Atheist Revolution's Best Metal Albums of 2020


It has become an annual tradition of sorts for me to spend some time in late December perusing the various lists of "best metal albums" of the year. It gives me a much-needed break from the awful Christmas music that is so hard to avoid this time of year. I make a note of the albums that show up on multiple lists, focusing on those I've not heard. I then listen to at least a few of them. I find that this is often a great way to discover new music and make sure I don't continue to miss out on what I've been missing out on. Since many of the albums are by bands I'm not familiar with, this is a great way to discover new artists too.

I have not typically written my own "best of" list because I rarely feel like I have heard enough of the contenders to weigh in, though I did do so in 2014. 2020 was an unusual year in that I was less-than-thrilled with many of the albums I listened to. It isn't like I haven't encountered some bad ones in previous years, but 2020 seemed worse than normal in that many of the albums I was most excited to hear didn't do much for me. Still, I was able to come up with a top 10 list and figured I'd share it.

The Top 10 of 2020

  1. Verminous by The Black Dahlia Murder
  2. Stare Into Death And Be Still by Ulcerate
  3. Forgotten Days by Pallbearer
  4. Bloodlines by The Spirit Cabinet
  5. Solitude in Madness by Vader
  6. Obsidian by Paradise Lost
  7. Quadra by Sepultura
  8. Throes Of Joy In The Jaws of Defeatism by Napalm Death
  9. Ohms by Deftones
  10. Dance With The Devil by Burning Witches

Putting Deftones on the list was a surprise because I do not particularly like this band (or most whiny metal). Still, I was impressed by how much better this album was than most of what I've heard from them. It ended up growing on me over multiple listenings.

A Few Disappointments

  1. Nightmares of the Decomposed by Six Feet Under
  2. F8 by Five Finger Death Punch
  3. Gigaton by Pearl Jam
  4. Ordinary Man by Ozzy Osbourne
  5. Lamb of God by Lamb of God

I was familiar with these five bands and went into their new albums expecting to be impressed. Instead, I came away feeling disappointed and wondering what I wasn't hearing that others had liked so much. The Six Feet Under album was bad, even for them. The efforts by Pearl Jam, Lamb of God, and Ozzy were all okay but far from their best work. As for Five Finger Death Punch, F8 just confirmed that I do not care for them at all.