Best Of 2020 – Last Rites Combined Staff Top 25

Thanks to all the artists and their collective creative spirit, we still manage to live amidst an embarrassment of riches, despite the whipping vortex of chaos that continues to swirl around us as 2020 slowly and brutally winds down. Patch the bedlam with huge swaths of inspiration and life almost seems livable, no? Whether it be films, shows, paintings, drawings, modeling, photography, writing, etc ad infinitum, art has provided a necessary net for Earth’s collective plunge into pandemonium, and we all owe the artists in our lives an enormous debt for the significant task of giving humans something to look forward to as the days of 2020 continue to slug forward into a precarious 2021. Thank you, protectors of the realm.

As anticipated, metal was no different; 2020 supplied a dauntless assemblage of top-shelf releases tall enough to shadow Lady Liberty herself, making attempts to glean and arrange the crème de la crème feel a bit like organizing and rating your darling children. All said and done, we’re very lucky to have them all, but you know the drill: The game requires winners at the end. But holy holy holy, was there ever a lot of contenders—arguably more so than any other year—so that means you can expect to see extremely diverse lists from one site to the next. That’s good, right? When faced with an embarrassment of riches, spreading the wealth is the grandest of ideas.

Take for example the curious fact that Last Rites and Decibel Magazine share a grand total of four releases in our contrasting Top 25s this year, and we have ZERO in common once you hit the enchanted Top 10. This seems…unusual. Throwing both under the microscope, Decibel’s overall list features a couple / few bands considered to be on-trend by the public at large, whereas our list features virtually nothing considered in vogue and a number of picks that reveal the collective crew decision to meet the year’s endless right hooks and leg sweeps with a more defensive Miyagi-do karate style that emphasizes tradition, finesse, and, um, nerdiness? That’s code for “we still really love the old bands, and we listened to a lot of unfashionable prog / progressive (the two are different) music this year.” The biggest fight behind closed doors at LR HQ in 2020 involved how to deal with a stack of contenders that straddled the line with regard to heaviness, and a number of us hoped we could figure out how to mention the weird obsession with Khan’s Space Shanty (1972) that bubbled to the surface after seeing the Pallbearer lads mention it in an article back in October.

Oh, hey, speaking of Best Of Lists, did you catch our ten-part (plus a few appendages) 100 Essential Albums of 2010s list that ran earlier this year? It was a significant endeavor that hopefully delivered another bright spot amidst all the madness of 2020, and it substantiated the truth that often the best way to combat a really shitty year is by revisiting past years when things weren’t, you know, quite as shitty.

Okay, no need to drag things out any further. As always, a terrifically sincere thank you is owed to the readers who continue to cram our words into their eyeballs, particularly those who occasionally take the extra step of hitting that «Donate Now» button stashed under Support Last Rites over there to the right >>> of our front page.

The crew of Last Rites remain committed to spotlighting what we truly believe to be the noblest riffs metal and its applicable off-shoots have to offer, and we look forward to continuing that course in 2021. We very much hope you plan to join us on our continuing adventure.

Oh, and dear planet Earth, pull yourself together, old friend.

[CAPTAIN]

25. UNDERGANG – ALDRIG I LIVET

“Denmark’s masters of all things sewered, Undergang, operate in a sphere that’s born from an Eternia slime pit and demonstrates a lifelong association and commitment to disgust. The humor is a little more on the ‘saluting a thermonuclear boil on your neck that just, awwwww, spoke its first words’ end of the spectrum, but even the album cover for this, the band’s fifth full-length, appears as if it might be a Garbage Pail Kid that somehow managed to survive and become all growed up. (Deheaded Ted?)” [CAPTAIN]

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24. AFTERBIRTH – FOUR DIMENSIONAL FLESH

“Much of the music is positively bright, either emphasizing the progressive threads or taking on some atmosphere, but the album is always more than eager to devolve into another set of gross, squelching thuds. All four dudes in Afterbirth take part in this bru-prog dichotomy, even if Smith’s deepest-of-all-death-growl vocals are likely to be the most responsible for any unidentifiable fluids. The total package ought to appeal to fans of Demilich, Wormed, or even Smith’s main band Artificial Brain, but Afterbirth definitely ends up being its own astutely disgusting, or disgustingly astute thing.” [ZACH DUVALL]

