Best of 2020: Josh’s List

Best of 2020

I could wax for paragraphs on how 2020 leapt into the toilet in March and continues to swirl, deeper in, teetering just on the edge of complete obliteration, but that would be news to no one. In a year when bands could’ve easily went into hiatus based on no way to tour or support themselves—and honestly no one would’ve blamed them—we are damn lucky to have any music at all much less any best of lists. Thankfully the bands turned it up, tuned low, and cranked it out anyway, despite the thought of any sort of monetary return. In short, metal freakin’ ruled this year and kept me sane while the world crumbled and hope was fleeting at best. My music collection grew like my headphone time at dangerous volume levels (according to my apple stats) and I loved the fact that bands sounded angrier and louder, experimented more, stretched thin genre lines to the limit, and generally laid their balls on the chopping block in a way we haven’t heard in a long time. That chopping block bit was one of ten rules I made for my 2020 list back in January and all the artists that made my list did just that in one way or another but my picks this year were also about the albums that really stuck with me for either the long haul or made a fast impression. So, keep reading and maybe one, or more, of these will hit you the way it hit me.

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Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2019

Best of 2019

The Dark Souls franchise may own this title, but Aldia’s got nothing on me.

Last year around this time I made a statement, hoping that I would take it easier on the album listening; however, I also said that it would be for naught, as my 2019 release calendar was looking great and I was so excited about it.

However, life has a way of kicking you in the bollocks. Continue reading

Best of 2019: Vincent’s List

Best of 2019

I always have a tough time with these introduction things when it comes to End of Year lists.  The temptation is to sum up the year with some anecdotes about what it meant to me and how the music I loved played into it.  Yet what could I say about a year that was such a mixed bag for me?  On a personal note, my mental health took an all-out nosedive last year that I’m still trying to claw my way out of, yet my partner and I got engaged and are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together (not that we weren’t already, but you get the point).  The weight of the worst depression and anxiety I’ve ever faced affected my ability to connect to a lot of the music I heard last year, yet I started a column on here that lead me back to a genre of music I had not seriously kept up with for some time, and in doing so I found a little piece of myself again.  Years are years are years, and life is cyclical and spiralic in nature.  I won’t pretend there weren’t good things to come out of last year, just as I won’t pretend there won’t be hard times in the year ahead.  But I will always have a carefully curated soundtrack to help me along the way, and below represents what helped me get through 2019.   Continue reading

Best of 2019: Dan still likes metal, but maybe not writing?

Best of 2019

Oh look, it’s been over a month since my last post.

Related: I don’t really know if I like blog writing anymore?

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Best of 2019: Zyklonius’ List

Best of 2019

By now, it has become customary for me to recall at the turn of the year how great the past 12 months were for metal and its myriad sub-genres and styles, and how difficult it has become to keep one’s head above the water in the face of the deluge of releases. I have been listening to metal for over 25 years but am still astonished and impressed on a daily basis by the boundless imagination on display, be it the ever-blossoming creativity of bands who have been operating for 20 years or the ravenous appetite of newcomers.  Continue reading