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Top releases 2020:
 
Dominia - The Withering of the Rose
Score: 10/10
I don't know if it's because 2020 was such a messed up year, but it turned out to be a perfect year for doom metal. Two releases by My Dying Bride, the return of old doom favourites such as Celestial Season, Autumnia, and Draconian, and many other great doom bands have released albums this year. So it's surprising that relatively unknown Russian doomsters Dominia took the album of the year title. But they managed to do so by releasing a modern doom metal album that is literally infused with many elements of the old doom classics. in "The Withering of the Rose" I hear influences of Theatre of Tragedy, previously mentioned Celestial Season, and many others, so listening to their latest album is like a revisit of all music I listened to in the nineties and early 2000s. And of course it doesn't hurt to have guest vocals of Sakis of one of last year's top bands Rotting Christ!
 
Dominia
Reincarnation (digital)
Score: 10/10
 
Emyn Muil - Afar Angathfark
Score: 10/10
There's a couple of bands I usually refer to as Summoning-clones because, well, they sound a lot like Summoning. With Emyn Muil's latest album I start to feel it's a bit unfair though, since it's such a great release on its own. Maybe I should call it Summoning-inspired, or admit to the fact that Summoning started a metal genre of its own, something like fantasy-movie-soundtrack-metal, and other bands start playing this style. Anyway, Afar Angathfark is a massively inspiring and atmospheric album rivalling Summoning in its own genre.
 
Árstíðir Lífsins / Carpe Noctem - Aldrnari
Score: 10/10
Besided great doom albums, 2020 has brought some excellent split albums as well, such as this one called Aldrnari. Featuring Icelandic Árstíðir Lífsins who often end up high in my yearlist if they don't take their male choir-thing too far. They did just that on the full-length they released this year, but the 22 minute song on this split is excellent. Vocalist Árni is also member of the other band on this split, Carpe Noctem. This is a more Behemoth-like black metal band that delivers also a 22 minute song full of atmosphere.
 
Almyrkvi / The Ruins Of Beverast - Split
Score: 9.5/10
Multiple album-of-the-year title holder The Ruins Of Beverast will release their new full-length album in 2021, but leading up to that they released two split albums this year. On this split with Almyrkvi they showcase what they do best: Making extremely captivating but uncomfortable black metal soundscapes. Icelandic Almyrkvi are not completely on the same level but still deliver some excellent atmosphere here.
 
Auðn - V÷kudraumsins Fangi
Score: 9.5/10
Iceland seems to be rather over-represented in this yearlist, a fact easily verified by how often you see the ð character. Auðn is no exception, but sillyness aside they truly deserved their yearlist ranking with their third album Vökudraumsins Fangi. All three albums stand out for their epic atmospheric black metal with plenty of variation between calm melodies and aggressive blastbeats, but on this latest effort they perfected their songwriting and it's a captivating listen from start to end.
 
Kalmankantaja - Nostalgia I: Bones and Dust
Score: 9.5/10
Of the Nostalgia albums, Kalmankantaja claims that "These recordings are my tribute to the music that inspired me years ago, and continue to do so." It takes about two seconds to find out which music this is, as the first track sounds exactly like Dunkelheit, the first track from Burzum's Filosofem album. The guitars, the keyboards, even the vocals sound like they're recorded over the phone from prison (little Burzum joke there). Not a complaint though, since Filosofem is such a brilliant album I don't mind a tribute. The second and third song on "Nostalgia I" follow in the exact same footpath, also retellings of Burzum's Dunkelheit. On the last song Kalmankantaja changes things up to... copy Jesus' Tod, the second track from Filosofem. But again, not a complaint, as a tribute this album works very well.
 
Kalmankantaja - Nostalgia II: My Kingdom
Score: 9.5/10
The second part of the Nostalgia albums continues mostly in the style of the first one. Still very Burzum-esque, but a bit less copy-paste. Still, if Kalmankantaja wanted to pay tribute to anything else than Burzum I don't hear it. A solid listed for if you like slow atmospheric black metal covered in keyboards though!
 