Last Rites review in Death Metal Dossier
Album at Unique Leader Bandcamp

23. GRAYCEON – MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

“Love isn’t particularly fashionable in heavy metal, but this is an album animated by both fierce love and righteous anger. Mothers Weavers Vultures loves all the more desperately because it takes its strength from the certainty of death. This is an album that celebrates the fact that our lives are punctuated by periods rather than ellipses, and thus challenges us to be the authors of each word in our story.” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

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22. DROPDEAD – DROPDEAD 2020

“Dropdead is a band that has always worn its heart on its sleeve when it comes to their beliefs, and 2020 is no exception. Maybe you agree with them, maybe you don’t — I tend to — but their message has been consistent for three decades, and there’s no doubting their conviction. Times of strife fuel the fires. From this burning hellscape of a time, we’ve been #blessed with some great angry records, from the recent Napalm Death rager to this absolute barnstormer of a pissed-off punk rock record.” [ANDREW EDMUNDS]

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21. MY DYING BRIDE – THE GHOST OF ORION

“[‘The Old Earth’] ought to evoke feelings of timelessness with its more harrowing guitar-violin interplay and aggressive finish. The riffs are downright monolithic, while Stainthorpe provides a combination of truly gorgeous singing and some of the most forceful, haggard growls he’s ever put to tape. It’s also another late-album My Dying Bride song (only an outro follows) that closes a bit of an arc. After all, they may mope and plod for about an hour, but never without a purpose.” [ZACH DUVALL]

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20. ENSLAVED – UTGARD

“…this fresh batch of songs offers yet another demonstration of the band’s recombinant genius. It’s a little like striking off into a wilderness area you’ve explored dozens of times, only to find that the trails are overgrown and strange. You know the trees and rocks but your eye can’t complete your inner map without a trusted guide. Utgard is a marvelous album that trusts in the listener’s instinct and intelligence, and it can only further cement Enslaved’s status as unparalleled champions of progressive and emotive heavy metal.” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

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19. WORM – GLOOMLORD

“For as much as Gloomlord thrives on its gloriously fetid atmosphere, just beneath the bubbling murk of the sound are some impressively smart songwriting moves and beautiful highlights. Chief among those highlights is a tremendous guitar solo that emerges at about 5:52 into ‘Apparitions of Gloom.’ Not only is the solo itself meticulously composed and outrageously uplifting for such an otherwise dour-sounding album, but it twins back with some doubled lead guitar to make one of the most impressive uses of shredding in tar-slow metal…” [DAN OBSTKRIEG]

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18. ARMORED SAINT – PUNCHING THE SKY

“Armored Saint is one of America’s finest heavy metal institutions, now nearly forty-years strong. If you’re not on board, then you’re missing the boat, and if you’ve climbed aboard somewhere in the past however many decades, then there’s absolutely no way you aren’t happy with Punching The Sky. It’s the best they’ve done in a long while, maybe since Symbol Of Salvation (at the very least since Revelation), and it’s an absolute stunner from a classic band that’s at the top of their game, still.” [ANDREW EDMUNDS]

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17. PSYCHOTIC WALTZ – THE GOD-SHAPED VOID

The God-Shaped Void is absolutely the next natural step for Psychotic Waltz, sounding just as if it was made in 1998 as the follow-up to Bleeding. That may seem a little anticlimactic, but this is a band that made four great albums and found a way to progress from each one to the next, so a next step should be pretty exciting. It must have been really difficult, actually, to pick back up right where they left off almost a quarter of a century ago. Surely there were a thousand voices telling them to modernize, catch some trend, do something flashy and therefore relevant. It’s evident, though, the voices they tuned into were their own, as true to the band’s vision as they’ve ever been.” [LONE WATIE]

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16. DEFEATED SANITY – THE SANGUINARY IMPETUS

