My favorite albums of 2020

I mentioned in a post last year that I felt 2020 was often portrayed as a dystopian future in science fiction stories when I was growing up. (November, 2019 too). Unfortunately the reality of 2020 largely exceeded those fantasies, as anyone who just experienced this past year knows very well.

All was not lost, of course, including some great new music. Here's a to-the-point list of some of my favorite released this year, in no particular order:

City Burials by Katatonia

Written entirely by vocalist Jonas Renkse, City Burials was originally intended to be his solo project. In the end, he decided it should be the new Katatonia album. I'm not sure how much the music changed in that transition, but the end result is my favorite release from one of my favorite bands since 2009's Night is the New Day.

The Eternal Resonance by Sweven 

An out of the blue surprise to me, which I recently elaborated about.

Obsidian by Paradise Lost

Like Katatonia, Paradise Lost is a band that I've been listening to since the early 1990s, and has served as a musical influence. This was one of my favorite releases from them in years.

Nostrum by Dialogia

Conceptualized by my friend Alejandro Nogales, this album was the result of one of the purest pursuits of passion and perseverance I've witnessed. Over 10 years in the making, he finally crossed the finish line and recruited a stellar group of collaborators along the way.

Summerland by Dool

This album was on repeat during the earliest days of pandemic lock down, and will probably always be remembered for such. Listening to it was one bright spot in the emerging darkness.

The Will by Counting Hours

Finnish bands Rapture and Shape of Despair have released some of my favorite beautifully depressing metal albums, but sadly Rapture has been defunct for many years, and Shape of Despair is about as active as Daylight Dies (yikes). Thankfully the primary forces behind those bands regrouped and released this album, which is especially reminiscent of Rapture to my ears. Hypnotic and driving.

Flaw by Iress

Iress calls their music "doomgaze," which seems more or less accurate. Dark atmosphere with gorgeous vocals, this album will always remind me of driving down the mountains out of Asheville at night, surrounded by fog in early Autumn.

Rex by Vampire 

One of the few bands who pull off a compelling 90s style Swedish death/black metal for me. With gyms being off limits during the pandemic, I burned off stress going for runs and cranking this album in my headphones.

Offering to the morning fog by Robert Rich

Despite dominance of metal albums in this list, a perusing of my eclectic favorites playlist demonstrates my taste for music spans many genres. This beautifully crafted ambient/new age album has been echoing against my walls many mornings as a sonic meditation and arrival to the day.