to the Metalheads Forever Top 50 Albums of 2020! This is our definitive list of the best heavy metal albums to dribble out of this miserable year. 2020 has been a great year for thrash metal with both old and new bands scoring incredible albums whilst doom, power and folk metal have all delivered some fantastic supporting albums. Whatever your poison is, this list will help you see out the remainder of the year in style; add these albums to your playlists, turn the music up loud and enjoy it!
50 – Epitaph
Pyramaze deliver another album of dark power metal that shows that the Danes have still got what it takes take on the top of the big leagues; a guest appearance from Matt Barlow helps things along too!
49 – City Burials
Katatonia may be a far cry from the death/doom band that we know them for, but in their expansion of sound ‘City Burials’ brings in a progressive rock sound that appeals to a whole new audience who will lap this up and you know what? Katatonia are good at it.
48 – Casting the Circle
Ever wondered what it’s like being in a crack den in Morocco? Listen to ‘Casting the Circle’ and its hypnotic rhythms and spaced out vibes will take you on a journey underneath the desert stars without ever leaving your armchair.
47 – The Poisoner
Another band landing their debut album in this list are White Crone with ‘The Poisoner’ being a fantastic blend of doom, heavy metal, mysticism, and the occult through a retro feel that is impossible to not enjoy.
46 – Palace for the Insane
UK thrash metal has taken a turn upwards with the release of Shrapnel’s latest album. There may have been some changes in their camp, but it is for the better with the thrashers never sounding this good!
45 – Quadra
They struck early in the year, but Sepultura’s latest offering still stands up now weaving it’s rhythms through a blend of death, groove and thrash metal to deliver something that is uniquely Sepultura.
44 – Genesis XIX
They’ve been threatening to do it for years, but ‘Genesis XIX’ is the sound of Tom Angelripper and Frank Blackfire firing on all cylinders as the band deliver their best album in 25 years!
43 – Panther
Pain of Salvation
The Swedish progressive metal stars are back after three years, bringing their sound kicking and screaming into the 20’s and it works magnificently.
42 – Library of Death
It’s doom metal with a mad flute, it’s what Jethro Tull would sound like if they were jamming with Black Sabbath and Candlemass and with their sophomore album, the Swedes take it to the next level.
41 – ThrashWall
These young Portuguese thrashers know their onions when it comes to their craft and because of it, their debut album flies straight into this list without any questions being asked. Top quality stuff.
40 – Empire of the Blind
Over 30 years in the business and less than five albums to show for it? Heathen once again show that there is such a thing as quality over quantity with another superb offering of technical thrash metal.
39 – Utgard
Enslaved are another band that have been exploring their outer limits over the few years and ‘Utgard’ is the band demonstrating that they are far more capable than just a black metal band from the early 90s.
38 – Mind Freeze
They might have had a busy discography over the last few years, but Haunt show no signs of slowing down and if you’re a fan of trad metal and still not listening to this album? Shame!
37 – Scriptures
Old school UK death metallers return with their first album in 12 years and it has definitely been worth the wait! Their return was foretold in the scriptures. ‘lo be praised!
36 – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeat
Napalm Death are the kings of cult and this year shows that when it comes to death metal and grindcore every band has to go the extra mile to keep up with their wake. In fact, the Death haven’t sounded this good in a long time!
35 – Solitude in Madness
Polish death/thrash metal stalwarts once again prove that when it comes to their style, no one does it better with ‘Solitude in Madness’ keeping the flag well and truly unfurled.
34 – V
Another new wave of thrash band throwing their hat in the ring this year are Havok and they’ve hit the bullseye again with their ferocious fifth offering.
33 – Born Innocent
It was a shock to see Alcatrazz return, but Bonnet sounds as good now as he did in the early 80s with some furious heavy metal that show Alcatrazz are far from writing the closing chapter of their book. Parole denied.
32 – Weapons of Tomorrow
The new wave of thrash strikes back hard this year and Warbringer drive the spike hard with their latest offering of contemporary thrash showing that thrash is cool again!
31 – Ballistic, Sadistic
Throughout the last decade, Jeff Waters and co. have made a habit of delivering top quality thrash metal and ‘Ballistic, Sadistic’ is no exception. Anyone who needs a reminder just how good Waters is on guitar should crank this so loud that it upsets your neighbours.
30 – Magick and Mischief
Taking a large gulp from 70’s hard rock, mixing it up with doom and adding in a pinch of psychedelic and avant-garde, ‘Magick and Mischief’ is an odd album that can’t helped but be enjoyed. There are a few bands that could learn a thing or two from this release.
29 – Last Ride
Vessel of Light
Doom metal riffs? Check. Black Sabbath worship? Check. Alice in Chains style vocal harmonies? Check. ‘Last Ride’ has it all and is a must listen for any serious doom metal fan this year.
28 – Termination Shock
Smashing down the doors are Canadian trad metal band Traveler with their superb sophomore album as the band take Judas Priest’s 70’s sound into the 21st century.
27 – Fields of Blood
One of Germany’s finest heavy metal bands returns from the coldness of experimentation and delivers a familiar album of historical Scottish battles. It is bloody brilliant. Welcome back Grave Digger, it’s been too long!
26 – From a Dying Ember
Falconer are a casualty of 2020; the folk/metal band with power metal overtones have delivered excellent music for 20 years and their latest swan song is no different allowing the Swedes to bow out on a high.
25 – We Are Chaos
The God of Fuck returns and continues his adult streak with another Gothic rock workout that has all the hallmarks of David Bowie writing with Manson whilst Trent Reznor produces. A damned fine album.