The Sanguinary Impetus is truly no less brutal than anything these guys have managed in the past—it simply accomplishes the goal of crushing your marbles by making so many ruthless hairpin turns that even a homing pigeon with a miniature atlas strapped to its back will end up defeated and sobbing on the curb after this 34-minute bombardment. There’s also a strange sense of… homeyness or comfort in the brutality? It almost feels as if the back-and-forth between getting mauled by a deranged bear and relentlessly stung by a funky fresh crew of wild hornets is by request, and there’ll probably be tea afterwards.” [CAPTAIN]

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15. ETERNAL CHAMPION – RAVENING IRON

“Does Ravening Iron exceed the band’s previous masterpiece? For yours truly, the answer is… Yes and no. My personal interpretation is that the band have presented two complimentary works, that, when viewed together, are even greater than the sum of their components. The colder, more hazy fantasy atmosphere of The Armor Of Ire represents the ice and shield to Ravening Iron‘s more immediate and aggressive fire and sword. The production on the latter is more of a blaze to Armor‘s mighty winds, and while Armor certainly wears a bit more Manowar influence on its sleeve, Ravening Iron hits the Manilla Road vibes a lot harder.” [RYAN TYSINGER]

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14. NAPALM DEATH –
THROES OF JOY IN THE JAWS OF DEFEATISM

“As with Apex Predator before it, and Utilitarian before that, and Time Waits For No Slave before that, Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism is the sound of one of the greatest extreme bands of all time reminding us that they are exactly that, one of the greatest, and here are twelve (or more) reasons why. There are no wasted moments, no extraneous riff or scream, no moment of spite and fury put anywhere but in the exact perfect place. Now the eighth album produced by Russ Russell, Throes is a sonic juggernaut, punchy and clear and devastating.” [ANDREW EDMUNDS]

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13. DARK QUARTERER – POMPEI

“Dark Quarterer’s great strength is telling these stories through the music, as lyrics and vocals and instruments are braided in the songwriting process so that the weave is both stronger and more aesthetically interesting than the strands individually. The listener’s experience, of course, is the proof of concept. We all know the story: it’s a volcano, it erupts, people are killed and buried. Yet the music captures the imagination nonetheless through that immersive and dynamic songwriting approach coupled with passionate playing that touches the listener emotionally.” [LONE WATIE]

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12. HÄLLAS – CONUNDRUM

“Yet at the heart of all tunes – roto-toms and synthesizers aside – the same feeling and timeless energy swaths the tunes in the Cape of Hällas. Against a background of pink nebulae, guitar riffs crunch and punch while drums gallop along on a tight hi-hat, pumping the musical engines into warp overdrive. These are tunes for adventure, curiosity and ultimately personal reflection. For what are we in this vast nothingness, if not nothingness ourselves?” [MANNY-O-LITO]

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11. BÜTCHER – 666 GOATS CARRY MY CHARIOT

“‘Iron Bitch’ lays down exactly what we can expect for the album: the hyper fast NWOBHM melodies a la Slayer’s Show No Mercy and hints of Metallica’s Kill ’em All, coüpled with the maniac speed and güitar füry of thrash bands like Whiplash or Nuclear Assault make the chariot feel wildly in danger of flying off the roads of a post-nüclear apocalyptic wasteland. Additionally, aptly monikered vocalist R. Hellshrieker barks, gruffs and shrieks his way across the riff-laden terrain. adding delicioüs little touches süch as rolling r’s and empowered howls from hades throughout the track.” [RYAN TYSINGER]

Last Rites review
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10. KATATONIA – CITY BURIALS

“Now perhaps the single greatest accomplishment of City Burials is Katatonia’s effortless ability to combine their compositional prowess across different eras of their career. There are more than a few odes to Night is the New Day here, as the instrumentation is heavier than it has been in years. There’s also a nod back to the days of Discouraged Ones, as you’ll hear some alternative sounding guitar riffs supporting clean leads and raspy vocals. Finally, Katatonia has taken The Fall of Hearts and added in highlights from their earlier days to make it feel like the most complete Katatonia record to date.” [MANNY-O-LITO]

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9. WYTCH HAZEL – III: PENTECOST

