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TOP 10 OF 2020


WORMWOOD CHRONICLES WRITERS' TOP 10 OF 2020

The year 2020 saw the successful return of Wormwood Chronicles, which was one of the few happy occurrences in a year full of turmoil and disease. One of our favorite traditions is discovering which releases of the previous year were the favorites of our writing crew. There's always a wide variety of choices and some hidden gems...this collection will be no different, so buckle up as we maneuver through our Top Tens for the tumultuous year of 2020...

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DARK STARR'S TOP TEN OF 2020


1. BLUE OYSTER CULT                                           "THE SYMBOL REMAINS"

2.  BRIDGET WISHART & THE BAND OF DOCTORS                            "GHOST"

3.  RICK WAKEMAN                                                                        "THE RED PLANET"

4. DEEP PURPLE                                                                             "WHOOSH!"

5. BARON CRANE                                                                            "COMMOTIONS"

6. DAYS BETWEEN STATIONS                                                           "GIANTS"

7. HAWKWIND LIGHT ORCHESTRA                                                    "CARNIVOROUS"

8. NICK D'VIRGILIO                                                                         "INVISIBLE"

9. RICARDO GRILLO                                                                         "1962"

10. DARWIN                                                                                     "DARWIN 2-THE FROZEN WAR"
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THERON MOORE'S TOP TEN OF 2020

    

1. (TIE) 

GLACIER                                                                 "THE PASSING OF TIME"

THRUST                                                                  "HELM OF AWE"
                                                               
GLACIER’s comeback record “The Passing of Time” and THRUST’s “The Helm of Awe” are, hands down, two of the best traditional / power metal records released in the last decade.  GLACIER and THRUST are true metal fans at heart and it shows in their music.   I’d rather listen to these two records than anything Metallica has done in the last 20 years.


2. MR. BISON                                                                                    "SEAWARD"

MR. BISON are true masters at modern heavy-prog-psyche music that falls somewhere between the CREAM/ VANILLA FUDGE and ARGENT / 70’s prog rock.   “Seaward” is utter perfection as a soundscape capturing sounds and telling stories without trying to be heavy or psychedelic – they just are naturally.

3. BENEDICTION                                                                                "SCRIPTURES"

Brutal, thrashy death metal that never relents nor takes a breath. BENEDICTION sets the bar so high with “Scriptures” I’m not sure how other bands in this genre can ever reach or exceed it.  Well,not unless BOLT THROWER scores a comeback…

4. THE OCEAN                                                                                   "JURASSIC/CRETACEOUS"

Modern sounding prog rock with heavy, crushing tendencies.  I feel like TOOL hit a ceiling in this genre whereas THE OCEAN are reimagining modern prog rock beyond four dimensions with a fresh long-term vision that isn’t so confining.

5. GREEN DRUID                                                                                "AT THE MAW OF RUIN"

Heavy-cosmic-funeral-occult metal.       For fans of SALEM'S POT and WINDHAND but NOT like either.  GREEN DRUID are in a category of their own.  When they play, rifts in the sky open up and demons and all manner of ill beastS descend upon the Earth.

6. L.A. GUNS                                                                                      "RENEGADES"

For me, this is what L.A. GUNS should sound like in 2020.   Enough with the 80’s sleaze trip, that’s done.  Gimme now.  That’s what Steve Riley and his merry band of rock N roll pirates do: They take this legendary band  and  bring them up to  date.   “Renegades” sounds fresh, feels invigorated, and kicks ass.  Take note:  This version of L.A. GUNS is more genuine and ten times more fun to listen to than the Guns-Lewis version which seems stuck in a time warp.

7. CRO-MAGS                                                                                     "IN THE BEGINNING"

A return  to form for both  Harley and The CRO-MAGS.   Flanagan’s lean mean and healthy  –physically & spiritually. He’s got a fire burning inside him white hot that’s reflected in the music of “In the Beginning,” the best work The CRO-MAGS have done since “Age of Quarrel.”

