another Place
Jonathan Hultén took a break from his main gig Tribulation, and released his solo album Chants from Another Place. Most solo albums are too similar to the main project, but this solo album is so vastly different from Tribulation.
Tribulation is a mix of black metal and traditional heavy metal. By contrast, his solo work is dark folk. It is somehow both haunting, and beautiful. Hultén has since left Tribulation. The band won't be the same without him, but if he continues in this direction with his solo work, I won't be too mad.
16. Thy Catafalque - Naiv
Thy Catafalque is essentially Tamás Katai's solo project. It's an amalgamation of folk, black metal, jazz, classical, and WTF is this even.
I first heard about Thy Catafalque in 2015 with their bizarre album Sgùrr. I didn't quite get it, and the two following albums didn't quite grab me either.
It took all the way until 2020 before it finally made sense, and it's even catchy in a really bizarre way.
15. Thierry Maillard Big Band - Zappa Forever
Composer and musician Thierry Maillard has been writing and releasing music for years, and his latest is a tribute to the late great Frank Zappa. I was worried this was going to be just big band covers of Zappa songs, but the album is made up of all original compositions..
The album is made up of 10 songs that spans two discs, and totals 96 minutes. It is not a casual listen, but it's so damn good that the time flies by so fast. This is a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest innovators of our time. RIP Frank Zappa.
14. Necrot - Mortal
Oakland's Necrot is one of the hottest death metal acts, and created a huge buzz even before they released an official album. 2016 saw them releasing a collection of demos, and in 2017 they finally released their debut album, Blood Offerings.
In 2020, there was a lot of hype for their sophomore effort. It absolutely surpassed the hype, and is not only the best death metal album of the year, but one of the best albums of the year period.
13. Æther Realm - Redneck Vikings from Hell
- Weird A E thing
- Skull on the cover
- Vikings in the album title
- Hold up Redneck Vikings?
Scandinavian folk metal by way of North Carolina? This really strange combination is a ton of fun, and mixes melodic death metal, folk, and even some bluegrass and pop.
12. Anaal Nathrakh - Endarkenment
The original artwork for this album depicts a pig's head with penises coming out of the eyes. Um...WAT?!
Fortunately for you, I present the censored artwork here. Anaal Nathrakh is an extreme metal band from England. Once again they mix death, black, grind and industrial. They don't do anything new here, but it's just so damn good that it doesn't matter.
11. Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle -
May Our Chambers Be Full
This the collaboration that nobody asked for, but we all deserve. Thou is a sludge/doom metal band, and Emma Ruth Rundle is metal adjacent dark folk.
This seems like a strange combination, but it works so damn well. Rundle's voice fits perfectly in a heavier setting, and that riff in Out of Existence, NASTY.