Greg’s Top 20 albums of 2020 Part 1 with Honorable mentions

In a year that has been far from spectacular, new music has reigned supreme, and

now is the time to countdown my favorite albums of 2020. In fact, music has been

the only good thing about this year. Narrowing this list down to 20 albums has

been an extremely difficult task. I have discovered some great new artists

throughout the year as well as discovering new music from some music legends.

With that said, here are my top 20 albums of 2020:


Honorable Mentions:


Unleash the Archers – Abyss


The Nixons – Sonic Boom (EP)


Brimstone Coven – The Woes of a Mortal Earth


Blacktop Mojo – Static (EP)


Michael Grant & The Assassins – Always the Villain



20. Black Swan

Shake The World

Frontiers Records

February 14, 2020




Black Swan consists of vocalist Robin McAuley (MSG, Survivor), guitar virtuoso

Reb Beach (Winger, Whitesnake), bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner), and

drummer Matt Starr (Mr. Big, Ace Frehley). The supergroup released Shake the

World via Frontiers Records on February 14th. The album is packed full of melodic

rock and powerful vocals. This album is a must have for any fans of melodic hard

rock and metal.



19. From the Depth

Moments

Rockshots Records

August 28, 2020



Formed in 2008, From the Depth is melodic power metal from Italy. Moments is

the follow up to 2018’s Back to Life. One listen to powerful tracks like Immortal

and Spread Your Fire (that bass solo though!!!!) or the beautifully arranged ballad,

Somewhere, will have you begging for more. No worries there though. From the

Depth is working on new material and hope for a 2021 release.



18. Killer Be Killed

Reluctant Hero

Nuclear Blast

November 20, 2020



3 bands into my top 20. 2 nd supergroup. Reluctant Hero is the follow up to Killer Be

Killed’s 2014 self-titled debut. Killer Be Killed features a trifecta of powerful

vocalists including former The Dillinger Escape plan vocalist, Greg Puciato, Troy

Sanders (Mastodon), & Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulful, Cavalera Conspiracy),

along with drummer Ben Koller (Converge). This album is brutally heavy, yet

melodic. Pick any song on the album and you’ll be hooked. Looking forward to

more from Killer Be Killed as well as all of the members other projects in the near

future.



17. 10 Years

Violent Allies

Mascot Records

September 18, 2020



With the success of the song Wasteland, 10 Years rose to rock stardom with

2005’s The Autumn Effect. Fast Forward to 2020, 10 Years have released their 9 th

studio album, Violent Allies, and have issued their best work since 2008’s Division.

To be completely honest, Violent Allies takes over the reigns as their best release

to date. Just listen to the singles The Shift, The Unknown, and Déjà Vu, and 10


Years will hook you with addictive, melodic rock. One last thing, whenever these

guys reschedule 2020 tour dates that have been postponed due to COVID-19, I

have tickets to their Pittsburgh show. The more you know!!



16. HAVOK

V

Century Media Records

May 1, 2020



V is the fifth installment from thrash masters, HAVOK, and the follow up to 2017’s

Conformicide. Ignited by singles Fear Campaign, Post-Truth Era, and Phantom

Force, V is an instant classic for all fans of thrash metal and is their best release to

date. HAVOK have a classic thrash sound that could be compared to Metallica,

Testament, Exodus, and Anthrax. For my full review on the album, click the

following link https://www.emsumedia.com/post/havok-v



15. Heathen

Empire of the Blind

Nuclear Blast

September 18, 2020



Good things come to those who wait. Bay area thrashers, Heathen, returned in

2020 with their first new album since 2010’s The Evolution of Chaos. Although

Heathen formed in 1984, Empire of the Blind is only the bands 4 th full length

album to be released. Known as one of the innovators of the San Francisco Bay

area thrash metal scene along with Testament, Exodus, and others. Empire of the

Blind is another must have for thrash metal fans, new and old. Hey guys, try not

to make us wait another 10-20 years for the next album. Thanks in advance.



14. Sons of Apollo

MMXX

InsideOutMusic

January 17, 2020



What’s this? A band featuring my musical hero, Billy Sheehan, coming in at 14?

This just shows what an amazing year 2020 has been, musically speaking. Joining

Sheehan are his fellow sons of the god of music and poetry, Apollo, are founders

and former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, ex Guns -

n- Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. Technical

mastery from start to finish, Sons of Apollo are the supergroup of all supergroups.

Do yourselves a favor and check out the album if you haven’t already done so.

You won’t be disappointed.



13. Stryper

Even the Devil Believes

Frontiers Records

September 4, 2020



Coming in at 13 is the 13 th studio album from melodic Christian rockers, Stryper.

Say what you will about Stryper, they have stood the test of time and continue to

deliver over 35 years later with their latest effort, Even the Devil Believes. Michael

Sweet is one of the few vocalists from the 80s pop-metal scene that still has the

chops that he had back in the day. Michael, along with drummer and brother,

Robert, guitarist Oz Fox, and bassist Perry Richardson are still a force to be

reckoned with. The Yellow and Black Attack marches on.



12. Ironflame

Blood Red Victory

Divebomb Records

February 7, 2020



Blood Red Victory is the 3 rd release from the Ohio Valley based traditional metal

band, Ironflame. Ironflame is the brainchild of musical mastermind, Andrew

D’Cagna (also of Brimstone Coven, Icarus Witch, and more). With the exception of


guitar solos, D’Cagna wrote and recorded all instruments and vocals. D’Cagna

takes the DIY approach in his Sacred Sound Studios in Ohio. Joining D’Cagna live

are guitarists Quinn Lucas (Icarus Witch) and Jesse Scott (Defy the Tide), bassist

James Babcock (Dofka), and drummer Noah Skiba (Skiba). Ironflame’s sound has

hints of Iron Maiden, Savatage, and Nocturnal Rites, as well as countless others.

This album, and its predecessors, are all must haves. Ironflame has toured

successfully. They have played festivals including Legions of Metal (US) and Keep

It True (Germany). Ironflame is one of those must-see live bands. If you haven’t

had the opportunity to do so, do yourself a favor and check them out and buy

their albums.



11. Lady Beast

The Vulture’s Amulet

Reaper Metal Productions

April 3, 2020



Formed in 2009, Lady Beast is a traditional/NWOBHM band from Pittsburgh, PA.

Fronted by powerhouse vocalist, Deb Levine, Lady Beast released their latest DIY

studio album, The Vulture’s Amulet, via Reaper Metal Productions back in April.

Lady Beast can be compared to traditional heavy metal icons including Iron

Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest, and Dio. The Vulture’s Amulet features 9 tracks

that will have you bangin’ your head and throwing the horns in the air. Like I

mentioned with Ironflame at #12, Lady Beast is a must-see live band. Levine

commands the crowd with nonstop energy from the moment the show starts

until the last note rings out. Maybe you’ll be able catch Lady Beast live with the

aforementioned Ironflame. I know I have, and I’d do it again and again.

That’s all for Part 1 of my top 20 of 2020. I’ll be back next week for Part 2, The Top

10 of 2020.

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