“Shades of Thin Lizzy immediately bash you in the face as the guitars tear a hole in your chest using harmonized guitar leads. Don’t worry, pal. That hole is about to be filled up with love and lyrics and adventure. And the best part, you ask? The togetherness. There’s a lovely warm sound to the production and a collective call to arms in the vocals that makes the listener never feel alone in this world. These aren’t the tales of a lone knight on a mission to avenge the murder of his father and siblings and the kidnap of his mother. No. Rather, the tracks imbue a collective excitement and pure feeling of collective energy…” [MANNY-O-LITO]

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8. AUTONOESIS – AUTONOESIS

“But then comes the bit that’ll make you put the dishes back in the sink and just go sit down for a minute to just take it all in: Out of a build of minor key riffing reinforced with some ethereal synths comes a ripping solo that erupts from a flurry of sweeps into a soaring melody. It’s not only pretty awe-inspiring from a technical perspective, but it is just so goddamn emotive. Drawn out, but never stagnant, the solo carries the song into a higher plateau of climax—yet the full potency of the Autonoesis solo has yet to be realized.” [RYAN TYSINGER]

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7. HAVUKRUUNU – UINUOS SYÖMEIN SOTA

“Certainly, the center of a bloody conflict is a life-or-death situation and requires a sense of immediacy, but Havukruunu takes it all in stride, riffing with not just adequacy to the tempo but with grace and style and, hell, a swagger. Images of our hero dancing around the clash of swords and the swinging of axes beneath a cloud of arrows and catapult shots immerse the listener in the soundscape. This is epic black metal on the 5D IMAX THX Deluxe 8000 scale. It’s possible to smell the sweat and drying blood over the near-never-ending run of the kick drums pacing with a quickness and a purpose, dead set on delivering the hero towards their goal.” [RYAN TYSINGER]

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6. MALOKARPATAN – KRUPINSKÉ OHNE

Krupinské ohne pushes 50 minutes with just five songs. Many of the tools they use to fill this space were established on previous albums, particularly Nordkarpatenland, while others are fresh. But what really sells the album is how Malokarpatan manages to increase the seriousness and complexity of their songs while also releasing their funnest album yet. Krupinské ohne is about the Catholic Church burning a coven of witches in Krupina during the 17th Century, and was designed to call back to 70s progressive rock. Bizarre themes, a broad scope, and tip-top musicianship—seriousness with a smile, to be sure.” [ZACH DUVALL]

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5. ORANSSI PAZUZU – MESTARIN KYNSI

“In a word, this album is special. It is uniquely Oranssi Pazuzuzan, and it challenges both the band and the listener. Mestarin kynsi is another captivating, restless, and impeccable album that builds on their legacy. It rises above the high standards placed by the band’s continued exploration of hypnotic tension and visceral release. Get your mind right and climb aboard. Oranssi Pazuzu is one of the most exciting and challenging bands out there (waaaaay out there), and their trajectory aims ever upward.” [FETUSGHOST]

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4. PHARMACIST –
MEDICAL RENDITIONS OF GRINDING DECOMPOSITION

“Like you, the Japanese goregrind duo Pharmacist also enjoys Carcass, and they also really enjoy Symphonies Of Sickness. From the rotten fuzzy tones and the relentlessly slicing riffs to the combination of inhuman gurgling and biting snarl — and of course, there’s that special ew-that’s-nazzzzty album art — Pharmacist has fully embraced the sense of putridity that characterized that early landmark record. They’re far from the first to do so, of course, but they do it with such stomach-churning pizzazz that it’s impossible to resist.” [ANDREW EDMUNDS]

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3. CIRITH UNGOL – FOREVER BLACK

“Album number five is, simply put, everything a fan of Cirith Ungol could ever hope for concerning the next chapter. The band has always had a knack for opening with an absolute banger, and ‘Legions Arise’ is truly that in abundance. The production is modern and ‘clean,’ but it doesn’t sacrifice the necessary raw edges, and there’s little doubt that Baker’s early call of ‘So rise like the chosen you all have become / We march forth in battle, together as one’ won’t reach the ears of even the most vintage-minded troglodytes buried in the deepest recesses of the underground. ‘Exhilarating’ might be the easiest descriptor; ‘massively fucking exhilarating’ would be the more scientific designation. [CAPTAIN]

