Honorable Mentions of 2020

Oh, deary dear. What twelve months it has been, everyone. We could sit here all day and reflect on all that the planet has been through in the last 365 days on the 365th, but it is now that I would much rather drift our attention to the same realms that I feel many of us have found comfort in more so than ever. Music has been so extremely important this year for many of us that it feels in a way that 2020 has been particularly impactful when it comes to the music that it has dolled out. Truly, everything has been a boon for us in the realms of rock and metal with even some ambient creeping into my pallette this year in a way that was no less than unforgettable, and it was a true task to bring together all these different albums.

So fucking many! But, these are not my absolute favorites of 2020 with that list coming out tomorrow, but I would be an absolute fool to not at the very least mention all of the albums that you’ll find below. All of these albums were up for contention as one of my favorites that were released this year so please (please, please) take all of these albums as though I were saying I love them for some of them I truly do which made this year’s listings so difficult. You will find all sorts of releases here though from the typical metal and rock to experimentalism that fucks with the mind to ambient that is all but hypnotic. As always, this is just a fraction of a fraction of what all excellence that there was to be found with Necrot, Sweven, Wake, Mork, Ulcerate, Ahtme, Undeath, Question, Thou, Wayfarer, and so many more not being found on this list or my Top 30 (sue me!). There’s just too much to listen to for one guy – it’s fantastic!

And also like every year – to listen to the album in question or a song from it click the album and band name. As always, thank you so much to everyone who makes doing this website such an absolute joy for me. It’s all my pleasure, and here’s to brighter horizons in 2021!


Familiars – All In Good Time

“…you can lose yourself in the heaviness, heart, and psychedelia that’s on constant display here for any willing listener to fall back into without having to even think about it.” (read full review here)





Spotlights – We Are All Atomic

“…dream-like waves that constantly wash over the thick riffs that are always breaking our necks while simultaneously resuscitating us so that we can hear more!” (read full review here)





Neptunian Maximalism – Éons

“The absolute entirety of this triple album keeps you on your toes around every corner as Neptunian Maximalism is constantly shifting in form, sound, and presentation as they’re like no other act that I can think of in the entire world that does a sound as bold as this, and it’s absolutely gripping to witness but a true task to absorb…” (read full review here)



Ars Magna Umbrae – Apotheosis

“This is the epitome of one of those occult records that effortlessly burrows its way into your skull such that you’ll be left at work wanting to hear more of its massive presence and undeniable ferocity to the point where you’ll never be able to forget it…” (read full review here)




Legends of the Desert: Volume I – Lord Buffalo & Palehorse/Palerider

“…each band being able to show us just what exactly they’re capable of: Palehorse/Palerider with drifting space clouds rooted in the many layers of doom and Lord Buffalo with their unique mud folk that’s constantly expanding while keeping the listener sharp to all that is around.” (read full review here)



Lik – Misanthropic Breed

“This is death metal the likes of which we’re always craving for, and Lik is more than gracious enough to shed some blood every once in a while to make it happen.” (read full review here)





Revolting – The Shadow At the World’s End

“Just envision, if you will, the closest thing to a perfect Swedish death record in the modern world, and Revolting has created something that could be a damn good contender for just that.” (read full review here)





Cryptae – Nightmare Traversal

“…Cryptae has elevated themselves to an entirely different level that shows us what they’re truly made of while still testing their credentials as an experimental act which, of course, they fucking smashed.” (read full review here)





Arcade Messiah – The Host

“…there’s so much within “The Host” that can capture the attention and imagination of many a listener effortlessly with Arcade Messiah’s intrinsic and complicated sound that often flows better than water, and with plenty of experience powered by the great talent behind it…” (read full review here)




Big Scenic Nowhere – Lavender Blues

“There should not have been a single soul to doubt the power and talent behind Big Scenic Nowhere before, but if there were any before hearing this work then it should undoubtedly be the game-changer that they’ve been needing.” (read full review here)




Esoctrilihum – F’htansg

“Esoctrilihum is an absolute master at crafting huge and long-winded tales of mind-destroying gods and cataclysmic events, but seeing the act pull off something like this is very satisfying…” (read full review here)





Live Burial – Unending Futility

“…truly oozing with that old school magic that throngs upon throngs of bands try to ascertain, but it’s only on rare occasions that we see it come to fruition without any sort of hindrance from the band’s capabilities.” (read full review here)





Kevel – Mutatis Mutandis

“…”Mutatis Mutandis” is a creation truly like few others and to let yourself fall into its depths is to find something that is overflowing with talent, quality, and raw spirit.” (read full review here)





Vampiric – Supernatural Tales

 “We’re given a true menagerie of riffs, articulate detail, and a brilliant blend of black, heavy, thrash, and symphonic metal in every single track that instantly elevates Vampiric…” (read full review here)





Noctu – Gelidae Mortis Imago

“And here I thought the only funeral doom worth mentioning that we’d get this year is whatever the hell it is that Bell Witch is currently whipping up, but, clearly, I was mistaken…” (read full review here)





Sepulchral Curse – Only Ashes Remain

“Potentially, this could be the final form of what Finnish death metal has been building up to for years now.” (read the full review here)






Luna’s Call – Void

“…there isn’t one thing here that doesn’t translate into magnitudes of magnificence of all sorts that’s pulled from all corners of death metal and far beyond to culiminate in an experience that’s just as sprawling as it is stunning.” (read full review here)





Uada – Djinn

“…unbelievably colorful melodies to the power that’s equally gripping and unyielding to the raw talent that’s oozing out of every single second…” (read full review here)







“…this is the kind of experience I want more of whenever I think of a science fiction-influenced ambient work that just takes everything and puts it on another level entirely, and HLER has truly set a high bar with this album…” (read full review here)