Kalmankantaja - Viimeinen virsi II: Sairaan sielun sanat
Score: 9.5/10
The bad thing about bands like Kalmankantaja is that they keep pumping out so many releases that it's hard to keep up, preventing you to really connect with one album or song in particular. The good thing however, is that they produce a lot of amazing music. On Viimeinen virsi II, Kalmankantaja is returning more to their own sound, which in itself is still very Burzum inspired, so expect more long mid-tempo black metal drowning in atmosphere.
 
Clouds - Durere
Score: 9.5/10
Clouds have been releasing great doom metal albums for a while, stylistically bouncing between Funeral Doom with deep growls and guitars, to a lighter doom with clean vocals and acoustic music that sometimes gets a bit too soft for me. Still plenty of slow depressive funeral goodness to enjoy on Durere though!
 
Evilfeast / Uuntar - Odes to Lands of Past Traditions
Score: 9.5/10
Splits are not only a great way to discover new bands, but when they have the duration of a full-length album, they make excellent entries for my yearlist. And this split between Polish Evilfeast and Dutch Uuntar does both things. The best thing about Evilfeast is, besides the band name of course, that their albums always sound decades older than they actually are. Their part of this split again sounds like you're listening to an old Emperor demo tape. Uuntar I hadn't heard of before but plays an excellent folk inspired black metal that I definitely have to check out more.
 
Dark Fortress
Spectres from the Old World
Score: 9.5/10
 
Celestial Season
The Secret Teachings
Score: 9.5/10
 
Nocte Obducta
Irrlicht (Es schlägt dem Mond ein kaltes Herz)