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2. FATES WARNING – LONG DAY GOOD NIGHT

“A certainty: When Fates Warning gets their album covers right—which, as we know, isn’t always a guarantee—they get them so frigging right that fans eventually cannot separate the greatness of said art from the music that dwells behind it. Such is the case with Long Day Good Night, which finds the band reconnecting with a darker vibe that’s certainly fitting of the times, but similar to Patrick Atkin’s wonderful cover artwork, things never fully pull away from the supporting light. The abundance of charming melody always prevails—Matheos of course dominates, but long-time live guitarist Michael Abdow is in attendance enough with lifting leads that he’s pictured in the press photo, and Ray Alder’s talent for absurdly engaging vocal hooks ensures that every song delivers that familiar sense of isolated comfort.” [CAPTAIN]

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1. THY CATAFALQUE – NAIV

“Sometimes Naiv wants you to get mean; sometimes it wants you to close your eyes and go to Your Cave; sometimes you’re expected to dance your mortal ass off to irresistible beats; and sometimes you have to raise your fist in the type of unabashed heavy metal furor that you might not expect from a Thy Catafalque record. There are a million ways to describe this band and this record, but perhaps it’s easier to just point out the obvious: this stuff is just so damn cool. Kátai is simply playing with a loaded deck at this point. In terms of his fearlessness, deft touch for the widely varying material, and his choices in collaborators, he has never been achieving at a higher level.” [ZACH DUVALL]

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Posted by Last Rites

GENERALLY IMPRESSED WITH RIFFS

  1. Let’s be honest, even without the trendy stuff, Decibel’s list is just chock full of mediocrity.

    My own list will differ dramatically from this one, yet there’s only quality, talent and passion here.

    Hooray for list season!

    Reply

    1. They did a good jorb of putting Eternal Champion in the top three, though

      Reply

  2. It’s a testament to how wide ranging the genre is that I only have 4 albums on this list. Three of them are in my top 25 as well. I also bought Grayceon but that hasn’t dropped yet. The two available songs are top notch however.

    I still haven’t bought or listen to the latest from Armored Saint, Enslaved or Fates Warning something which I clearly need to remedy.

    Here is what my Top 25 is shaping up to look like.
    1)Protest The Hero: Palmpliest
    2)Dragunov: Arkhipov
    3)Wayfarer: A Romance With Violence
    4)Brothers of Metal: Emblas Saga
    5)EMBR: 1823
    6 to 25 in no particular order
    Myrkur: Folkesange
    Katonia: City Burials
    Haken: Virus
    Psychotic Waltz: God Shape Void
    ADX: Bestial
    Aeternam: Al Qassam
    Unleash The Archers: Abyss
    Cirith Ungol: Forever Black
    Vile Creature: Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!
    Wills Dissolve: Echoes
    The Ocean: Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic
    Darktribe: Voici L’Homme
    Dawn Of Solance; Waves
    Ironsword: Servants Of Steel
    Meurtrières: S/T
    Ad Infinitum: Marching On Versaille
    Ocean of Slumber: S/T
    Osyron: Foundations
    In The Company of Serpents: Lux
    Bull Elephant: Created From Death

    Reply

    1. ADX!! I love that band so much, but didn’t get super into the new one. Probably need a few plays and give it a proper chance to sink in. That Meurtrières EP/MLP/whatever is wonderful

      Reply

      1. ADX was a grower for me give it a second chance it is well worth it. Meurtrières was a nice surprise and deserves far more praise then it’s been getting.

        Reply

  3. Pyrrhon? Why hast thou forsaken them?

    Reply

    1. Chris out here spitting truths.

      Reply

  4. Good god, how did I not know about that Bütcher album until now?! I’m genuinely upset that I spent most of 2020 without that in my life. That’s why I love these lists.

