Unless you’re Odell Beckham, you’re probably upset that 2020 took a shit on the world’s collective chest.  No disrespect if you’re into that kind of thing, but for the rest of us, it is less than desirable. A worldwide pandemic, while it is definitely inspirational for metal musicians the world over, only inspired depression and despair amongst most of us. For us here at Teeth of the Divine, , this is where metal comes in.

Nothing beats headbanging the doom and gloom out of oneself with some, well, doom and gloom. Every year is a banner year for metal. If you’re one who opines that there’s no good metal released anymore, you’re not looking hard enough. You should stop squinting and put on your glasses, four eyes.

Lucky for you, we’ve done a lot of the dirty work for you. Gaze upon the glorious superiority and unmatched wisdom of our clearly definitive lists and remember that no one loves you in this world… except us… and metal.

by Staff

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Erik T

A few things stood out for me in the shit show that was 2020, 1) It’s clear black metal was my go to genre of choice with almost half the list being black metal or mostly black metal (with other releases by Prezir, Liturgy, Afsky, Omitir, Porta Nigra, Mavorim, Argesk, Varg, Kryptamok, Eisenkult, Necrocracy and Black Beast all flirting with my list) and 2) This was one of the few years where I didn’t have to trim down my list and agonize over what to add or remove or get creative (ok maybe I did a little…)so I could have some releases out there. And Finally, after Havukrunnu as my clear cut top album of 2020 and my top 5, the rest of the albums were pretty interchangeable.


  1. Havukrunnu Uinuos syömein sota. (Naturmacht Productions). As I stated above- the clear cut best album of 2020 for me. Merging Immortal, Macabre Omen and Moonsorrow into rousing, epic black metal anthems for the ages.
  2. Marrasmieli Between Land and Sky (Naturmacht Productions).  As I said back in February when I reviewed this amazing record- top 5 of the year and an amazingly gorgeous black metal record littered with Viking era Bathory influences.
  3. Lorna Shore Immortal (Century Media Records). Despite the CJ McGreery bullshit, Lorna Shore released a blistering symphonic deathcore tour de force, good enough that even though it was released in January, I still loved it in December.
  4. Abigor Totschlager (A Saintslayers Songbook) WTC Productions. Holy hell. Abigor finally settled down a bit and looked to their past but still delivered a maelstrom of chaotic, symphonic black metal majesty.
  5. AARA En Ergô Einai (Dememur Morti Productions).  Brilliant, unique Swiss, Choral black metal.
  6. Cult of Lilith Mara (Metal Blade Records). A perfect quirky mix of Meshuggah and Soreption from iceland. Great find from Metal Blade records.
  7. … And Oceans Cosmic World Mother (Season of Mist) . Worth the 18 year wait, as …And Oceans delivered one of the best reunions of recent memory, going back to their brilliant 90s symphonic style of black metal
  8. Anaal Nathrakh Endarkenment (Metal Blade Records) . The most fitting album for the shitshow that is 2020. Blistering yet catchy earworms from this reliable duo.
  9. Blodiga Skald The Undrunken Curse (Soundage Productions). My favorite new folk metal discovery of the last few years. Take all the good stuff from Finntroll, Equilibrium, Svartsot, and even Alestorm and you get these energetic Italians.
  10. Fluisteraars Bloem (Eisenwald) Sublime, elegant  and slightly avant-garde black metal from this Dutch duo who have been at it for a few albums now, and are now firmly on my radar.
  11. Voidceremony Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel (20 Buck Spin). Churning, cavernous death metal made progressive and some how melodic? Dimension Unraveling indeed.
  12. Mork Gryning Hinsides vrede (Season of Mist). Another veteran 90s black metal act reunites with terrific results.
  13. Exocrine Maelstrom (Unique Leader) A killer tech death release with some curveballs (brass sections, female vocals) that showed great progression and experimentation from prior releases.
  14. Earth Rot  Black Tides of Obscurity (Season of Mist). Australian black/death metal with a Swedish HM 2 buzz. A supremely underrated band and album from early 2020.
  15. The Project Hate Purgatory (Mouth of Belial). Has Lord K and co. released a bad album in their 13 attempts? Nope. another killer techno-industrial Swedish death juggernaut. Kudos for doing a CD version….
  16. Exulansis Sequestered Sympathy. (Alerta Antifascista Records). My Dying Bride violins mixed with emotive Fall of Efrafa-ish crust/doom. Fuck yes.
  17. Ulcerate Stare Into Death And be Still (Debemur Morti Productions) . Another massive, murky release from New Zealand’s most reliable death metal masters.
  18. Noumena Anima (Haunted Zoo Productions). Not as immediate as prior masterpieces, but a more patient sprawling effort from one of Finland’s most underrated death/doom bands.
  19. Carach Angren Franckensteina Strataemontanus (Season Of Mist). After a few experimental missteps, one of Symphonic black metal’s vanguards returned to form.
  20. Oath of Damnation Fury and Malevolence (Gore House Productions). Absolutely ripping blackened death  album from these Aussies with hints of Bal Sagoth .
  21. envy The Fallen Crimson (Temporary Residence Limited/Pelagic Records) Veteran Japanese band have come so far and developed a gorgeous, and unique take on their post rock screamo sound with some of the most wondrous female vocals I’ve heard.
  22. Kaunis Kuolematon Syttyköön toinen aurinko (Noble Demon). Expectedly brilliant and somber Finnish doom-death with a brazen, aggressive edge.
  23. Naglfar Cerekloth (Century Media Records) Completing the trifecta of killer 90s black metal reunions, Cerekloth was a return to Diabolical and Sheol levels of blistering brilliance.
  24. Ordinance In Purge There Is No Remission (The Sinister Flame). Not as sprawling as their debut, but still a masterful release from one of black metal’s brightest (darkest?) newcomers.
  25. Asarhaddon  Reysa (Geisterasche Organisation). Obscure, brilliant, melancholic, atmospheric Black metal from Germany. Thanks Spotify!