Score: 9.5/10
 
Marche Funèbre
Einderlicht
Score: 9.5/10
 
Cult Of Fire
Nirvana
Score: 9.5/10
 
Deafheaven
10 Years Gone
Score: 9/10
 
Aphonic Threnody
The Great Hatred
Score: 9/10
 
Fortíð
World Serpent
Score: 9/10
 
Atra Hora
TÚmenos
Score: 9/10
 
21Wolves Den
Miserere
Score: 9/10
 
Autumnia
...And Your Autumnia
Score: 9/10
22
 
23Shallow Rivers
Prometheus Unbound (digital)
Score: 8.5/10
 
Akhlys
MelinoŰ
Score: 8.5/10
24
 
25Darkenhöld
Arcanes & SortilŔges
Score: 8.5/10
 
Matalobos
The Grand Splendour of Death
Score: 8.5/10
26
 
27In Tenebriz
Bitter Wine of Summer
Score: 8.5/10
 
My Dying Bride
The Ghost of Orion
Score: 8.5/10
28
 
29Afsky
Ofte Jeg Dr°mmer Mig D°d
Score: 8.5/10
 
Draconian
Under a Godless Veil
Score: 8.5/10
30
 
31Mesarthim
Planet Nine
Score: 8.5/10
 
The Project Hate MCMXCIX
Purgatory
Score: 8.5/10
32
 
33Temple Of Void
The World That Was
Score: 8.5/10
 
Mesarthim
The Degenerate Era
Score: 8.5/10
34
 
35Borgne
Y
Score: 8.5/10
 
Various
Ad Cenerem
Score: 8.5/10
36
 
37Disbelief
The Ground Collapses
Score: 8.5/10
 
Secrets Of The Moon
Black House
Score: 8.5/10
38
 
39Paysage d'Hiver
Im Wald
Score: 8.5/10
 
Messiah
Fracmont
Score: 8.5/10
40
 
41Forgotten Tomb
Nihilistic Estrangement
Score: 8/10
 
Havukruunu
Uinuos Sy÷mein Sota
Score: 8/10
42
 
43Iku-Turso
Pakana
Score: 8/10
 
Finntroll
Vredesvńvd
Score: 8/10
44
 
45Regarde Les Hommes Tomber
Ascension
Score: 8/10
 
Ancst
Summits of Despondency
Score: 8/10
46
 
47Puteraeon
The Cthulhian Pulse: Call from the Dead City
Score: 8/10
 
Turia
Degen van Licht
Score: 8/10
48
 
49...And Oceans
Cosmic World Mother
Score: 8/10
 
Thurisaz
Re-Incentive
Score: 8/10
50
 
51Graceless
Where Vultures Know Your Name
Score: 8/10
 
Various
Ardorem
Score: 8/10
52
 
53Wolfheart
Wolves of Karelia
Score: 7.5/10
 
Trident
North
Score: 7.5/10
54
 
55XIV Dark Centuries
Waldvolk
Score: 7.5/10
 
Griffon
Ë Theos Ë Vasilefs
Score: 7.5/10
56
 
57Arkhtinn / Starless Domain
Astrophobia
Score: 7.5/10
 
Cult Of Fire
Moksha
Score: 7.5/10
58
 
59Árstíðir Lífsins
Saga ß tveim tungum II: Eigi fjǫll nÚ fir­ir
Score: 7.5/10
 
Arroganz
Morsus
Score: 7.5/10
60
 
61Velnias
Scion of Aether
Score: 7.5/10
 
Mourning Beloveth / The Ruins Of Beverast
Don't Walk on the Mass Graves
Score: 7.5/10
62
 
63Fluisteraars
Bloem
Score: 7.5/10
 
Sepultura
Quadra
Score: 7.5/10
64
 
65Theosophy
Towers of Dark Pantheon
Score: 7/10
 
Gaerea
Limbo
Score: 7/10
66
 
67Revolted Masses
Rise (digital)
Score: 7/10
 
Enslaved
Utgard
Score: 7/10
68
 
69Insidious Disease
After Death
Score: 7/10
 
Deftones
Ohms
Score: 7/10
70
 
71Kalmankantaja
Talventuoja (digital)
Score: 7/10
 
Paradise Lost
Obsidian
Score: 6.5/10
72
 
73The Spirit
Cosmic Terror
Score: 6.5/10
 
Ixion
L'Adieu aux Etoiles
Score: 6.5/10
74
 
75Thesyre
Shift
Score: 6.5/10
 
Porta Nigra
Sch÷pfungswut
Score: 6.5/10
76
 
77Der Weg Einer Freiheit
Covid-19 Sessions (digital)
Score: 6.5/10
 
Kawir
Adrasteia
Score: 6.5/10
78
 
79Necrophobic
Dawn of the Damned
Score: 6.5/10
 
Hermóðr
Old Woods (digital)
Score: 6/10
80
 
81Lapsus Dei
Sea Of Deep Reflections
Score: 6/10
 
Hermóðr
As Silent as the Stars (digital)
Score: 6/10
82
 
83Order Of Orias
Ablaze
Score: 6/10
 
Messiah
Fatal Grotesque Symbols - Darken Universe
Score: 6/10
84
 
85An Autumn For Crippled Children
All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Score: 6/10
 
Dark Tranquillity
Moment
Score: 5.5/10
86
 
87Taake / Whoredom Rife
Pakt

Score: 5.5/10
 
Deathcult (NOR) / Taake
Jaertegn
Score: 5.5/10
88
 
89Hexadar
Depletion of Light
Score: 5.5/10
 
Hermóðr
Triumph (digital)
Score: 5.5/10
90
 
91Mörk Gryning
Hinsides Vrede
Score: 5.5/10
 
Voodoo Gods
The Divinity of Blood
Score: 5.5/10
92
 
93Kawir / Yoth Iria
Split
Score: 5.5/10
 
Clouds
The Path of Sorrow (digital)
Score: 5.5/10
94
 
95Augrimmer
Pantaleimon Speaks / Lynx (ep)
Score: 5/10
 
Blood Of Angels
Failure of Faith
Score: 5/10
96
 
97Behemoth
A Forest
Score: 5/10
 
God Dethroned
Illuminati
Score: 5/10
98
 
99Skeletal Remains
The Entombment of Chaos
Score: 5/10




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