8. BLUE OYSTER  CULT                                                                        "THE SYMBOL REMAINS"

I applaud these guys for releasing a record of original material versus yet another “Best Of” that a lot of classic rock bands choose to do.  “The Symbol Remains” is rock solid ROCK.

9. DIAMOND REXX                                                                               "PSYCH WARD"

I’ve been a fan of this band going back to the 80’s and when I heard they were releasing a new record I was excited.   “Psych Ward” is a showcase of the band’s trademark sleazy, glammy, punkish sound tattooed all over it.  

10. KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD                                        "K.G."

The ever evolving, always extraordinary, KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD dropped their 16th studio record “K.G.”November 20th…a deeper dive into the band’s use of microtonality and brief flirtations with fringe pop, 90’s alternative music and electronic dance to varying degrees. But the real star of “K.G.” is the psychedelic groove KING GIZZARD might be better known for. 
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DR. ABNER MALITY'S TOP 10 OF 2020



1. HAVUKRUUNU                                                        "UINUOS SYOMEIN SOTA"

Mind-blowing epic black metal from Finland...majestic on a level few can comprehend.

2. SKELETAL REMAINS                                                                           "THE ENTOMBMENT OF CHAOS"

Everything you hope for in an American death metal album. Stands with the best of the genre!

3. BEYOND DETH                                                                                    "ACCEPT YOUR FATE"

Track down and acquire this blast of withering thrash from a great Chicago band.

4. MACABRE                                                                                            "CARNIVAL OF KILLERS"

Murder metal maniacs back in style on Nuclear Blast! Indescribably catchy and tasteless tuneage!

5. AC/DC                                                                                                  "PWR UP"

The Aussie legends have done the memory of the late Malcolm Young proud by releasing the best and purest AC/DC album since “Flick of the Switch”.

6. NECROT                                                                                                "MORTAL"

Bay Area death metal masters have released their effort yet...a pure dose of DEATH-inspired sickness!

7. WINTERFYLLETH                                                                                    "THE RECKONING DAWN"

After an acoustic interlude, the British black metallers returning with a ripping and epic belter!

8. INQUISITION                                                                                         "BLACK MASS FOR A MASS GRAVE"

After enduring embarrassing scandals, the band has made a grand comeback and added new wrinkles to their trademark sound.

9. BLUE OYSTER CULT                                                                                 "THE SYMBOL REMAINS"

After almost 20 years without an album, the CULT returns with a smorgasboard of their brand of eccentric hard rock.

10. SODOM                                                                                                 "GENESIS XIX"

Tom totally reconfigured his band and came back with a raw and back to basics thrasher in true SODOM tradition.

Honorable mention to: SEPULCHRAL CURSE, TESTAMENT, SARCATOR, PRIMEVAL MASS
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COLONEL ANGUS' TOP TEN OF 2020


1. (TIE)

ARMORED SAINT                                                             "PUNCHING THE SKY"

FATES WARNING                                                             "LONG DAY GOOD NIGHT"

2. SONS OF APOLLO                                                                                     "MMXX"

3. AC/DC                                                                                                     "PWR UP"

4. TORCH                                                                                                     "REIGNITED"

5. BLUE OYSTER CULT                                                                                   "THE SYMBOL REMAINS"

6. OZ                                                                                                           "FORCED COMMANDMENTS"

7. HAREM SCAREM                                                                                        "CHANGE THE WORLD"

8. HOUSE OF LORDS                                                                                      "NEW WORLD-NEW EYES"

9. CLOVEN HOOF                                                                                           "AGE OF STEEL"

10. DEEP PURPLE                                                                                           "WHOOSH!"
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THOR'S TOP 10 OF 2020



1. R.A. THE RUGGED MAN                                                  "ALL MY HEROES ARE DEAD"

(old-school NY Hip-Hop)

