1. Folterkammer – “Die Lederpredigt”
Die Lederpredigt was an unexpected, but ever satisfying find. The soaring, fluttery operatic vocals that stand in stark contrast from the scathing, painful screams and the heaving scratchiness of black metal soundscapes makes for an album that encapsulates all the pain and glory found tucked within the deep, dark corners of 2020. This album brought something completely different to the table and it deserves recognition and praise.
2. Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou – “May Our Chambers Be Full”
May Our Chambers Be Full was the album I was anticipating the most this year. The sludge-riddled riffs of Thou melting around Emma Ruth Rundle’s soul-stirring voice is like a nice, warm hug we’ve all been so deprived of during these trying times. The lyrics, the riffs, and the pacing are all top-notch and deserving of many, many, many re-listens.
3. Grayceon – “MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES”
Grayceon’s fifth full-length Mothers Weavers Vultures comes like a morning meditation; it invites you to close down your weary eyes, bring forth all of those negative emotions, and cast them out of your mind. The brightness of the cello blends well with the pseudo-aggression of the electric guitar and spirited drumming. The instrumentation on this album is just so beautiful and well worth the listen.
4. Mrs. Piss – “Self-Surgery”
A collaboration between singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe and drummer Jess Gowrie has resulted in a gritty set of anthems pulsing with electricity and might. Self-Surgery is a quick listen, but the high-energy tracks are enough to get, and keep, you going throughout the day like a nice jolt of caffeine.
5. Sightless Pit – “Grave of a Dog”
Upon its release, Grave of a Dog immediately felt like such a treat. Lingua Ignota’s Kristin Hayter, Full of Hell’s Dylan Walker, and The Body’s Lee Buford – there is nothing more that needs to be said about the wonderfully spiteful screams and pulsating electronic beats.
6. WAKE – “Devouring Ruin”
Canadian black metal/grindcore/hardcore/doom metal band WAKE’s fifth full-length Devouring Ruin stacks a dizzying assortment of heavy, highpower genres into its ten extremely energetic and powerful songs. Each track is overwhelmingly packed with noisy instrumentation, static-filled soundscapes, and throaty wails. Everything on this album is near the threshold of perfection.
7. Svalbard – “When I Die, Will I Get Better?”
When I Die, Will I Get Better? consists of super important lyrical content placed above energetic and memorable riffs that align with both shoegaze and post-hardcore sounds. Each song feels like a little handhold from someone willing to listen. I recommend this to anyone who needs a positive boost and a feeling of being heard.
8. EYES – “Underperformer”
Underperformer is the debut full-length from Danish hardcore band EYES. This album is so, so good. The songs are completely disjointed, frustratingly furious, and unbearably heavy-hitting, but in all the best ways. The lyrics found on this album are wonderfully humorous, bleak, dark, and satirical, as well. I can’t wait to hear what else this band conjures up in the future.
9. Myrkur – “Folkesange”
It’s always a joy when an artist releases something completely different from their past releases, and Myrkyr’s Folkesange definitely falls into this. Myrkur’s third full-length is a revision of traditional Scandinavian folk songs, complete with emotionally rich vocals and an eclectic collection of beautifully resonant instruments. It’s an enjoyable diversion from the black metal of the previous records, but is accessible to both new and old fans.
10. Vile Creature – “Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!”
Canadian two piece Vile Creature has unveiled an absolute masterpiece of an album earlier this June. Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm! is impressively beautiful and brimming with emotion. The choral-like layering of ethereal voices that ride atop crushing drum work and fuzzy, feedback-laden guitar riffs inspires an immense funnel of heaviness to cascade right onto your aching heart.