Sunday, December 6, 2020

the Top 10 Prog Albums of 2020

If you are a regular reader here then you know when it comes to prog I am not looking for a bunch of wanky shredding and math for the sake of math. I want bands that are progressing and that is what is happening with these bands who made the cut this year. Ok now that that is out of the way , much like in years past  ] I sort through the genre lists before making the overall top ten of the year list. I know many of you are ready for 2020 to be over with. Hate to break it to you but nothing is getting better next year. As far as 2020 goes for  prog there is not much in the way of new artists , but  The fact these artists made it on the list speaks to how  great these albums are, so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Sure you can bitch and complain about your favorite band not being on the list. However I listen to five new albums a day so yes I heard your favorite album and was not impressed. No I do not care what you think about it .I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list and have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 Prog albums of 2020

10- Mamaleek - " Come and See" 

This is an album I wanted to spend more time with. It is very unique blending noise rock, with jazz and blackish metal. They songs are progressive in they go places , there is little in the way of shredding , but they do jam out into unexpected places.

9 Liturgy- "Origin of Alimonies"

At this point a opera from these guys should not surprise me. That might be what it aspires to , but they stay pretty true to who they are , just adding more symphonic elements and perhaps returning to a more black metal direction at time.

9- Psychotic Waltz-"the God Shaped Void"

This is a band I grew up listening to so they hold a special place for me. What matters to me here is this is the same band that played on their "Into the Evenflow " album, which is all that really matters to me. My problem with most prog/power metal is that it is never dark enough. That has not been the case with this band which is why I have like them for some time.

8-Solstifir- " Endless Twilight of Codependent Love"

This band has progressed. Perhaps no in the manner their former mouth breathing fan base might approve of as they are less metal and not black metal at all, in fact their is more of a Radiohead feel to these songs. Trying new things is the beauty of where they go here.

7 Caligula's Horse - "Rise Radiant" 

This is their 5th album so they know what they are doing and have continued to perfect their flirtation with the more 80s metal influence that has become a trope of the genre with bands like Fates Warning and Queensyrche. They Heavy enough despite the gymnastics and the melodic vocals urgent and vital to the song rather than just soaring with the sonic somersaults.


Yes, I am fine with Ihsahn exploring things not black metal. He is a great singer and when he taps into things with more of a 80s pop sense or 90s alternative vibe he does not turn his back on metal dynamics when it makes sense .. This comes closer to what you might expect from Devin Townsend, but finds him using his time in quarantine wisely.

5- Gaytheist - " How Long Have I Been On Fire?

If Coheed & Cambria were bookish gay nerds who embraced their Rush side as much as their love of 90s math rock . The vocals are somewhat Geddy Lee and have grit to them at times. They can dig in and get metal as needed, The best band you did not check out this year. 

4-Pain of Salvation- "Panther"

Not a huge change in sound, despite electronic elements being more predominant . They do not conform to a commercial sound . They continue to defines progressive. They refuse to become comfortable with a sound, there are aggressive elements yet this is  less metal than the previous release. Daniel's voice sounds great, and he always serves the song. The same can be said of the wanking free instrumentation.  It's complex and simple at the time.

3- Molasses - "Through the Hollow" 

This is in some ways a reunion of the Devils Blood , but with out Farida's brother, who would have been next to her the most crucial member of that band. There is less of a retro feel to their sound. Where the Devil's Blood jammed, these guys take you through a winding maze of grooves that are not unlike anything they have touched in their previous work. That is progressive. Yes there is incredible playing on every level but it serves the song.


2-Lykantropi- "Tales to Be Told" 

On the more Jethro Tull side of the classic prog rock equation. These guys are not just killer players they are also talented song writers . This is an album I want to spend more time with , as I know it will continue to grow on me.  It was a tight race between this and Molasses, who they barely edged out with hookier songs.

1- Igorrr- "Spirituality & Distortion"

These guys out Bungled Mr. Bungle this year. At times their sound has more in common with Dead Can Dance or Beats Antique, but wit ha more metallic touch. This was even given a push in a more metal direction with a guest spot from Cannibal Corpse's singer. A band that continues to amaze as their legend grows with each album, any questions why this takes the number one spot ?

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