10) Unleash The Archers, Abyss (Napalm Records)
If you asked me a year ago about considering Unleash The Archers for the best album of the year, I would never have imagined they would land on my top ten. And to some extent, their powerful and perfected record does deserve to take the number one spot. But, there are many sub-genres to explore and reasons behind this challenging order. Abyss has made me an official Unleash The Archers fan. It’s simply irresistible!
Key Track: “Afterlife”
09) Abysmal Dawn, Phylogenesis (Season Of Mist)
Finally, after six long years, Abysmal Dawn have returned with such an ambitious and excellent record, Phylogenesis. There’s a considerable amount of brilliant and well-crafted material to chew with this one. From the production to technicality along with the thought out whimsical writing, the California death metal outfit has unveiled what could be their strongest album to date.
Key Track: “Hedonistic”
08) Enslaved, Utgard (Nuclear Blast)
Despite diverting away from black metal, adding progressive bliss, Enslaved continue to incorporate both styles. We hear this pairing well with Utgard. These Norwegian metallers are turning into a fine bottle of Pinot Noir for me. No matter which bottle you open (for the most part), it’s delicious. You can also enjoy a glass of red while taking in the beauty of this album.
Key Track: “Jettegryta”
07) Oceans Of Slumber, Oceans Of Slumber (Century Media)
Cammie Gilbert is moving fast up on my list of personal favorite vocalists. Her powerful and graceful vocals are the perfect clash to the harsh musical arrangements on this record. Musically, these Texas progressive/doom metallers have multiple layers within their sound that you need to listen to this album at least five times to understand just how spellbinding it is. Oceans of Slumber are growing, and this is an excellent follow-up to 2018’s magnificent album, The Banished Heart.
Key Track: “Pray For Fire”
06) Paradise Lost, Obsidian (Nuclear Blast)
There’s plenty to absorb in Paradise Lost’s new album Obsidian. For one, the darkwave elements you hear in “Ghosts,” which I spoke to frontman Nick Holmes about earlier this year. I think I listened to this album the most as there’s this natural comfort to it. Plus, it’s depressing as hell (as expected); what else can you ask for?
Key Track: “Darker Thoughts”
05) Sólstafir, Endless Twilight Of Codependent Love (Season Of Mist)
The album title alone makes you stop to self-reflect. Then you hit play, and you’ve entered into an Icelandic psychedelic post-metal realm filled with loss, sorrow, and hardships. Sólstafir’s latest effort is a few steps above 2017’s Berdreyminn and reminds me a bit more of 2014’s Ótta.
Key Track: “Akkeri”
04) Dark Tranquillity, Moment (Century Media)
At one point, I said both Enslaved and Dark Tranquillity saved 2020. And here’s Moment at number four. I have to say; it was their first single with “Phantom Days” that caught my attention. The album as a whole goes on a different level than 2016’s Atoma, but DT keeps things fresh. Moment marks a new chapter for the group that goes beyond a new lineup. It’s both meticulous and emotionally driven. Enjoy the chaos.
Key Track: “Identical To None”
03) Omega Infinity, Solar Spectre (Season Of Mist)
Despite having the hunger for a new Ne Obliviscaris album, Xenoyr has proven everything he touches musically and artistically turns to gold. Omega Infinity was founded in 2018 by Tentakel P. after his group Todtgelichter was put on an indefinite hiatus. There’s that old saying, when one door closes, a new one opens. And this Omega Infinity pathway is one of the finest records I’ve listened to all year. It makes you speechless where all you can do is say “Wow,” and then the next phenomenal track comes into play.
Key Track: “Saturn”
02) Draconian, Under A Godless Veil (Napalm Records)
Technically, Draconian’s Under A Godless Veil is the number one album of 2020. The record is stunning, magnificent, haunting, and emotional. I found myself listening to this album and doing nothing else, just let the music guide me into their world. The Swedish gothic doom metal outfit deserves more credit as they continue to dive into a musical journey of excellence.
Key Track: “Ascend into Darkness”