    My unsolicited, in no particular order, top 15 looks something like this:

    Antzaat – For You Men Who Gaze Into the Sun
    Paradise Lost – Obsidian
    Stalker – Black Majik Terror
    Cytotoxin – Nuklearth
    Pyrrhon – Abscess Time
    Necrot – Mortal
    Oranssi Pazazu – Mestarin kynsi
    Svalbard – When I Die, Will It Get Better?
    Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still
    Drain – California Cursed (decidedly a punk record – thus not metal, but fuck it, this album destroys as much as any metal record this year)

    Reply

    1. Oh man Bütcher is a blast! Definitely snuck in early on but it’s stayed on constant rotation for me all year. I’ll have to check out that Drain record!

      Reply

      1. I can’t recommend that Drain record enough. It’s hardcore that doesn’t overlook the style’s roots in punk; definitely a west coast band but they aren’t afraid to throw in some more NYHC-style muscularity too. To top it off, it’s all just so … fun.

        Can’t wait for COVID to be over because I have a feeling that any venue they happen to play is barely left standing at the end of their show – and I wanna see that.

        Reply

    2. Dude, good picks. The Drain record is fucking amazing btw, thank you!

      Reply

  5. 2020’s been rough on the attention span for me, so there’s no possible way I could rank these, other than alphabetically and split into two tiers, and thus no way I could limit the list to a specific number, so I guess this is my “2020 Albums That Blew My Skirt Up:”

    Myrkur – Folkesange (has gotten the most plays in my household)
    Escuela Grind – Indoctrination
    Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron
    Havukruunu – Uinos Syömein Sota
    Katatonia – City Burials
    Loud Night – Mindnumbing Pleasure
    Malokarpatan – Krupinske Ohne
    My Dying Bride – The Ghost of Orion
    Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Despair
    Neptunian Maximalism – Eons
    Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynski
    Question – Reflections of the Void
    Ulver – Flowers of Evil

    Aara – En Ergo Einai
    Akurion – Come Forth to Me
    Enslaved – Utgard
    Grief Eater – s/t
    Häxenzijrkell – Die Nachtseite
    Paradise Lost – Obsidian
    Void Prayer – The Grandiose Return to the Void
    Wayfarer – A Romance with Violence

    Dope EPs:
    Dauthuz – Grubenfall 1727
    Final Slum War – Agora Fudeu!!!
    Power Trip – Hornet’s Nest 🙁

    Reply

    1. No Wake, Earth Rot, Leeched, Sweven, Cryptoc Shift, Spirit Adrift? Impossible to fit them all in, great list though!

      Reply

      1. Earth Rot! Good call. That album is awesome, it’s probably top 20 for me.

        Reply

      2. The older I get, the harder it is to cram everything in. I didn’t have the chance to check out Wake, Earth Rot, Leeched, or Cryptic Shift, nor Spirit Adrift, who hasn’t really done much for me in the past (I’ll eventually see if I can remedy that). Sweven’s dope, but I did spend some time being butthurt that it’s not the album Sweven. Also, I missed the vinyl release, so I kept my distance more than I may otherwise have done.

        Other stuff I forgot, or have since checked out though deserve mention:
        – Thy Catafalque
        – Aara – En Ergo Einai
        – Tok Yathraa – all material released in 2020; really cool Southeast Asian folk/black metal, RIYL Mercyful Fate, Sigh, and gonzo 80s horror like Mystics in Bali or The Witch with Flying Head.
        – Häxenzijrkell – Die Nachtseite
        – Meurtrieres – s/t EP – dope French trad w/ powerful female vocals
        – Void Prayer
        – Chepang – Chatta
        – Ricinn – Nereid

        Reply

        1. Jesus, I can’t even remember what I posted the first time, apparently. 2020 can suck all the dicks, bagged by the gross.

          Reply

        2. Tok Yathraa was such fun little discovery this year!

          Reply

  6. Great list! So hard to fit them all in. Here’s mine (wonder where I found about #16?):
    1. Sweven
    2. Wake
    3. Earth Rot
    4. Leeched
    5. Enslaved
    6. Napalm Death
    7. Oranssi Pazuzu
    8. Xibalba
    9. Testament
    10. Armored Saint
    11. Spirit Adrift
    12. Panzerfaust
    13. Bedsore
    14. Katatonia
    15. Midnight
    16. Autonoesis
    17. Sumac
    18. Cryptic Shift
    19. Ulcerate
    20. Gaerea

    Reply

    1. Solid list! What a tough year to pick

      Reply

  7. What did I miss in City Burials? As a huge fan of Fall of Hearts, I was supremely disappointed in it yet I continue to see many glowing tales.

