Best Releases of 2020 So Far [Part I]

Best Releases of 2020 So Far

It has been said quite a few times until now how 2020 should never happen, but let’s look at it from the bright side and check some of the albums that we had a pleasure to check out since the beginning of the year.

What you will find here is a list of 2020 albums, in no particular order, that have been released so far, with the exception of a few albums that are to be released in the coming days/weeks.

Novena – Eleventh Hour (released on March 6th via Frontiers Records)

The ardour with which Novena penned these songs glows through the members’ performances. Dan Thorton and Harrison White’s guitars are buoyant, and Cameron Spence’s drums are equally powerful and joyous. Clean vocals by Ross Jennings and growls courtesy of Gareth Mason are both utterly enthralling.

With its playtime of 73 minutes, Eleventh Hour may not really look as an attractive listen, but behind that this whooping amount of time there is a varied album that never becomes tiring. This is a very refreshing listen and one of the strongest candidates for the album of the year.

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Garganjua – Toward the Sun (released on January 17th via Holy Roar Records)

Toward the Sun, oddly, sounds like the full realization of the music that Garganjua have wanted to make for years. When you look closer at the progression between the three albums, one can easily be surprised that the band didn’t sound as they do in 2020 much earlier. From meeting that expectation, Toward the Sun feels so much more honest. There’s a serious challenge involved with objectively reviewing something that seems so stripped bare of facade; so naked and upfront, whilst simultaneously being enshrouded in an enigmatic haze.

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Cabal – Drag Me Down (released on April 3rd via Long Branch Records)

The two years it has taken Cabal to create Drag Me Down are shown through the album’s maturity, originality and smothering ambiance. The Danes have put out an album comprised of some of the harshest bottoms traversed in music in 2020. Drag Me Down is a menacing and uneasiness-inflicting album that will be hard to beat this year.

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Irist – Order of the Mind (released on March 27th via Nuclear Blast)

Order of the Mind works its way through the cosmos of sounds and succeeds on its potential like any tech-infused progressive album that knows what it means to accomplish and not just to impress.

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Dyssidia – Costly Signals (self-released on March 27th)

When looked at individually, each track on Costly Signals is extremely well-built with its own distinctive essence of ground-breaking fusion between diverse artistic principles. It is this hidden potential within their sound that makes one yearn for Dyssidia‘s already fantastic music to surge above and beyond the ranks of their contemporaries.

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Lednik – Celestial Monuments (self-released on February 6th)

Celestial Monuments is strong enough as a progressive metal release and as an expressive representation that it gets its point across with absolute energy, style, and confidence without pressing you to scan it up and down for months. With so few contemporary acts balancing progressive and metal elements in the way that Lednik do, it can be easy to misjudge the enduring influence of an album like Celestial Monuments due to a shortage of competition.

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Anubis – Homeless (self-released on March 10th)

A fine work of sincere beauty, Anubis do well to transport the listener to some new heights. Homeless requires time and a degree of patience to unlock its beauty and charm, but once that beauty is finally revealed, it’s utterly impossible to deny or ignore it.

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Myrkur – Folkesange (released on March 20th via Relapse Records)

Folkesange certainly makes for a splendid listen evoking Nordic spirit throughout the record’s 12 songs. Along with heartbeats, Bruun unleashes “Ella,” a taut, stark-naked dirge that serves as the leadoff track to FokesangeMyrkur tackle traditional Scandinavian folk music with a reverence that belies the youth of its creator, bringing to mind arrangements of English folk songs from the ’50s and ’60s.

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Katatonia – City Burials (released on April 24th via Peaceville Records)

Song after song, City Burials reveals vibrancy and variety as its two major takeaways. The ease of switching from the pounding, already mentioned, “Behind the Blood” to emotion-filled lead single “Lacqer,” to colossal “Rein” and extraordinarily vivid “Flicker” speaks volumes of band’s ability to navigate through a kaleidoscope of both intense and soothing deliveries.

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Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi (released on April 17th via Nuclear Blast)

One of the most enthralling facts about this album is, even if it mashes elements of black metal, psychedelia and Krautrock effortlessly, there are plenty of earworms and distinct ideas throughout the record’s 52 minutes. Despite how repugnant they seemed on the outside, there was an undeniable solace in knowing that previous albums were ecstatic at-heart and zigzagging.

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So here are the best releases of 2020 in our opinion. Have you checked any of these? Did we miss on anything? Let us know in the comments below.

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