2020, in a lot of ways, was a massive clusterfuck of a year. As it gradually progressed, we were more and more trapped inside. Concerts and festivals were understandably cancelled or indefinitely postponed and with only one proper concert under our collective belts, we here at Sounds from the Dark Side have seen better, more productive and overall happier times. The upside, as always, is the same: at least we still have music. And because staying at home provides with a lot more time to actually sit down and listen to albums, we’ve extended this year’s album lists with an extra ten entries each, giving you even more stuff to check out. Here we go.
Ralph’s 2020 List Of Heavy Quarantaine Records
Where 2020 was a massive disappointment mostly due just about everything being cancelled, music-wise it was pretty damn good. I had huge difficulties pin-pointing the exact order of proceedings, with especially my top five albums changing positions dozens of times. In the end, it comes to this.
20. U.D.O. And The Musikkorps Der Bundeswehr – We Are One (SftDS Review)
19. Sacred Outcry – Damned for All Time
18. Iron Savior – Skycrest
17. Myrkur – Folkesange
16. Oceans of Slumber – Oceans of Slumber
15. Amy Macdonald – The Human Demands
14. Falconer – From a Dying Ember (SftDS Review)
13. Lovebites – Electric Pentagram (SftDS Review)
12. Deep Purple – Whoosh!
11. Ensiferum – Thalassic
10. Unleash the Archers – Abyss (SftDS Review)
9. Eric Clayton and the Nine – A Thousand Scars (SftDS Review)
8. Magnum – The Serpent Rings (SftDS Review)
7. Grave Digger – Fields of Blood
6. Atramentus – Stygian
5. Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You (SftDS Review)
4. Havukruunu – Uinuos syömein sota (SftDS Review)
3. Alestorm – Curse of the Crystal Coconut (SftDS Review)
It was a very close call between Havukruunu and Alestorm, but in the end fun triumphs over aggression, and with songs about zombies eating pirate ships, the retrieval of actual limbs over wooden ones and other assorted nonsense, these Scots definitely deliver.
2. Brothers of Metal – Emblas Saga (SftDS Review)
Where Brothers of Metal’s debut album was fun, Emblas Saga shows an enormous maturing of their sound in every way. Especially the larger role for vocalist Ylva Eriksson makes this one an absolute treat and a definite highlight of the year.
1. Wytch Hazel – III: Pentecost (SftDS Review)
Old wine in new skins or new wine in old skins? We’re not quite sure about Wytch Hazel’s third album, but whatever it is, it’s a brilliant collection of old-school twin guitar rock music. The fact that it doesn’t sound old-fashioned is testament to this band’s musicianship and writing skills, and deserves the top spot here.
Wander’s 2020 List Of Mostly Unsympathetic Adrenaline Pumping Music
Now that you had your share of vikings, pirates and Christians it’s time to tell you about my 2020 musical endeavours. Although things really get interesting from Thor & Friends and upward I managed to compile a list of 20 titles for you to consider. My premier tier is made up of some overwhelming noise, Japanese zig zag experiments and, to top it all off, a vigorous space rock adventure. If that doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping I don’t know what else will.
20. Meridian Brothers – Cumbia Siglo XXI
19. Thurston Moore – By the Fire (SftDS Review)
18. Motorpsycho – The All Is One (SftDS Review)
17. Khruangbin – Mordechai (SftDS Review)
16. Julianna Barwick – Healing Is a Miracle
15. Sorry – 925 (SftDS Review)
14. KARKARA – Nowhere Land
13. Thor & Friends – 3
12. Anna von Hausswolff – All Thoughts Fly
11. Master Oogway – Earth and Other Worlds
10. Wrekmeister Harmonies – We Love To Look at the Carnage (SftDS Review)
9. Wax Chattels – Clot (SftDS Review)
8. Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo (SftDS Review)
7. Sloath – III (SftDS Review)
6. Kooba Tercu – Proto Tekno (SftDS Review)
5. Jim White and Marisa Anderson – The Quickening (SftDS Review)
4. Sunwatchers – Oh Yeah?
3. Sex Swing – Type II (SftDS Review)
After 4 years of absence Sex Swing is back in business with some controlled psychedelic deathrock that works out gloriously. It left me speechless, …wow. Bring on the noise!
2. OOIOO – nijimusi (SftDS Review)
Indeed, after a ride with Sex Swing its best you cool down with 51 minutes of freewheeling Japanese screaming and instrumental chaos. OOIOO latest constantly keeps you on your toes. After two decades the banner of this all girl outfit still flies high.
1. SLIFT – UMMON (SftDS Review)
These young sci-fi adepts from Toulouse delivered the full package this year. SLIFT´s sophomore is musically awesome, tells a compelling SF story and includes album art that’s truly eye catching. So fasten up everybody, get ready for launch: …5, 4, 3, 2, 1….LIFTOFF!
So that’s 2020 for you! Time to dig into the Christmas dinners and get ready for the new year. We wish you all the best for 2021 and here’s to hoping it’ll be a better year than this has turned out to be. Stay healthy and stay safe. Cheers!
Wander Meulemans & Ralph Plug – 241220
Anticipated for 2021
– Cradle of Filth (TBD 2021)
– Dinosaur Jr. (TBD 2021)
– Blind Guardian (TBD 2021)
– Shame – Drunk Tank Pink (15-01-2021)
– Mercyful Fate (TBD 2021)
– USA/Mexico – Del Rio (29-01-2021)
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