Let’s not mince words, 2020 was a brutal year. But it did feature some stunning metal releases. Needless to say, narrowing them down to just five was an extremely arduous task. But we eventually managed to pull it off. Here are Score’s five best metal albums of 2020:
Kiko Loureiro – Open Source
Is Kiko Loureiro the greatest guitarist Megadeth has ever had? It’s tough to say no after listening to Open Source. Yes, he will never have the solo of “Tornado of Souls” to his name, but his solo work showcases what a truly remarkable guitar wizard he is. Mind you, playing Megadeth songs requires some insane chops as it is, but this is Kiko Loureiro operating at another level. The songwriting is mind boggling. The rhythms and harmonies are stunning and every single note has a lot of heart and soul. There’s not a single dull moment on the album and Kiko Loureiro manages to wow the listeners throughout. You can hear some djentlemanly riffing of Animals as Leaders, as well as some flat out 80s Shrapnel era shredding (among numerous other influences) throughout. Open Source is an absolute triumph of guitar heroism, one of the best metal albums of 2020, and it firmly establishes Kiko Loureiro as one of the best contemporary metal guitarists alive.
Lord Vigo – Danse De Noir
Who knew that the combination of traditional doom metal and new wave style vocals will work so well? Well, Germany’s Lord Vigo (named after a character from Ghostbusters) did. The infusion of dark pop sensibilities with epic doom metal makes it one of the most interesting metal releases of all time. Danse De Noir is a concept album based on Blade Runner and features one incredible song after another. The songs are high on emotion and intrigue, making it one of the best metal albums of 2020. If you love big epic choruses, you will love this album even more.
Malokarpatan – Krupinské Ohne
If you didn’t know about the Slovakian metal scene until now, it’s time to get acquainted. Bratislava’s very own Malokarpatan have released one of the best metal albums of 2020, Krupinské Ohne. Be warned, the songs are generally long with long Slovakian names (which will be tough to remember, even if you speak Slovak). But unlike most bands trying their hands at long songs or at mixing metal genres together, Malokarpatan’s transitions between the slow and the fast, the heavy and the light are done effortlessly. Just like the artwork featuring a confused warlock, Malokarpatan’s music is extremely eccentric and filled with homages to the metal masters of the past. Krupinské Ohne is a great way to start the decade for any metal fan.
Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron
Once Ken Kelly’s titillating cover art draws you in, you will find that Eternal Champion’s sophomore effort, Ravening Iron is a whirlwind of incredible riffs, soaring vocals, blistering solos and tight drumming. With Ravening Iron, Eternal Champion has successfully captured adrenaline, aggression, and the essence of true epic metal on tape. Will this band be the eternal champion of the genre? Only time will tell. But as far as the best metal albums of 2020 go, the American metallers have created a definitive champion. Raise the banners of Arrai!
Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still
When it comes to creating unorthodox, complex, and mind boggling death metal, few bands come close to New Zealand’s Ulcerate. The band’s sixth full length album, Stare Into Death And Be Still, sees them at their creative peak (for now). Ulcerate have never shied away from experimenting with their sound and infusing some out of the box ideas into their bubbling cauldron of death metal. That propensity, combined with exceptional skills has helped make Stare Into Death And Be Still one of the best metal albums of 2020. It’s a masterpiece of extremity. A living, breathing proof of just how sonically exciting extreme metal can be. If there’s one word to describe this album, it’s sick.