Let's face it, 2020 was an absolutely horrible year. Fortunately, one positive thing from 2020 was the tremendous amount of amazing music that was released this year.
It seemed that there was more great music released in 2020 than in previous years, or maybe it was due to the fact that I had a lot more time to actually sit down and listen to more. Regardless, I can always count on music to make me feel better and wash away even the darkest of times.
Below you will find the song, along with the album it was released on, some on vinyl some not and eventually the playlist to tie it all together.
Without further adieu, here are my Top 50 Rock and Metal songs from 2020.
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Forming the Void-"Onward Through the Haze"
Forming the Void put out an amazing and ambitious record with "Reverie" in 2020, their first on Ripple Music. The band has gradually gotten better each album both musically and in their song-writing abilities. "Onward Through the Haze" destroys with soft dynamics, a pulsating rhythm, warm fuzzed-out sludgy guitar tone and stellar vocals.
Black Rainbows-"Radio 666"
Black Rainbows has been at the Stoner Rock game for years, now reaching what some would say classic status. Released on Heavy Psych Sounds and taken off of their release "Cosmic Ritual Powertrip", "Radio 666" is a cool, catchy and fuzzy easy rider that personifies what this band is all about.
Released on Heavy Psych Sounds, "Groovy" featured one of the most laid back and grooviest songs of the year. "Dig" is a fuzzy, bass-driven, and infectious tune that gets stuck in your head for daze. Did someone say more cowbell?
The long-awaited new album "Refractions" from classic Stoner Rock band Lowrider did not disappoint. Released on Blues Funeral Recordings, the album is sure to make many best of the year lists. "Red River" starts this bad boy off with it's low-swinging groove and heavy rumble.
Taken from Norwegian band Kryptograf's self-titled album, "Crimson Horizon" is a mid-tempo and spirited tune that fuses elements of proto-metal with riff-heavy classic rock.
"Collapse" is the first track off of Sun Crow's magnificent debut album "Quest for Oblivion". The crushing Stoner Doom riff builds and intensifies through a wall of feedback and haze until settling into a sweet groove. Wait, another riff? The yelling vocals pierce right through all of the sonic mayhem.
At first glance of the album art you would not expect a heavy rock band. Don't let it fool you. "Big Sleeper" is off of UK band Intechnicolour's phenomonal "sleeper" release of the same name out now on Art of Catharsis. This song is heavy as hell and hammers like Karma To Burn and grooves like Kyuss.
King Chiefs-"Flying Into Void"
"Flying Into Void" is the first track on King Chiefs album of the same name. This song is the reason why I wait until the end of the year to write up a list. Crunchy fuzz swirls around an upbeat feel along with great vocals and a penchant for melody.
1000Mods-"Less is More"
"Less is More" is a track taken from 1000mods latest release "Youth of Dissent". It takes guts to evolve and change your sound. The result is a more grunge rock and lighter sound. Not sure why, but I'm getting a Dinosaur Jr. meets Foo Fighters meets Deftones vibe on this tune. Call me crazy.
"Cave" is the lead track from Hovenweep's EP "Salvian Journey". This song is a doom heavy psychedelic trip through a sweeping dusty haze and monumental dunes. The full and fuzzy sound is rounded out by keyboards and softly sung vocals.
"Ghost Smoke" is the final track off of Australian band Fumarole's release "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes". This bass-driven track is a thunderous and crushing end to a hazy, crunchy riff-filled album "set in a future where the rich have enslaved the poor and placed them on a planet to mine a bacteria that can keep them alive forever". What they said.
Killer Be Killed-"Deconstructing Self-Destruction"
"Deconstructing Self-Destruction" is a track off of the latest release "Reluctant Hero" from supergroup Killer Be Killed featuring Max Cavalera (Soulfly/ex-Sepultura), Ben Koller (Converge/Mutoid Man), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan/The Black Queen) and Troy Sanders (Mastodon/Gone Is Gone) . The song is devastatingly brutal and fiendish yet brilliantly melodic. Killer shit right there.
Deftones-"This Link is Dead"
"This Link is Dead" is taken from the Deftone's latest album "Ohms". From the cutting and ear-piercing vocals to the uneasy guitar squalls, the song is an angst-ridden suggestion about being yourself and not letting others stand in your way.
Kvelertak-"Crack of Doom"
"Crack of Doom" is a track from Kvelertak's latest album "Splid". High energy Doom and freakin' Roll featuring Troy Sanders from Mastodon. Catchy and melodic with gritty death metal vocals. This song will worm its way into your brain for days. A new vocalist didn't slow this band down one bit.
Testament-"Night of the Witch"
"Night of the Witch" is a track off of the new album "Titans of Creation" by Bay Thrash Metal legends Testament. There are no signs of slowing down with this band as they just keep putting out stellar albums with awesome songs and awesome musicianship while staying true to their roots. Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick and Co. still tearing shit up after all these years.
Lamb of God-"Memento Mori"
"Memento Mori" is a track off of Lamb of God's latest self-titled release. This is their first new release of new material since 2015 and the first to feature new drummer Art Cruz. The band hasn't skipped a beat and this song crushes with it's sheer intensity, staccato guitar crunch, moshable rhythms and a vocal style vaguely reminiscent of the Sisters of Mercy's tune "Marian". Wake up!!!
Mr. Bungle-"Bungle Grind"
If you were were expecting a new funk metal album from Mr. Bungle, think again. This song is taken from their new, well kinda sort of new Thrash metal album "The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo". Featuring Scott (Anthrax) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer), this is old school Thrash at it's absolute finest.
Spirit Adrift-"Astral Levitation"
Another fine release from the folks at 20 Buck Spin, "Astral Levitation" is a track off of the band's latest release "Enlightened in Eternity". This song is a blast from the past as well as hope for the future. Metal will never die as long as there are bands such as Spirit Adrift around to keep the internal flame burning.
AC/DC-"Kick You When You're Down
Hard Rock legends AC/DC are back! "Kick You When You're Down" is a track off of their new release "Power Up". Let's face it, AC/DC has never been a band to reinvent the wheel, they just release simple ass-kicking songs with scorching solos, head bobbing rhythms and gritty vocals. Thank you AC/DC, thank you!
Fu Manchu-"Time Is Going On"
So-Cal Stoner Rock legends Fu Manchu released a sweet little 3-track EP in 2020. "Time is Going On" starts with a cool drum beat then eases into a heavy dose of fuzz. Funny how I hum along to the fuzzed-out guitar when I listen to this band. This song is awesome! "Trust me".
"Broken Tweaker" is a track off of the latest album "Mental Nudge" by Boston-based supergroup Kind released on Ripple Music. The bottom heavy bass punches right out of the gate and never lets up while layering in robust and harmonious vocals, fuzzed-out sludgy tone and blistering guitar soloing . "Fuck yeeaahh!"
King Buffalo-"Dead Star"
Nobody does heavy psychedelic music quite like King Buffalo. "Dead Star" is the title track off of their latest release. Starting off with a soft acoustic passage and softly sung vocals the song gradually progresses until it crushes you with a fuzzy riff. The song eventually ends as it started, leaving you wanting more. The band's quarantine sessions on YouTube were a highlight during these crazy times.
Well folks, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed reading.
Here is to a fantastic and optimistic 2021. Stay safe and healthy. Cheers!