TOP 30 METAL/HARD ROCK ALBUMS OF 2020 PART TWO: 20-11
TOP 30 METAL/HARD ROCK ALBUMS OF 2020
PART TWO: 20-11
20. Rotting Kingdom – A Deeper Shade of Sorrow
These young upstarts dared to combine the power and depth of Paradise Lost with the romantic, gothic yearnings of My Dying Bride to create their first full-length that at once sounds like it belongs and yet rings with a unique quality. If any of this description appeals to you, then you’ve got a new band to love.
19. High Priestess – Casting the Circle
In which we stay in a real Doomy state of mind but here it’s more ethereal, the songs like magic mists, wrapping around you like witchy spells. But there’s songs here and they do rock, it’s just in a softer, more insidious way. Come to the Sabbath, indeed.
18. Haunt – Mind Freeze
Haunt put out two albums this year and really, either could have gone in this slot. This was the one I listened to the most, so it wins. Full of riffs, speedy rockin’ riffs, slower chunky riffs, stellar singing, and some cruising grooves. Fans of Trad Metal should love this.
17. Temple of Void – The World That Was
A lot of bands put out some sorrowful albums this year, but none felt more connected to the events of 2020 than this one did. In some ways, it might mar future listens because it’s so painful, but these boys are amazing at their craft and performance. A truly stellar release by these Detroit Death/Doom merchants.
16. Lucifer – III
More excellent Hard Rock action from this amalgamation of international talent. Johanna’s voice shines through as always, a siren call to bring the outcasts home to the church of the occult. Yes, it rocks and yes, it kicks ass. There’s no way to avoid the hooks and the catchy lyrics unless you’re just not into rocking.
15. Freeways – True Bearings
First album by these Canucks and it brims with humble confidence. They sling Thin Lizzy licks like they were former members of the band and mix that with some cruising Hard Rock authority. One of those albums that seem fairly soft at first, and maybe too low-key, but each successive listen endears them to the heart and gets that head to a-banging even more.
14. Katatonia – City Burials
Here’s a band that I’ve always liked but also felt like their last few albums all sounded the same. I longed for some return to their heavier roots, just to mix things up a bit. This record was a good step in that direction. No, it’s not Blackened but it has touches, and the songs don’t all have a similar tone and pace, which gets boring quick. They mix it up and I love their emotional power and heartfelt playing. More of this, please.
13. Konvent – Puritan Masochism
One of the best surprises of the year. Crushingly heavy, powerful, full of confidence and burly strength, these ladies from Denmark punch you in the face and then grind your skulls beneath their boots, laughing all the way. Bruising and harrowing.
12. Lamb of God – Lamb of God
Elders on the scene now, which seems odd because I still consider them a “newer” band, the Lambs come calling with their latest, doing more of what they do the best, but this time they seem a bit more focused and certainly angrier (if such a thing is possible for them). They have become like Motorhead or Slayer; you know what you’re going to get and you’re going to like it. This one stands out more from their last few releases. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, but I’m glad it does.
11. Hatebreed – Weight of the False Self
Another band that’s been around a long time that still feels newer to me (The Wizard is ancient), there has never been a more relentlessly and hatefully positive band in the expanse of all my years. Like other veteran acts mentioned before and to come, they found a way to break free of some of the sameiness that their last couple of records displayed. Renewed vigor, or more foes to fight, it doesn’t matter. Hatebreed have released probably their best album this decade. It’s chockful of hellacious riffs and those shout-alongs that make me want to run headfirst into a brick wall.
The Wizard Has Spoken!