24 – Ghost of Orion
My Dying Bride
Lumbering into this position are My Dying Bride with a monolith of melancholy that is guaranteed to make you so miserable it actually cheers you up. My Dying Bride know their audience and they know that they’ve done one of the best albums of the year.
23 – Flowers of Evil
Ulver continue their growth away from their starting point; it may be a far cry from their black metal past, but ‘Flowers of Evil’ is a post rock masterpiece with an excellent ambient electronica overtone that allows endless playing.
22 – Francksteina Stratemontanus
No one would be surprised that Carach Angren have delivered the most interesting concept of the year; this is a huge monument of Victorian Gothic horror and symphonic black metal and even plays into fans hands with the classic line: “IT’S ALIIIIIVE!!”
21 – Feeding the Machine
Wolf have a habit of delivering consistently great albums and why change the habit of a lifetime. This is pedal to floor heavy metal done correctly and the Swedes have delivered another excellent slab of it.
20 – Metal Commando
The German heavy metal veterans are back with another stellar album. ‘Metal Commando’ is everything that any metal maniac could want; it’s loud, it has endless replayability and it gives those air guitar strings a real battering.
19 – MMXX
Sons of Apollo
Portnoy, Sheehan, Bumblefoot, Soto and Sherinian step forth on their second mission delivering one of the most mature prog metal albums of the year with its sweeping melodies and memorable songs and is better than anything Dream Theater have released since 2013.
18 – Misanthropic Breed
Bored of everything that Entombed have released in the last 25 years? Then ‘Misanthropic Breed’ is the album for you. This is the best album that Entombed never released. Crank it up loud and pretend it’s 1990 again with this old school death metal sound.
17 – Obsidian
The Yorkshire death/doomsters are back with another solid slab of what they do best; with the winter nights drawing in, ‘Obsidian’ is the perfect accompaniment to a dark night.
16 – Abyss
Unleash the Archers
Put down that chain mail and battle axe and pick up your laser rifle because Unleash the Archers are venturing beyond the final frontier with their latest space themed masterpiece!
15 – Legal at Last
There is something about Anvil that make it impossible to listen to without a cheeky smile and of course ‘Legal at Last’ cuddles up to your funny bone with some old school metal done properly.
14 – Metal City
The Geordie legends have returned for the first time in five years to show the trad metal upstarts of the past decade how it’s done with a barrage of speed, metal and athletic rock that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
13 – The God Shaped Void
‘The God Shaped Void’ might be one of the most interesting releases of the year. This is a pure prog masterpiece and had it been released in the 1970’s, it would be regarded as an all-time classic.
12 – Let There Be Nothing
There aren’t enough songs about the Byzantine Empire, but ‘Let There Be Nothing’ shows that Judicator have struck gold with this pure power metal gem. O Stavros Nika!
11 – Rebirth by Blasphemy
Well, here it is, Midnight have delivered an album of Venom-esque dirt, it’s so raw that it’s still wriggling and kicking for breath. In fact, this is the best album that Venom never released. Welcome to hell!
10 – Generation Antichrist
The British thrashers are back with some thunderous riffage and because of it, Onslaught have delivered one of the best thrash albums of the year.
09 – Punching the Sky
Driving down the avenue of heavy metal; Armored Saint are back from their five-year absence to deliver one of their best albums in 20 years and the Saint stand on the shoulders of giants triumphantly proud, punching the sky
08 – Emblas Saga
Brothers of Metal
Brothers of Metal have set sail for a second time and delivered an amazing quest reward. It’s tongue-in-cheek at times and it’s served with a large helping of cheese. Raise your horns and praise Odin!
07 – Oak, Ash & Thorn
This is arguably the most infectious album from our list. The songs from ‘Oak, Ash & Thorn’ are massively enjoyable and if the songs from this album do not have you singing then you are dead inside.
06 – Lamenting of the Innocent
Sorcerer are back; the Swedish doomsters have done from strength to strength over the course of their three albums and this offering is no different. This is an immense album that just oozes panache. Epic. Doom. Metal.
05 – Black Sleep
We Sell the Dead
It isn’t doom metal, it isn’t hard rock, we’re not sure what it is, but fucking hell, it’s fantastic. ‘Black Sleep’ is a great album that deserves to be heard. There is an infectious quality to this album that means that it’s just so difficult to stop playing.
04 – Power Up
When it comes to drinking, shagging and rock n’ roll, AC/DC are the kings, and their latest album is no different. ‘Power Up’ is an album which is designed to play loud; it is easy to crank up and thoroughly enjoy with those big, sing-a-along chorus’ as Angus and co. take us on another trip down the highway to Hell. For those about to rock… we salute you!
03 – United $tate$ of Anarchy
It’s been nearly 30 years, but EvilDead are back with a cracking thrash album that takes a nihilistic view at the current political climate. This is Reagan-era thrash metal for a Trump generation, and it is this ferocity that earns it the bronze medal of 2020.
02 – Long Day Good Night
‘Long Day Good Night’ has Fates Warning reclaiming their progressive metal crown with this expansively beautiful album. It might clock in at well over an hour, but my God, it’s worth every minute.
01 – Titans of Creation
The Bay Area thrashers have continued their brutal streak of albums; ‘Titans of Creation’ is both heavy and catchy and for that reason it is the Metalheads Forever album of the year 2020. Chuck Billy, Gene Hoglan, Steve DiGiorgio, Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick are firing on all cylinders blending themes of war, mythology and questions of faith. Crank it up loud and make those speakers rattle your bones!