40) Pallbearer, Forgotten Days (Nuclear Blast)
The cover artwork alone screams, top album. Pallbearer’s Forgotten Days is a fifty-three-minute journey of doom, atmospheric undertones, and deep emotion.
Key Track: “The Quicksand of Existing”
39) Caspian, On Circles (Triple Crown Records)
Caspian would have been an instant top ten, that being if On Circles went more towards the Dust and Disquiet direction. Not going to lie; I had to listen to this a few more times than usual to understand their softer direction and vocals. It almost feels like a different band. I decided to separate the old from the new and learned to enjoy their more delicate style. Then, you hear songs like “Division Blues,” which makes you wonder where these post-rockers will take post-rock in the future.
Key Track: “Division Blues”
38) Haken, Virus (InsideOut)
First of all, Haken gets bonus points for the coincidental title. Virus is one mesmerizing record that somehow makes you discover something new after each listen. It has its soft, heavy, and overall progressive moments leaving no room for filler tracks.
Key Track: “Invasion”
37) Ulver, Flowers Of Evil (House Of Mythology)
I am fascinated with Ulver’s electronic transformation. Flowers of Evil highlights their shift and creative freedom while capturing the haunting and nostalgic sounds of darkwave.
Key Track: “Hour of the Wolf”
36) Vader, Solitude In Madness (Nuclear Blast)
Vader is an example of how difficult it was to select an order this year since they could have easily been part of the top ten, and here they are at number thirty-six. These Polish death metal legends can never wrong my eardrums, and Solitude In Madness is another chaotic masterpiece.
Key Track: “Into Oblivion”
35) Mors Principium Est, Seven (AFM)
Mors Principium Est have once again delivered a fantastic record. These Finnish melodic death metal giants deserve more credit as their craft continues to excel after each record. I only needed one listen to know Seven was going to be one of the stronger albums of 2020.
Key Track: “In Frozen Fields”
34) Black Crown Initiate, Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape (Century Media)
I was instantly impressed with BCI’s Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape. While I’ve been waiting for a new Ne Obliviscaris album, I felt this record was the perfect dose I needed for some progressive death excellence.
Key Track: “Holy Silence”
33) Myrkur, Folkesange (Relapse)
There’s a natural haunting and beauty behind Myrkur, the Danish project led by Amalie Bruun. I was introduced to her back in 2016 when she opened up for Behemoth, and I’ve been hooked ever since. However, Folkesange sees a deviation from black metal and a focus on traditional Scandinavian folk. While her eclectic take on dark extremities is missing, her soothing and radiant vocals prove she has no limits. I enjoy both the light and dark of Myrkur. This record reminds me of the magnificent Loreena McKennitt.
Key Track: “Ramund”
32) Temperance, Viridian (Napalm Records)
These Italian melodic metallers are getting stronger after each album. They deserve more credit and, I hope, one day when there are concerts again, they will make a trip out to the U.S to show how amazing they are live. With that said, Viridian captures heavy melodic beats mixed with soothing operatic-esque vocals, with a unique execution that makes them stand out and should not be clumped with Nightwish as this album is a vital example of the separation.
Key Track: “The Cult of Mystery”
31) Necrophobic, Dawn Of The Damned (Century Media)
And this is where I start to struggle with the order. Necrophobic’s Dawn of the Damned is one excellent record filled with relentless riffs, intensified vocals, and an overall ruthless sound.
Key Track: “The Infernal Depths of Eternity”