At this point, what more is there to say about what happened in 2020? I could echo the sentiments of so many others, on this blog and otherwise, but I think we get the idea. I could take this time to lament about the struggles around us, our unsustainable societal structure and all that, but that rant should probably be for another time and place. For now, I’ll just say that my hope is that we can all reflect on the events of 2020 and recalibrate what we prioritize as a society… but I’m not optimistic that will happen. And to all the calendar watchers out there, 2021 won’t magically be better just because it happens to not be 2020. Want things to be better? Make change. That applies to all of us. Status quo sucks anyway.
Enough of that, let’s spin the narrative a bit. As the world continues to burn around us (literally and figuratively), I need to express unrelenting gratitude to all the artists and musicians that continued to perfect their craft over the past several months. Without concerts, and as album sales continue to serve as minimal revenue at best, pausing these pursuits in search of other enterprises would have been understandable. In a year with so much negativity, and so much time away from friends and family, the music I absorbed in 2020 resonated on a deeper level than it has in years. So, thank you, for offering an escape from the daily chaos. A (completely self-induced) pressure to absorb more and more music had taken over in recent years, and as a result my connection to individual records was hindered. A basic quantity over quality concept in listening experience, I suppose. This past year, however, that wasn’t the case. I still consumed an aggressive amount of new music, but the exploration was more curious, and more genuine, than in years past. The result? A stronger attachment to the 2020 releases… which I’m certain will resonate long after we start our 2021 discussions. If there is a bright side to 2020, it’s the realigning, or rediscovering, of our passions and finding new ways to pursue them in the day-to-day. And that’s a mentality I hope to take into the new year.
So let’s dive into my 2020 picks. As always, nine favorites and nine honorable mentions. Side note: I can’t remember a year in which it was this hard to separate a few albums from the greater pack, and that’s probably the result of offering myself the opportunity to truly embed myself in these albums. There was just so much quality presented this year, and delivered over such an expansive spectrum. Just another part of the ridiculous journey that was 2020, I suppose. Anyway…
I’m out of witty shit. Whatever. New metal incoming and so much in fact that I had a tough time singling out four standouts but, here we are. Just know there’s so much to dig into this week. Alright then… yes, I do know that black metallers Twilight Fauna dropped the button on Foundations last Friday but it was a surprise so I’m featuring it here because I can and because it’s AMAZING and you do not want to miss this sort of turn in their chapter. Another black metal band with a new album that rules is on deck and that band is Horn, so do that now, too. Binary Code offer up one of the most emotional heavy albums of the year, and Paradise Lost show that they are ready to usurp their best work with…their best work. Yep, it’s that kind of week. We need it so go do it and do it all and do it hard. Continue reading →
Couple new videos to share today. The first comes from the recently-reviewed-on-Nine-Circles Intronaut. This clip is for the track “Speaking of Orbs”. A reminder (you probably don’t need) that Fluid Existential Inversions dropped last Friday through Metal Blade.
Horn are back! The German black metallers are bringing a new album our way in 2020, titled Mohngang. That will be out on May 15th through Iron Bonehead. Check out the first single, “Satt scheint der Sud der Tat”, right now.
2017 was an interesting year. While the trend of decreased album coverage continued to pave the way for increased show coverage, I still managed to get my hands on several dozen records that left an impact with me. Naturally, trimming that population down to my Best of 2017 list was daunting as any preceding year. While we did see some familiar names return with impressive new work over the past twelve months, my personal listening experience arguably covered more ground than ever. This theme was undoubtedly tied to the aforementioned increased time spent on the live setting. I was exposed to artists and styles I was previously unfamiliar with (there’s a reason I rarely skip openers). Of course, this meant that I missed some albums I was told I simply couldn’t. But in return, 2017 ended up being one of the more important years I’ve had in covering music. The live performance has a crucial impact on how an audience reacts to an artist, and that, at least in part, explains how I came up with the list below. Continue reading →