I thought I’d made my peace with my selection for my top 10 albums of 2020, but having left so many good releases out keeps gnawing at my conscience. I feel I need to talk about a few more. I promise these will be the last ones for 2020. I do have to draw a line somewhere and start focusing on this year’s offerings. So here are ten more records which I thought were amazing in 2020 in no particular order. As always be sure you check out the bands, and show them the support they so badly deserve by buying their music and merch. God knows they need it now more than ever.
Lik – Misanthropic Breed
One of the many albums where it hurt the most to scratch from my top albums of 2020. If you enjoy crunchy Swedish HM-2 melodic death metal, this is definitely the one to add to your playlist. I loved 2018’s ‘Carnage‘, but last years ‘Misanthropic Breed‘ is leaps ahead of it. If it sounds as though Lik improves with every record, it’s because they bloody well do. Should their fellow countrymen of At the Gates ever call it quits, Lik can without doubt carry the torch of their legacy. (review by my boy, Mazen)
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Since we’re on the topic of Swedish death metal, here are Night Crowned with their first full-length ‘Impius Viam‘. Would you believe YouTube is still useful for something other than annoying you with ads? Surprisingly I got this album as a recommendation from the now accursed website. And how happy it’s made me since. Here’s another band bringing us masterful melodeath with even some symphonic parts tossed in the mix. Usually, those would make me pass up a death metal record but here they’re well-produced, correctly placed and don’t overwhelm. Singer Ken Romlin in particular shines with his shrill high pitch screams. (another one reviewed by Mazen)
Feastem – Graveyard Earth
Whenever I hear the word “grindcore”, something in me stirs. But when I hear the words “Finnish grindcore”, I go completely bonkers, Rotten Sound being my favourite grindcore band and all. Feastem also hails from the land of a thousand lakes and they’re giving the former a run for their money with their latest ‘Graveyard Earth‘. Dry, fast, crunchy, powerful,… this is grind at its purest. Society needs the occasional violent shitting on from time to time, something Feastem have gotten pretty good at over the years. And they do it just as well in Finnish as they do in English.
Meth Leppard – Woke
Speaking of shitting on society, Meth Leppard would like to join the party. I think the theme and cover of this record speak for themselves in terms of political stance. After Concede‘s ‘Indoctrinate‘ (n°3 in my top albums of 2020), this would be the best grindcore record to come from the land Down Under. While some may find the vocal delivery to be on the repetitive side, I maintain it only adds to the album’s furious brutality. Sure looks like forest fires aren’t the only things raging in Australia.
Team Sweatwave – Agents of S.W.E.A.T.
While everything about the appearance of this record may mislead you into thinking this is just a bad joke, don’t be mistaken. It’s solid gold. Okay, four out of eleven songs are remixes, which may or may not be worth listening to. But the first seven tracks most definitely make up for that. What we have here is Team Sweatwave, a collaborative project between synth artists Turbo Knight, YORU 夜, Dimi Kaye, Gryff & Polemic Heart focused on making you “S.W.E.A.T.” with a record inspired by “energetic and over the top aerobic training videos”. I don’t know ’bout you, but that’s a home run for me. Almost every track on this marvel is straight up synth rock badassery that’ll make you put on your most fluorescent leotards and start doing jumping jacks.