It turns out 2020 was an incredible year for metal, despite being awful for virtually everything else. The hits kept coming right up until the final bell, and we are here to make sure you catch them all. That's right, this list of “Best metal of 2020” actually features nothing but actual metal bands! How novel!
Notable stats from this year's haul:
Germany takes this year's MVP, along with many of the runner-ups, and Sweden and Finland remain in force, with notable assists from Greece and the US.
Our two most favored releases came out just in time to make their debuts on this episode.
Necrovore worship is officially a thing.
Ambush releases from established bands are also a new trend, which is fine by us. Hype is for scene kids who don't actually know what they like.
Top 10 of 2020
Omegavortex, “Black Abomination Spawn” (Invictus Productions) – Continuing where house favorite Beyond left off, these psychotic Germans hurl forward into a vortex of unpolished, uncompromising death metal chaos. This was going to win our “best of” vote, not matter what, so it might as well be right fucking now!
Abigor, “Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook)” (WTC Prod) – Holy shit, new Abigor out of nowhere, and man is it good! All the twists and turns of the current era combined with the bombast and frenzy of the classic material. This would have taken the top slot if it wasn't for Omegavortex coming out the week before.
Sorcier Des Glaces, “Un Monde de Glace et de Sang” (Obscure Obhorrence) – There's nothing we like more than a new SDG album, especially when it's a particularly good one! Quebec's long-running black metal lords bring the glace and the sang just in time for our winter of discontent.
Mavorim, “Axis Mundi” (Purity Through Fire) – If you still miss Satyricon circa 1996, this Teutonic entry will bring you that and more with some well-appointed and imminently listenable black metal.
Ectoplasma, “4 Doors to Death, Vol II V/A” (Unspeakable Axe) – Four tracks on this split from these grisly Greek death metal upstarts were enough to make the grade. We can't wait for the next full-length!
Sanctifying Ritual, “Sanctifying Ritual” (Iron Bonehead Productions) – If Morbid Angel had stuck with their “Abominations of Desolation” configuration for a follow-up, it probably would have sounded like this. Death metal of the old era, done the right way. No marketing acronyms required!
Cultus Profano, “Accursed Possession” (Debemur Mortis Productions) – Easily one of the best current-era American black metal entries, Cultus Profano gets everything right with their excellent sophomore effort.
Ordinance, “In Purge There is No Remission” (The Sinister Flame) – Finnish black metal with aggression, darkness, and atmosphere. It was one of the surprises of the year, and it rules big time.
Black Curse, “Endless Wound” (Sepulchral Voice Productions) – Better than all the other bands of which this is comprised, Black Curse broke out in a notable way on this debut full-length. It's a dense and gripping piece of feral death metal worth hearing.
Abyssfire, “The Raging Hearts of Hell” (Ridge ov Dragon) – We don't know much about this death/black band, except that they are new, from Russia, really good, and deserving of your attention!
And the best of the rest:
- Abhomine Progeny Devoid Proselyte Parasite Plague
- Acherontas The Brazen Experimentalist Psychic Death - The Shattering of Perceptions
- Armagedda Guds kadaver (En falsk Messias) Svindeldjup Ättestup
- Ascendency Culling The Weak Birth Of An Eternal Empire
- Azarath Fall Of The Blessed Saint Desecration
- Cardiac Arrest Endless Dread The Day That Death Prevailed
- Cénotaphe Aux cieux antérieurs Monte Verità
- Deathsiege Poisonous Worlds Unworthy Adversary
- Deathsiege Victorious Dead Unworthy Adversary
- Enshadowed The Great Animist Stare into the Abyss
- Front Antichrist Militia Antichrist Militia
- Graceless Warpath Where Vultures Know Your Name
- Grafvitnir Into the Unknown Deaths Wings Widespread
- Ifernach In The Hollow Of The Togharmach The Green Enchanted Forest Of The Druid Wizard
- Ildskær Mellem Tvende Troner Den Rædsomste Nat
- Invincible Force Damned by Noise and Lust Decomposed Sacramentum
- Katavasia Triumphant Fate Magnus Venator
- Malicious Death Embalmed Deranged Hexes
- Mongrel's Cross As a Being Undead Arcana, Scrying and Revelation
- Nawaharjan Warassuz Lokabrenna
- Nexul Partitioned By Severity Scythed Wings Of Poisonous Decay
- Novae Militiae Advent of the Prophet Topheth
- Ofermod Persisting to Die in Thee Pentagrammaton
- Ondskapt Old and Hideous Grimoire Ordo Devus
- Perdition Temple Desolation Usurper Sacraments of Descension
- Sulfure L'antre de la tarasque Neurotisme
- Todestriebe The Impossibility of Atonement In the Vortex of Destructive Creations
- Wargrinder Plague Descendants Ironclad Destroyer
- Warmoon Lord The Morningstar's Descent Pure Cold Impurity
- Ymir Silvery Howling Ymir
- Yoth Iria Sid-Ed-Djinn Under His Sway