Hello there! Should go without saying, but these are my FAVORITES. They are the ones that hold my highest replayability for now & years to come. Also I’m starting with #1 because this isn’t a goddamn christmas present that everyone is screaming and losing their shit about. But hey, thanks for visiting and riffling through my picks of 2020! Let’s GOOOOOO.
#1) Beltez – A Grey Chill And A Whisper (Avantgarde Music) I’ve been anticipating this one a while as their 2017 release was my damn-near #1. Their USBM-style sound is dialed in FULL and THICK. And the quickest way to my loins are the mid-tempo double kick “rock” beats widely featured here. Second track alone is one of those jaw-dropping complete songs that makes everything else following feel like a bonus treat. Their arrangements are crafted to moody perfection, as the penultimate song flat wipes you out before the closing number calmly glazes over, reaching peak tingles. This is the complete package, front to back, and that’s why it’s my favorite album of 2020! [Bandcamp]
#2) Funeral Leech – Death Meditation (Carbonized) So many great debuts this year! This death doom monster from NYC bulldozed the loins and ran it up full mast for me. It’s an absolute stunner start to finish. The second track breakdowns are the stuff of legends, and I also so love all the creepy-crawly vocal whispers (wait till to hear this shit, it’s lit). If there is another record with as much stank as this one, I have yet to hear it. [Bandcamp]
#3) Autonoesis – Autonoesis (unsigned) Here’s a truly a perfect death metal album, performed flawlessly, where every riff is memorable and causes uncontrollable hand motions and air guitars galore. A blistering experience that I cannot recommend enough, and please just bury me to the closing track – the theatrical, delicate, and levitating song does it all in its 12-minutes. It’s a standout 2020 moment. A stunning debut that has me excited for everything about this talented band’s future! [Bandcamp]
#4) Lykotonon – Only Our Eyes Are Alive (unsigned) Such a brief introduction with a 21min debut, but a side project with Blood Incantation and Wayfarer members makes it easy to wanna sample. The overall dense atmosphere and psychedelic nuances is a perfect “USBM avantgarde Krallice / Ash Borer” mash. The tricks and stops within each song still get me even after repeated listens, and the blackened death intensity felt from every strained vocal cry is very palatable. [Bandcamp]
#5) Void Rot – Descending Pillars (Sentient Ruin / Everlasting Spew) I’ve got the death doom fever HARD, and with production like Void Rot’s, it’s easy to fall prey. I just love the way it SOUNDS. It’s big, thunderous, full, and rich with the vocals looming ever so passerby and dark. That guitar tone is clearly a product of hard research, chunky as hell but also sneaking those unnerving high-pitched digs. They may wear their influences on their sleeves, but they’ve perfected the formula. And what can I say, IT MOVES ME (it my fanboy video). [Bandcamp]
#6) Black Curse – Endless Wound (Sepulchral Voice) Give me all of the blackened fury, hellish blasts, and gasping-for-air screams, but also give me some mind-boggling outros (“Enraptured By Decay” just GOES for it), tense tribal interludes (“Lifeless Sanctum”), and repetitive, beat-it-till-it-stops-moving closing tracks. Featuring members of THAT Denver collective of bands, these ambitious, creative song arrangements should come as no surprise. [Bandcamp]
#7) Heretical Sect – Rapturous Flesh Consumed (Gilead Media) Their 2019 EP was sooo good, and the blackened death-doom full length really goes the distance too! When it hits the gas around 4min on 2nd track, I’m like YES ALLLL IN. As haunting as it is rockin’, it’s a hot 37 minutes for me. The chants are SCARY and give the heebies but probably not as much as their wacky ass video. Wooooo and that jarring guitar line opens the closing track? TAKE ME AWAY. [Bandcamp]
#8) Temple Of Void – The World That Was (Shadow Kingdom) DEVOUR THE HOURS pretty much sums up this year! Look, I’m a big ToV fanboy (another video of mine), and while metal usually doesn’t boil down to HOT SINGLES OF 2020, “Self-Schism” and “Casket Of Shame” are certified rippers! The rest of the album brings the crushing death doom heat like always. This is essential 2020 listening for ANY metal fan. [Bandcamp]
#9) Solothus – Realm Of Ash And Blood (20 Buck Spin) Monstrous death doom that does it all! Super slow head draggers, mid tempo grooves, and deathly somber waves. I especially love vocalist Kari Kankaanpää’s range (BOWWWWW growls to banshees) and hot damn that second track “The Watcher” got so many replays alone. Another solid 2BS release! [Bandcamp]
#10) Undergang – Aldrig i livet (Dark Descent) Filthy death metal wasting no time gritting teeth with a lovely “entrance music” opening track. From there, it’s one perfect gnarly riff after the next. And while I enjoyed many an EP in this style (seriously so many great Bandcamp finds), I’m happy UG put out a complete and proper full-length to envelop. Also, Tomb Mold can’t put out an album EVERY year! And bonus points for ending their album with an isolated UGHHH! [Bandcamp]
HM) Siege Column – Darkside Legions (Nuclear War Now!) Hot damn this a funnnnn album. Sleazy death metal that is so danceable! Opener “Devil’s Nights Of Hell” is METAL SONG OF THE YEAR with its teasing eerie synths before breaking into a full-on SHIMMY STRUT ATTACK. Featuring the muffled-fart vocalist of Death Fortress (love them too), SC brings the riff party and the lo-fi evil! [Bandcamp]
HM) Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynski (Nuclear Blast) Mystery Science Nadblasters Theatre 8000, what more can you really say? Completely out of this world good. ‘Back and forth in your rocking chair questioning reality and your existence’ good. [Bandcamp]
HM) Atramentus – Stygian (20 Buck Spin) Impressive debut really making the case for me liking funeral doom. It sounds SO large, and I’m feeling it deep in the plums (especially those gargle and bowel choir vocals). Instead of putting me to sleep like its genre contemporaries, I kept coming back for that thundering hum. [Bandcamp]
HM) Noroth – It Dwells Amongst Us (unsigned) Sinister death debut that can pummel nads and steamroll loins with the likes of Tomb Mold and Noose Rot. Served as the perfect soundtrack for angrily washing dishes during Covid. [Bandcamp]
HM) Phthisis – Embodiment Of Decay (unsigned) Yeah I’ll some more knuckle-dragging death doom please! ANOTHER debut, and Denver is a goldmine for the metals. Hooooweeee, that third track is uncomfortable AF, sign of promising things to come! [Bandcamp]
FAVORITE NON-METAL THAT’S NOT DUA LIPA
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – K.G. I’ve caught the band’s bug fairly recently but I’ve got it bad and this one is full of earworms that I couldn’t help but latch on immediately. Rats’ Nest was a 2019 personal yearender with their dirty thrash, and K.G. continues that high energy while tossing out an endless amount of psychedelic microtonal delights. “Some Of Us” –> “Ontology” –> “Intrasport” is TRACK TRANSITION PERFECTION with the latter being the middle eastern disco dub song I didn’t know I needed, SO GOOD! [Bandcamp]
My group of friends held our annual listening party, affectionately called METAL MASS. We reveal our favorite albums, and then our coding-proficient friend then runs his script, calculating votes with weight, to determine the consensus #1. Oranssi Pazuzu took that prize this year!
2020 LOINS ABLAZE
Thank you so much for reading! Send any feedback below or at my Twitter and Facebook pages. But more importantly, follow me on Bandcamp (and buy the albums on it too!) so I can follow back and hear what you’re enjoying!