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:
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
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
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
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
17. 10 Years
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!!
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
Empire of the Blind
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
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.
Even the Devil Believes
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.
Blood Red Victory
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
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.