2020, am I right? I don’t need to tell you what happened this year so let’s cut to the chase. the music industry has been terribly affected yet many bands made the effort to release their album this year during the pandemic while others had had to postpone the release date for 2021. 2020 sucked big time but the great effort made by these artists helped me pass trough the long quarantine here in Argentina. Anyway, remember that this list is just an excuse to recommend bands that you might not know or albums you might have missed. Have fun and comment your favourites below.
10- Dakesis- Fractures A pleasant surprise from this year was the finding of this British power prog band conformed by extremely talented, socially aware, and hardworking musicians. Dakesis delivers a conceptual album that perfectly blends power , symphonic , and prog metal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWjMXBh_Too
9- Fractal Sun- Turmoil. One of the many revelations that 2020 brought was that a very interesting prog scene already existed in Latin America and , in this case, in the Caribbean zone. All the way from Costa Rica, Fractal Sun independently released their first album Turmoil, combining Sci Fi infused Prog with dashes of djent and jazz/fusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmqnPpJ9vI0
8- Sordid Pink- s/t . Guitar god David Maxim Micic is back again with a revamped version of his band Destiny Potato. Less aggressive than Destiny Potato’s Lun and more groovy, the self titled album combines djent, pop, and electronic music perfectly. Aleksandra Djelmash kills it once again on vocals while the whole band provides a groovy, chill foundation in every song for her to whisper, scream, curse and sing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6fnn-cesnQ
7- Veil of Secrets- Dead Poetry. Surprises? While the norwegian gothic doom queen Vibeke Stenne had already announced her comeback with Asgeir Mickelson’s long awaited project God Of Atheists, all of a sudden, Asgeir and Vibeke’s chemistry worked so well that they decided to record and release an album under the name of Veil Of Secrets. Gothic Doom like grandma used to make, completely stripped down to guitars , bass, drums and vocals with the elegant touch of Sareeta’s violin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOGhvRzTEgU
6- Fractalize- Immersion. Imagine the sound of a black hole swallowing an entire galaxy, imagine feeling the gravity as it slowly pulls you closer and closer to the event horizon while you try to get ready to immerse into oblivion. T H A L L https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEZCZLXJS44
6- Caligula´s Horse- Rise Radiant. Starting from the awesome artwork, the album presents songs that range from super chill ballads to nasty djent infused tunes that make you want to headbob like a maniac. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNlUJgP3Lwk
4- Zhakiah- Where the Light will Thread. Jani Stefanovic‘s ( DivineFire, Solution. 45) solo project presents an onslaught of Gothenburg old melodeath songs with a more modern approach that combines aggression and melody. Fast , groovy, wicked, epic. A beast of an album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA6pclZJk4Y
3- Carach Angren- Franckensteina Strataemontanus. Dutch favourite horror storytellers Carach Angren are back with another master compendium of tales from the crypt. Vampires, monsters, and humans alike live together in the prose of S eregor‘s dramatic vocal performance while the band swings from blistering blast beats to extremely catchy riffs above simple marching drum beats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQFC5NjENNw
2- Melrose- Unconditional. Beautiful, soothing, dreamy, hopeful, melancholic. Since I discovered the band Mechina and listened to the song Cryoshock, I fell completely in love with Melissa‘s voice and performance. Finally, she released her first full album at the beginning of 2020 with the help of some friends of Mechina and others, creating the melodic album of the year. no one can surpass what she has done in terms of melody driven compositions. Everything is perfect for this album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VF0hjUz3qU
1- Egregor- Pachakuti. Album Of The Year for me. Without a doubt. This was a rediscovery because I already knew the band but their first album was not for me. Some very good ideas but there was something that was missing . Now, for their second album, the Chilean band went full ahead and deliver a piece of art which combines some nu metal/alternative metal groove, latin american rhythms and vocal styles, prog metal and lots and lots of passion and commitment to music as an art. Certainly, the jewel of the album is Magdalena Opazo and his amazing performance. Don’t get me wrong, the guys behind the instruments are great but Magdalena’s vocals are out of this world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKRJ17ZRc5g
The next 10 albums didn’t make it to the top ten but they sure are worthy of being recognized.
Aeternam- Al Qasssam. My brother from another mother Achraf and co. continue with their incredible mix of symphonic blackened death and oriental metal and they do not dissapoint. Bonus points for having Kobi Farhi as guest on one song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB2hGdjOZSQ
Snow White Blood- Hope Springs Eternal. New ( Snow White) blood in the symphonic power genre. Fronted by the talented Uli Perhonen, the band released the long awaited first album after a very successful crowdfunding campaign and they delivered a plethora of songs residing in the speed of power metal and the melody and epic of symphonic metal. Uli‘s vocals vary from her chest voice to a very superb use of operatic vocals without overusing it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWgKkVJ6THU
S evendust- Blood and Stone. You can always trust in Sevendust. More than 20 years with one of the most solid discographies in the genre, 7D again knocks it out of the park with their classic mixture of nu metal, alternative and ,I dare say, small glimpses of djent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx9UJFojS4I
Unlucky Morpheus- Unfinished. 2018 was the year in which I finally entered the realm of Japanese metal. In 20 minutes I discovered 5 bands that made me become a fan of them almost immediately and Unlucky Morpheus was one of them. A little bit different than its predecessors, Unfinished comes with some touches of metalcore to the well known neoclassical blackened power metal sound of the band. Fuki is a beast of a vocalist and she shines with her own glow but the talent on guitars of Jinya ( Undead Corporation) and Shiren, Jill (Fate Gear) on violin , Ogawa on bas s, and the amazing Fumiya (Galneryus, ex Undead Corporation) on drums , make Unlucky Morpheus a force of nature. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCv3s0T4bx0
Darzamat- A Philosopher At The End Of The Universe. After many years since the wondrous Solfernus Path, Darzamat have returned with their unique blend of black and symphonic metal adorned with the soaring vocals of Rafal “Flauros” Goral and the melodic cleans of Agniezska “Nera” Gorecka . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtS5xtPwSoo
The Ocean- Phanerozoic II. I have included Phanerozoic in my Top 20 list of 2019 ( https://ladyobscure.com/kinslayers-2019-top-albums/) because it was a killer album and this one is no exception. Again joining forces on one song with Jonas Renske from Katatonia, The Ocean continue taking us on a journey trough our geological history by means of a post metal sludge sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E12saHWlaWI
Sombria- Chirographon Dei. A healthy dose of darkness must never miss in our yearly musical diet and this time Sombria is here to provide it. Blackened gothic doom with the clean operatic vocals of Dimi De San. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VBYluFG9ps
Scardust- Strangers. The only reason to not include this album in the top Ten is because I haven’t had the time to properly take what was offered. Strangers is chaotic, melodic, progressive, epic, and symphonic. The star is Noa Gruman and her enormous vocal talent displayed in each song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKMkV4MdDJc
Memoira- Carnival of Creation. A pleasant surprise from Finland and the symphonic power sound of the band Memoira. Specially designed for those who are tired of operatic vocals in the genre. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9vp5K2jMxs
And Oceans- World Cosmic Mother. Symphonic black metal but it’s not Dimmu Borgir. The band attacks with a battery of Blast beats, screams and melodic orchestrations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4itSP1QIQA
Ps: A special mention to Spiritbox. Every single they have released is a masterpiece.