23 Dec Top 15 Albums of 2020
15. Polaris ‘The Death Of Me’
The Death Of Me is a fascinating album to dissect. Many will consider the album among the best of the year, but for me it falls just a little short. Lofty expectations coupled with the fact that the album was pre COVID certainly affect the overall rating for me. Still, this is a strong release that would be a landmark album for many bands, unfortunately when you set such a high bar, it can sometimes be impossible to reach.
Best Tracks: All Of This Is Fleeting. Hypermania. Martyr (Waves).
14. Like Moths To Flames ‘No Eternity In Gold’
What a pleasant surprise this was. Like Moths To Flames have produced a straight up metalcore album in 2020, and it fucking rules. Remember the middle patch of Harry Potter films that were pretty meh, only for the franchise to pick back up for the Deathly Hallows Part 2? That’s essentially the Like Moths To Flames catalogue in a nutshell, so enjoy this triumphant return to form and skip over Harry Potter movies 5-7.
Best Tracks: Spiritual Eclipse. YOTM. Habitual Decline.
13. Enter Shikari ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’
I have fallen in and out love with this album throughout 2020. At its best this album is forward thinking both lyrically and sonically, pushing boundaries as far as they can go. At its worst this album is a self indulgent ego stroke from a band cramming way too much filler into their latest release. Are any of these opinions even ones that I possess? Or is it that Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible?
Best Tracks: The Dreamers Hotel. THE GREAT UNKNOWN. modern living…
12. Ocean Grove ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’
In my review of this album I called Flip Phone Fantasy the best video game soundtrack of 2020. Now before people throw out Tony Hawks Pro Skater or Need For Speed Underground as the greatest video game soundtrack ever. Allow me to suggest Smackdown vs Raw, sporting bands such as Powerman 5000, Sevendust & Three Days Gr…..allow me to retract my previous statement.
Best Tracks: SENSE AGAIN. THOUSAND GOLDEN PEOPLE. FREAKS.
11. Bring Me The Horizon ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’
Sounding more like a mixtape than an album or EP, Bring Me the Horizon’s latest offering is as wild as it is diverse. Dear Diary and Kingslayer offer old school fans a heavy blast from the past, while other cuts see BMTH simply evolving. Everything works on some level, except for the album art, that shits trash.
Best Tracks: Obey. Parasite Eve. Kingslayer
10. Body Count ‘Carnivore’
The toughest album of 2020. Nobody really wants to hear new music from bands who are 25 years into their career, they’d rather the bands lean on the classics. Body Count however are the exception to the rule. From reworking rap cuts to a fucking Motorhead cover, Body Count have released arguably their greatest album to date.
Best Tracks: Bum-Rush. Point the Finger. Thee Critical Beatdown.
9. Kid Cudi ‘Man On The Moon III: The Chosen’
Honestly the album artwork alone makes this album worthy of a top 15 placing, luckily the album itself is excellent. After years of playing rockstar, Kid Cudi has returned to his roots, producing an introspective look into the inner workings of Scott Mescudi. Ranging from outer worldly trap bangers to uplifting anthems, the back half especially will half Cudi fans rejoicing. A fitting conclusion to the Man On The Moon trilogy.
Best Tracks: The Void. Another Day. Show Out.
8. Loathe ‘I Let It in and It Took Everything’
I Let It in and It Took Everything is an album that asks the listener to sit down and enjoy as an experience. It also asks you to treat the obvious Deftones comparisons as influence and not imitation. If you can do this, you will adore this album. The scope is massive with lush choruses and engaging guitar sections, Loathe truly have crafted something special. One of the few bands who I can confidently say are shaping heavy musics future.
Best Tracks: Aggressive Evolution. New Face in the Dark. Gored.
7. Make Them Suffer ‘How to Survive a Funeral’
After the epic scale of 2017s Worlds Apart, Make Them Suffer opted for a more traditional album in 2020. By that I mean Make Them Suffer opted to cram banger after banger into an album until you throw up with glee. With some cheeky blast beats, slick guitar work and improved vocal performances, you will find yourself gasping for air at times throughout HTSAF. Another impressive release from a band who are yet to disappoint.
Best Tracks: Erase Me. That’s Just Life. Bones.
6. Justice For The Damned ‘Pain Is Power’
If you asked me what I thought of Justice for the Damned a year ago, I would’ve said decent band but nothing to write home about. If you put one year ago me in front of current me, I would play this album and crowd kill that little bitch until I saw blood. A wonderfully written and produced album that makes me want to bash my next door neighbours dog for barking at 6am, try me bitch.
Best Tracks: Pain Is Power. Machine of War. Final Cataclysm.
5. Alpha Wolf ‘A Quiet Place To Die’
Alpha Wolf are primed and ready for world domination whenever this virus fucks off. After an EP that left fans a touch deflated, Alpha Wolf have released their finest work to date on A Quiet Place To Die. From mosh anthems like Akudama and Restricted (R18+), to slower cuts like Bleed 4 You & don’t ask, Alpha Wolf have refined and reinvigorated their sound on this album. As I get a little older I don’t mosh as hard as I used to, but if you see me at an Alpha Wolf show in 2021, get out of my way.
Best Tracks: Akudama. Rot In Pieces. Creep.
4. Code Orange ‘Underneath’
This is the future of heavy music. In a glitchy dystopian future Code Orange created a sound that went against every conventional trope in heavy music. They harnessed this sound and went back in time to release Underneath in 2020, we are grateful for your sacrifice Code Orange. This album is Terminator 2, with 2017s Forever being the still impressive Terminator 1.
Best Tracks: In Fear. Swallowing the Rabbit Whole. Underneath
3. Mac Miller ‘Circles’
A beautiful farewell to an artist who was taken from us too soon. It’s hard not to get emotional listening to lyrics such as “there’s a whole lot more for me waiting on the other side” knowing everything that’s happened. As somebody who has always been skeptical when it comes to posthumous albums, I congratulate Jon Brion on fully realising Mac’s vision. From Blue Slide Park to Circles, Mac Miller evolved as an artist and as a person, if only we could see where the future would’ve taken him. Rest easy Mac, we all miss you.
Best Tracks: Good News. Circles. Hand Me Downs
2. Run The Jewels ‘RTJ4’
The most important album to be released in 2020. Killer Mike & El-P have proven that regardless of how chaotic 2020 has been, they are still the benchmark in hip-hop. Name me a band/artist/group that has released four albums that have been consistently this good, I’ll wait. Production is top notch, beats are more wild now than ever, Run The Jewels can now rightfully take their spot at the top of the throne.
Best Tracks: walking in the snow. JU$T. out of sight.
1. DVSR ‘West Technique’
West Technique is simply the most enjoyable album I listened to in 2020. An album with absolutely no filler, DVSR have released a record with standout tracks laced throughout the entire 45 minute runtime. If you haven’t been able to give this album a listen yet, this is you final warning, embrace the adrenaline, allow yourself to get swept up in the excitement, the results will be devastating. Well deserved, well earned, DVSRs West Technique is 2020s album of the year.
Best Tracks: Bloodlust. Black Magic. Homesic. No Sugar. Tn Tax. Devil On My Shoulder.