2. RUN THE JEWELS                                                                                        "RTJ4"

(new school political Hip-Hop)

3. GRINDPAD                                                                                                  "VIOLENCE"

(NWOSTM, super moshy)

4. TERMINAL NATION                                                                                       "HOLOCENE EXTINCTION"

(radical crusty hardcore)

5. DEVANGELIC                                                                                                "ERSETU"

(Brutal Death Metal, extremely heavy)

6. GORGATRON                                                                                                 "PATHOGENIC AUTOMATION"

(Well produced Brutal/Tech DM)

7. DESTROYED IN SECONDS                                                                              "DIVIDE AND DEVOUR"

(Thrash/Punk supergroup)

8. GORATORY                                                                                                    "SOUR GRAPES"

(lyrically hilarious/musically impressive quintessential American Brutal DM)

9. VENOMOUS CONCEPT                                                                                     "POLITICS VS. THE ERECTION"

(Grindcore super group playing great Hardcore Punk)

10. REALIZE                                                                                                      "MACHINE VIOLENCE"

(Super heavy industrial)
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LORD RANDALL'S TOP 10 OF 2020



1. ENSLAVED                                                                       "UTGARD"

2. GAEREA                                                                                                         "LIMBO"

3. HEXVESSEL                                                                                                    "KINDRED"

4. MONGREL'S CROSS                                                                                         "ARCANA, SCRYING & REVELATION"

5. GREEN CARNATION                                                                                         "LEAVES OF YESTERYEAR"

6. WITCHSKULL                                                                                                  "A DRIFTWOOD CROSS"

7. FELLWARDEN                                                                                                  "WREATHED IN MOURNCLOUD"

8. LYKANTROPI                                                                                                   "TALES TO BE TOLD"

9. FRAYLE                                                                                                           "1692"

10. RICINN                                                                                                         "NEREID"
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OCTOPI MILLS' TOP 10 OF 2020



1. GELDRUM                                                                         "MEDIEVAL CAMPFIRE TALES"

2. WAMPIRVS SINISTRVS                                                                                     "BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE"

3. DANZIG                                                                                                           "DANZIG SINGS ELVIS"

4. WITCHCRAFT                                                                                                    "BLACK METAL"

5. MOONCITADEL                                                                                                  "NIGHT'S SCARLET SYMPHONIES"

6. MY DYING BRIDE                                                                                               "THE GHOSTS OF ORION"

7. BRETWALDAS OF HEATHEN DOOM                                                                       "KINGDOM OF KILLERS"

8. INQUISITION                                                                                                     "BLACK MASS FOR A MASS GRAVE"

9. MOUKEPRABBELI                                                                                                "BOGS AND FROGS AND NIGHTLY FOGS"

10. MORTIIS                                                                                                          "SPIRIT OF REBELLION"
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ANATHEMA DECREE'S TOP 10 OF 2020

This is Anathema Decree's list of the top ten records released in 2020. They are not ordered by ranking among themselves, and are the albums that I most enjoyed this last year.


MAQUAHUITL                                                                         "AT THE ALTAR OF MICTLAMPA"

The thematically Mesoamerica USBM band Maquahuitl delivers a triumphant riff-fest with At the Altar of Mictlampa. The melodic structures and compositional direction on this record stands out among the genre's current landscape. Raw and equally epic, there's nothing quite like Maquahuitl being made at the moment, and the latest LP is well worth the purchase.


MORK GRYNING                                                                                                   "HINSIDES VREDE"

Fifteen years since their last album, MORK GRYNING revives their rightful standing among the old guard practitioners of Swedish black metal. 2020's "Hinsides Vrede" captures classic writing, while never succumbing to the trend of self-parody, often associated with other's dubious efforts, on releases, after extended hiatuses. The musicianship, craftsmanship, and production here is top notch. It's a great 90's era record, devised and expertly executed, presently.