    Reply

  8. My favorites of the year were Intronaut and Of Feather and Bone. I’m looking forward to check out the rest of these that I haven’t heard 😉

    Reply

  9. Nothing from Debemur Morti? They had Ulcerate, Aversio Humanatitas, and Akhlys put out some fantastic albums this year. Nice to see Butcher, Malokarpatan, and Havukruunu though.

    Reply

    1. I’ll have a Debemur Morti release quite high on my list later this month

      Reply

  10. Nice list, y’all! I know how much time you spend putting this together every year (especially Captain) and it’s very much appreciated. As with all lists, some of these albums will be forgotten and some will be remembered forever, but the #1 choice is undeniably unforgettable! Great work.

    Reply

  11. With everything else going on this year, I really haven’t put the effort in to come up with an extensive list of albums released this year, though thanks to Bandcamp Fridays I own a fair few. I’ll use the above list over December to check out albums I’ve missed this year.

    In terms of 2020 music I’ve liked, the following albums have been high on rotation:
    Anaal Nathrakh
    Enslaved
    Expander
    Havukruunu
    Insect Ark
    The Ocean
    Oranssi Pazuzu
    Paradise Lost
    Rebel Wizard
    Ulcerate

    Reply

  12. Harder Farter Darker December 13, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    What a year! And so far this is the best top I’ve seen for it, aka I find a lot of the mentions to be top quality! Loving this period, where we reflect on what has been going on

    My picks:
    1. Creature – Ex Cathedra
    2. Havukruunu – Uinos Syömein Sota
    3. Lamp Of Murmuur – Heir Of Ecliptical Romanticism
    4. Old Nick – Errr any one out of their plethoric output this year, especially the latest ones
    5. Inquisition – Black Mass For A Mass Grave
    6. Thy Catafalque – Naiv

    And then, in no real particular order:

    Urfaust – Teufelsgeist
    Bríi – Entre Tudo que é Visto e Oculto
    Zmey Gorynich – Чёртовы Пляски / Devilish Dances
    Eschuskya – The Lanterne
    Esoctrilihum – Eternity Of Shaog
    Golden Ashes – In The Lugubrious Silence Of Eternal Night
    Primeval Mass – Nine Altars
    Autonoesis – Autonoesis
    Akhlys – Melinoë
    Hellripper – The Affair Of The Poisons

    I’m sure more will come back to my memory later, but these were definitely my most played album this year.

    Reply

    1. So happy to see some Primeval Mass love! I did very much enjoy that Bríi EP, have the album queued up for this week

      Reply

      1. Harder Farter Darker December 15, 2020 at 12:57 pm

        That Primeval Mass is brilliant and savage! And indeed, it seems it didn’t get nearly enough love. But I guess there was so much quality music this year that it was sometimes hard to get noticed.

        Glad you liked that Bríi EP, the album is a nice variation around that sound.

        Reply

        1. It’ll get some love in due time. I think not getting a US distributor all year hurt it a bit, and kind of surprised me

          Reply

    2. You know, I’m really surprised that Esoctrilihum album didn’t show up anywhere here. It’s some seriously wild and fun music, his best so far. 2nd passage baby!

      Reply

  13. Harder Farter Darker December 13, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    Ah shoot, here are a couple more:

    The True Werwolf – Devil Crisis
    Wyrmwoods – Gamma

    Reply

  14. I absolutely love Decibel (really, I do. Been a subscriber for yeeears) but I agree that they have lately been drifting towards “taste-maker”-ism’s that have been largely underwhelming (really, Power Trip was not THAT good) … *ahem*

    But, I love this list even though I don’t see Ulcerate or Myrkyr, two of my most favorites this year that I don’t see getting enough love … even if Myrkyr isn’t metal, I love that style of folk song.

    Reply

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