Best of 2020
1. Testament – Titans of Creation
The winning streak of awesomeness from the thrash gods remains unbroken. There is still plenty of creativity and there were even some vocal surprises here and there with new levels of viciousness.
2. Necrophobic – Dawn of the Damned
This black/thrash band has been around since the early 90’s but I’m only a recent convert to them. the album Mark of the Necrogram (2018) really grabbed my ear in 2020 and then the later in 2020 release of Dawn of the Damned (2020) followed it up perfectly. I listened to both of those albums a fair bit this year so the band easily places high in my list for 2020.
3. Primal Fear – Metal Commando
One of my fav bands for years. If they canned all the ballads, had more fast songs, METAL COMMANDO would have been my #1 album of the year (even with the regrettable album cover art)….not complaining, just explaining why an album that many would think I’d have as shoe-in for #1 isn’t this year. Still love the band tho!
4. Iron Savior – Skycrest
5. War Kings – Revenge
6. Tulus – Old Old Death
7. Uada – Djinn
8. Ambush – Infidel
9. Dark Fortress – Spectres From the Old World
10. Onslaught – Generation Antichrist
11. Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic
12. Sepultura – Quadra
13. Enslaved – Utgard
14. Persuader – Necromancy
15. Heathen – Empire of the Blind
16. Nightwish – HUMAN. :II: NATURE.
17. Unleash the Archers – Abyss
18. Vader – Solitude in Madness
19. Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
20. Armored Saint – Punching the Sky
Runner up (almost made the list…maybe would if it I got it on release day, Dec. 4th, such is the fate for a lot of December releases): Majestica – A Christmas Carol
I don’t follow much non metal/hardrock but one release that I enjoyed that wasn’t metal this year was Marylin Manson “We Are Chaos”.
Best Metal DVD/Blu-Ray
Kreator – London Apocalypticon – Live at the Roundhouse
Best Live Album
VoiVod: Lost Machine
Best Concert / Best Live Streamed Concert
Because of the pandemic, 2020 was a year in which I saw NO live music. I did watch a few live streams and the highlight from those was the Gamma Ray 30th anniversary special. What put this one over the top was the inclusion of their original vocalist, Ralf Scheepers.
My Favorite Discovery of 2020 was…
Angelus Apatrida – I’m late to the game with this band as their debut studio album is from 2006. Thanks to their inclusion in a Century Media streamed ISOLATION FESTIVAL I really got into them and now am a fan.
Runner up: Nightmare.
Best Comeback of 2020: Persuader
Best Local Band:
I usually base this on what one of the local bands here have done in the past year that grabbed my attention. 2020 was a weird year and not a lot was going on. I did buy a copy of the EP from local death-sludgers The Birchmen called Hot L.A. Nights which is pretty cool but I think the biggest nod must go to Winterhearth for the release of their blackened/thrash album “Riverbed Empire”.
Disappointments of 2020
Yea, lots of boring albums come out every year, but there was no album that came out that I had really high hopes for that really let me down. I suppose I could say I wish the newest album from Nightwish was heavier, faster, and had more RIFFS! Not the morse code chugs, but more guitar riffs taking the center stage…but meh, I’ve thought that for most of their albums for the past decade and I still love them. LOL
Did you have plans for a specific concert or festival in 2020 that were destroyed by the COVID-19 pandemic?
There were a few concerts I was eyeballing in early 2020 but didn’t buy the tickets because I knew they were gonna be cancelled (Testament, Abbath…these two come to mind).
As a result of little to no live music in 2020, did you spend more or less money on albums this year?
I didn’t calculate it, but I suspect I spent more. I ordered albums from some bands I had gotten into, some old classics on vinyl etc. Since I didn’t spend a cent on travel to see live bands, it was justified to spend more on music/merch. 😉
Hopes for 2021
- New albums from: Tribulation, Darkthone, Moonspell, Accept, Einherjer, Angelus Apatrida, Brainstorm, Vintersorg, and I’m sure others that I drawing a blank on at the moment.
- Will King Diamond finally put out the long promised album – please let it be a couple albums because it’s so long overdue with the previous release being from 2007!
- Daniel Heiman (ex-Lost Horizon) returning to singing power metal with Warrior Path!
- Where is Immortal? The last album was Northern Chaos Gods (2018)….since then, not a single live show, no music videos, no news about what their future is. I hope they do more!