PERDITION TEMPLE                                                                                              "SACRAMENTS OF DESCENSION"

The latest installment from death metal royalty Gene Palubicki, PERDITION TEMPLE's new record, "Sacraments of Descension" is another essential from the ANGELCORPSE maestro. Modern sounding, yet delivering every bit of savagery one would expect. This Floridian death metal still remains a peak among American contemporaries. The band's third full length release is a riff-centric showcase of a patented, relentlessness attack from yesteryear. If you're a fan of that style of USDM, don't miss out on "Sacraments of Descension".


PREZIR                                                                                                                 "DEPREDATION"

Midwestern USMB trio PREZIR's "Depredation" is their second full-length. The record is a blistering black metal barrage of riffs, melodies, solos , thunderous percussion, and virulent screams. PREZIR has crafted historically themed black metal on "Depredation" that embraces both the volatile speeds of thrash, and the infectious melodies of the European masters.



MOONCITADEL                                                                                                      "NIGHT'S SCARLET SYMPHONIES"

A victorious opus of Finnish melodic black metal aristocracy, MOONCITADEL bursts through the gates with their fist full length. "Night's Scarlet Symphonies" is precisely the style of bm that I've grown to enjoy, heralding from the genre hot-spot. The adept instrumentation and composition are skillfully harnessed, giving birth to a standout debut. I've listened to this album more than most in the short time since its end of the year release.



THE COMMITTEE                                                                                                    "UTOPIAN DECEPTION"

"Utopian Deception" is the third LP from totalitarian themed THE COMMITTEE. This latest effort continues their sonical direction, emulating the anthemic songs of empire. Although, it seems that there are no straight representation of particular Soviet era melodies like on early records. But the effect of the original compositions is much the same, and still focused though their black metal looking-glass.


HATE FOREST                                                                                                        "HOUR OF THE CENTAUR"

The Ukrainian black metal veteran Roman Saenko releases his first HATE FOREST full-length in fifteen years. It was well worth the wait. Like all the previous records, "Hour of the Centaur" is another stellar contribution to the band's prolific catalouge. Finding out about this was one of the pleasant surprises of 2020.


IMPERIAL SAVAGERY                                                                                              "LASHING THE FERAL SWINE"

IMPERIAL SAVAGERY's new album "Lashing the Feral Swine" is a punishing and bestial death metal offering. Elements of controlled chaos and viciousness are cornerstones for the success of this Midwestern bombardment. The fist-class vocal delivery is imbued with emotion and venom. It is prime among the DM releases of 2020.


ABIGOR                                                                                                                 "TOTSCHLAGER"

Austrian black metal powerhouse ABIGOR released their twelfth full-length record in 2020. A bastion of individualized sound and durability, "Totschläger" (A Saintslayer's Songbook) is another exceptional offering in a long line of the veterans' accomplishments. ABIGOR's skill and acumen is on full display here, and the results are exemplary of their longevity.


AZARATH                                                                                                               "SAINT DESECRATION"

Polish death metal staple AZARATH released "Saint Desecration", their seventh LP. This embodies the style of DM that has slipped through the grasp of their countrymen and veteran contemporaries with the cursed passage of time. Nothing unexpected here, and that, in this case, is a positive. The musicianship and delivery is outstanding. "Saint Desecration" is highly recommended for fans of old BEHEMOTH and BELPHEGOR who are disappointed in their recent contributions to the Polish landscape.

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And there you have it for 2020. The most acclaimed release seemed to be the new BLUE OYSTER CULT, their first record in 20 years. It popped up on multiple lists and topped Dark Starr's. AC/DC and DEEP PURPLE were other veterans that had multiple mentions. Outside of that, it was a wild free for all ranging from old school hip hop to Mesoamerican black metal to 100% American power metal. I take pride in the fact that the Wormcrew has such diverse tastes.

That wraps it up for this go around...

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!