The best albums of 2020 so far…three months in

Some people have suggested that 2020 has been a poor year for music. Whilst I’d never dare to disagree with you, I do believe that this opinion will depend greatly on the genre or subgenre of music you happen to like. If you like a broad range of rock/metal styles, I happen to think that 2020 has been pretty great so far, with plenty of music to get me excited. So much so that I started this post as a ‘top 5’, but soon realised that this would be impossible to achieve.

With that in mind, in no particular order, here are the ten best albums that I believe have been released in the first three months of what has been a pretty awful year in many other ways.

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Night Crowned
Impius Viam
Noble Demon
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

“Night Crowned have awakened something within me that I hadn’t realised was laying dormant. It has reminded me what it is I like about extreme metal and blackened death metal in particular, and why I got into this kind of music back as a teenager in the first place. My tastes may have changed and refined over the years, but there is still something within me that adores the blend of aggression, atmosphere and properly catchy melodies. ‘Impius Viam’ delivers this blend in spades and so, in the blackened death of Night Crowned, I feel most alive.”

Check out my full review here.

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H.E.A.T
H.E.A.T II
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Genre: Melodic Hard Rock

“I begin to feel like I’m stuck in groundhog day because this is the third or fourth review in a row of a H.E.A.T album that has had me reaching for my box of superlatives and where there is literally nothing that I can say to criticise it. But truth is truth and I can’t bend the truth in order to mix things up for you – the fact is that H.E.A.T once again prove that they are a special band and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to melodic hard rock. I cannot recommend this album more highly, it is simply majestic.”

Check out my full review here.

Kvaen - The Funeral Pyre - Artwork

Kvaen
The Funeral Pyre
Black Lion Records
Genre: Black/Death/Folk Metal

“What I really like about ‘The Funeral Pyre’ is that Björnfot has a clear objective and he nails it from beginning to end…Anyone who likes their extreme metal in the blackened death or even the Pagan/folk vein, then Kvaen is a complete no-brainer and ‘The Funeral Pyre’ needs to be nestled in your collection with immediate effect. It’s as simple as that.”

Check out my full review here.

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Novena
Eleventh Hour
Frontiers Records
Genre: Progressive Metal

“If you’re not moved by the final track or by this album as a whole, then I’m afraid that maybe progressive music just isn’t for you and perhaps you should try searching elsewhere for your musical pleasure. For those of you that do like music that is challenging and with genuine depth, ‘Eleventh Hour’ must make it into your collection as quickly as possible. It isn’t negotiable!”

Check out my full review here.

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Dawn Of Ouroboros
The Art Of Morphology
Rain Without End Records
Genre: Progressive Extreme/Black Metal

“‘The Art Of Morphology’ is an album that genuinely has its own identity; it blends extreme metal, with progressive complexity and strong melodic sensibilities, with a sense of smooth effortlessness. For a band so young, it’s an impressive feat. But even more exciting, is the thought of what they might come up with next. Adding this album to your collection is a no-brainer.”

Check out my full review here.

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Psychotic Waltz
The God-Shaped Void
InsideOut Music
Genre: Progressive Metal

“An album of this quality leads me to a specific and important train of thought: what the hell have I been doing all these years to have missed a band of this quality? ‘The God-Shaped Void’ is an intelligent, brilliantly executed slab of heavy progressive metal which, if I can ever stop playing it, will be the catalyst to check out the entire back catalogue. Don’t let this record pass you by – if you do, you’ll regret it, trust me.”

Check out my full review here.

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My Dying Bride
The Ghost Of Orion
Nuclear Blast
Genre: Doom Metal

“‘The Ghost Of Orion’ has almost certainly become my personal favourite simply because of the emotional connection I have with it and because of the way in which the band have overcome so much to release this album in the first place. The more I listen, the more I fall in love with the music that these experienced musicians have created. It has become a constant listening companion over the past week or more, a week where I discover new words, new meaning, new subtle musical nuances within the songs and in so doing, I take it to my heart ever more fondly.”

Check out my full review here.

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God Dethroned
Illuminati
Metal Blade Records
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

“Because of its consistency, power and immediacy, ‘Illuminati’ has to be the best album of God Dethroned’s long and illustrious career. It is certainly my personal favourite as it delivers on just about every level and I never tire of its majestic and melodic savagery. Need I say more?”

Check out my full review here.

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Godthrymm
Reflections
Profound Lore
Genre: Doom Metal

“Yes there’s an argument to say that ‘Reflections’ is just that – a reflection of the past and as such, offers nothing new to the doom metal table. But sometimes, nostalgia is necessary, to remind us of what once was. And, in any case, Godthrymm have indeed delivered something new for us to enjoy: eight incredible new songs that refresh our memories as to how good the doom genre can be, even in 2020, two decades after the heady 90s disappeared into the fog of distant memory. Even if you have only the most casual interest in doom metal, I urge you to check out this beast of an album. I can’t see you being disappointed at all.”

Check out my full review here.

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Into The Open
Destination Eternity
Independent Release
Genre: Progressive Rock

“I’ve said it many times before but one of the biggest thrills for me is to discover a new band from out of nowhere that blows me away. Into The Open is one of these discoveries and I have to congratulate all concerned with creating such an incredibly diverse, interesting and beautiful album. ‘Destination Eternity’ comes with my highest recommendation and must be heard by everyone with a love for quality progressive music; it’s masterful.”

Check out my full review here.

One thought

  1. Hello Matt. Not heard many from this year yet. But my top 3 so far would be:

    1. Brothers of Metal – Emblas Saga
    2. Pendragon – Love Over Fear
    3. Blind Ego – Preaching to the Choir

    Really looking forward to listening to the Into the Open album.

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