Hey Everybody! Welcome to part 3 of this shortened list in 2020. Lots of love received so far and I hope that continues onward. Let's keep this part brief and get into the list.
So here are the rules:
1.) The list is a Top 50 with 10 honorable mentions. I am really hoping to get back to the Top 100 in 2021. There are simply albums that I know are magnificent that I simply didn't hear, hear enough of, or give enough of a chance to really enjoy in 2020. I know they will be told to me and I know you'll have a great argument on why they should make the list somewhere; but I'm one man and 2020 got the better of me this go around. So enjoy the list as is. Thank you.
2.) The Top 50 must be LPs. No EPs live albums, compilations, rarities, etc. Simply a studio ALBUM released in 2020 before mid-December. If you have an album out after that. What can I tell you, you should have released it in January.
3.) The Top 50 are ranked from 50-1. Honorable Mentions are in alphabetical order.
4.) The entries include Artist Name, Album Name, and FFO (For Fans Of) section. Followed by my short thoughts on the release.
5.) The Top 50 will also have a curated Spotify list with a song off each album in order from 50-1. So you can enjoy the bands in countdown order; or put it on random and make your own ranking.
6.) These are just my own thoughts. No sponsors, no payola, no favors. Just my views. With that; If an album is at 50 does not mean it sucks compared to album 1. all 50 albums and 10 honorable mentions are worthy of praise and deserve to be talked about and any album talked about could be AOTY in someone's eyes. This is a judgement free zone. No negativity here. Just talking great music from beginning to end.
40.) Kataklysm- Unconquered
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, 7 String
When your album starts with nice little atmospheric overtones before you feel the crushing power of the Northern Hyperblast; you know Kataklysm has returned in a big way. Their previous album may have been the most polished and filler free album; but Kataklysm has gone in a bit of a new direction, sonically. Yes, the band is finally trying out 7 string guitars and if you thought the band sounded massive before; you haven't heard anything yet. From pure, unadulterated chaos to the patented mid tempo groove to the band actually writing a BALLAD; this album is showing the band spreading it's wings like never before; but this flying monster has only begin to roar, just wait till it breathes fire in the future.
39.) Dead End Finland- Inter Vivos
FFO- Modern Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Finland just has the best melodeath...it just does! Dead End Finland is expanding their sound even farther and reaching new heights with Inter Vivos. The sound is an ever growing grandiose display of melodies, harmonies, and modern synths and orchestration. A severely underrated band that truly deserves your love, give the band a chance and be sure to check out their back catalog as well. You will see how well new and old and mesh together into something spectacular.
38.) Ascension Of The Watchers
FFO- Synth-Driven Gothic Rock
Burton C Bell may have left Fear Factory this year, but that does not mean the man has not been staying busy musically. Ascension of the Watchers has released their 2nd album after 19 years together (and 12 years since their debut), so it was about time they got back together for some new music. A melancholic display of cinematic, orchestrated goth music that is heavy enough for metal fans, but Gothic enough for those at the goth raves to dance. The album feels completely like a music score of a film with its peaks and valleys. A sheer display of brilliant songwriting is on full display. This album proves that the split from Fear Factory may just benefit both sides going forward.
37.) Intronaut- Fluid Existential Inversions
FFO- Progressive Metal, Post Metal, Atmospheric
I truly feel that the band truly discovered who they are with Valley of Smoke and since that time, have only grown to show off what they are capable of by growing ever stronger. Dynamics is the name of the game on this album from technically crushing inspired riffs on one end and some of the most emotional atmospheric soundscapes on the other, with the band simply being themselves in between. This is a level of musicianship that bands should strive to achieve; knowing what to play, what not to play, where to implement both sides to achieve musical greatness. Intronaut does not disappoint and this album is another fantastic example of their quality.
36.) Carnation- Where Death Lies
FFO- Old School Death Metal, Death Metal
Carnation is a monster in and of itself. With a rawness and aggression of the OSDM days, but updated with what death metal has become over the years and you have a band that's truly in bloom. Where Death Lies is a crash course in death metal that brings all metalheads together in the name of...metal! Don't miss out on this one, no matter where your metal tastes lay. This will have something for you.
35.) Shrapnel- Palace For The Insane
FFO- Thrash Metal
When you can find a band that showcases the best of what thrash is capable of; you sit down and pay attention to what is in front of you. Taking the early days of Metallica mixed in with flavors of Kreator, Warbringer, Testament, and the band's own chemistry; Shrapnel created a modern thrash metal masterpiece of the finest quality. Catch these guys before they are headlining the biggest metal festivals in the world.
34.) Napalm Death- Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
FFO- Death Metal, Grindcore, Post Rock?
Some say that every Napalm Death album sounds the same. I say they clearly are not listening hard enough! This album is showcasing the band at quite possibly their most experimental. Of course the glory of their death metal and grindcore is still ever present, but the introduction of post rock, shoegaze and just plain mellow moments and songs is something that you simply donb't expect. It's honestly a welcome change and shows the band, even after 40 plus years of existence is not afraid to push the boundaries from here to eternity.
33.) Carach Angren- Franckensteina Strataemontanus
FFO- Symphonic Black Metal, Industrial Metal, Mary Shelley
A concept album of the original telling of the legendary horror novel; Carach Angren always push the boundaries of conceptual black metal and this album showcases that at it's rawest and purest form. The lineup may have changed, but the intensity of the band is ever present and here to stay. If you enjoy the story of Frankenstein, or black metal, or just want to see what the hubbub of what Carach Angren is after all this time...give this a shot!
32.) Hum- Inlet
FFO- Sludge Metal, Shoegaze, Space Rock
Hum has returned after way too long of a hiatus (22 years!). And the band has returned in their strongest form to date. The heaviest work of their career matched up with the most dreamy lyrics and soundscapes has an effect of seriously feeling out of this world.The rise of post metal, sludge metal and other contemporaries really came after the band had ceased; but Inlet shows that the originators are back to show the students how it's really done.
31.) Killer Be Killed- Reluctant Hero
FFO- Groove Metal, Metalcore, Experimental
Has it really been 6 years since the band's self titled debut album? SERIOUSLY? it still feels like it came out yesterday for me. Anyways, after said 6 years, the band is back and the wings of the band are truly flown to full spread. It's so poppy, catchy, heavy, thrashy, metal and fun to listen to. The choruses are the biggest hit of the album while the instrumentation is at top form, while everyone in the band truly shines; when Max Cavalera comes in to do his sparse, but perfectly instilled vocals, you know the music is going to get brutal. This album simply rules. Go now! Go and check it out!
And there we go folks, Only 30 albums left to go. Let's see if you find any music you dig if you haven't from this list already. Tune in tomorrow for Part IV: 30-21!
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)