Greetings everyone, and welcome to Best of 2020 season! I know we are all anxiously awaiting another calendar turn, but before we start dealing with Decaying Society: Episode 2021, we have some highlights from the metal world to discuss. And let’s face it, despite the absurdity of 2020 in every sense of the term, there were still plenty of monster releases that graced our ears in the last 12 months. Before we roll into our individual lists, we’re kicking the season off with our combined staff list. First a reminder of how this all works…
Like last year, each member of the Nine Circles staff (well, most of them), chose their nine favorite albums (inclusive of EPs), listed in order, and up to nine honorable mentions. Obviously, branding counts. A scoring system was applied to the rankings. For example, one person’s first place album received 10 points, the second received 9, so on and so forth… and all honorable mentions received 1 point. Then, combining the scores between everyone’s lists, we have ourselves a Nine Circles ov 2020, brought to you by, well, everyone.
One change to it this year, however, is that we’ve also crowned a label of the year, using the same scoring process as above. Clearly the highest honor in the industry. Who claimed this title for 2020? You’ll have to wait until the very end.
Anyway, that’s all simple enough, right? Right. Enough reading, let’s get into it…
9. Enslaved – Utgard (Nuclear Blast)
8. Zeal & Ardor – Wake of a Nation (MKVA)
7. Svalbard – When I Die, Will I Get Better? (Translation Loss)
6. Wayfarer – A Romance With Violence (Profound Lore)
5. Katatonia – City Burials (Peaceville)
4. Wake – Devouring Ruin (Translation Loss)
3. Vile Creature – Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm! (Prosthetic)
2. The Ocean – Phanerozoic II: Mesozioc | Cenozoic (Metal Blade)
1. Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still (Debemur Morti)
And there you have it! Now, let’s run into some fun facts from our lists.
- Between all the participants in this exercise, we ranked 126 different albums…
- …90 of which only appear in a single list. Diversification!
- Ulcerate appeared on the most lists (8), followed by The Ocean and Svalbard (6).
- Only Ulcerate and The Ocean claimed top spot in multiple lists (2).
- A couple ties! Wake and Katatonia ended up with the same score, but Wake earned the tiebreaker by appearing on more lists. Similar, Svalbard, Zeal & Ardor, and Enslaved came down to the same tiebreaker.
- Just a heads up that this wasn’t close… Ulcerate won by A LOT.
And building off that last point… the Label of the Year for 2020 (officially declared by the fine staff at Nine Circles) is… Debemur Morti! Again, not all that close. While Ulcerate was the largest contributing factor here, we need to call out Aara and Akhlys, who also performed well despite not finishing in the top nine. Strong year for Debemur Morti, no doubt about it. Aside from that, Nuclear Blast, followed by Translation Loss, round out the top three.
That will do it! Thanks everyone for reading, may the EOY festivities begin…