Best Digital-Only Release; Ovid’s Withering Terraphage (Self -Released). Continuing the band’s high fantasy/sci fi story telling with epic symphonic deathcore. Pity it’s digital only. Come on Unique Leader, get these guys signed!!!

Best EPs: Stormkeep Galdrum.  Epic symphonic black metal adorned by epic Ian Miller artwork. Really looking forward to a full length. (Van Records). Scourge Eternal Subservience (Amputated Vein Records). Sheer Belgian beef mixed with Dying Fetus groove. Massive. Lamentari Miss pro Defunctis (Over the Under Records) Out of nowhere, Bonkers symphonic black metal from Denmark.

Best Vocal Performance: Adrienne Cowan(Seven Spires –Emerald Seas), Noa Gruman (Scardust –Strangers)These two femme Fatales absolutely killed it on their respective albums delivering supreme range and emotion, and both even using harsh growls and screams to round things out. They both should be huge international stars.

Biggest Disappointment: Mystras  Castles Conquered and Reclaimed. With a production that makes Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal look like Nightwish, the usually genius Ayloss hamstrung his rebellious solo opus, making some possibly brilliant riffs unlistenable.

Best New Discoveries: Mortuorial Eclipse. Another Spotify find, this brilliant Argentinian Symphonic death metal band mixed Behemoth and Fleshgod Apocalypse with epic results on their 2 albums from 2016 (The Aethyrs Call) and 2018 (Urushdaur) respectively. Svalbard – Rending, blackened screamo from the UK that imbues The Circle Takes the Square .

Best reissue/Re-release: Wilderun Veil of Imagination (Century Media Records). I had to find a way to get this absolutely magnificent Opeth meets Blind Guardian combination on my list here somewhere. Originally self-released in 2019, Century Media stuck another track on it and gave it another go around, allowing the world to hear some of the best orchestral and choir arrangements of the last few years again.

Best Thing about 2020: The Reunions- notably the 3 black metal ones above- …And Oceans, Mork Gyning and Naglfar  as well as old warhorses Benediction, all delivering blistering 90s/00s throwback albums. Also one of my favorite metalcore bands from the 00s, Misery Signals reunited with their original vocalist to release Ultraviolet.

Worst Thing about 2020: Other than Covid and Donald Trump, the worst aspect of 2020 was the lack of shows- there were a few bucket list bands I was scheduled to see in 2020 (Borknagar, Rotting Christ) but covid made sure that didn’t happen. Here’s to hoping 2021 sees those shows rescheduled and shows, in general, make a comeback.

Best Label: Unique Leader. I know Naturmacht Productions would seem the obvious choice here as they hold the #1 and #2 spots on my list, and Unique Leader only has two bands Cytotoxin and Exocrine, on my list but when you throw in the consistent releases the label had with the likes of Ingested, Xenobiotic, Afterbirth, Stillbirth, Katalepsy and Athme, as well as the late year Deeds of Flesh release, they literally crushed 2020. Honorable Mentions; Season of Mist, Naturmacht Productions, Purity Through Fire.


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