The top 30 albums of 2020

Presenting a collection of gems found within the momentous year.

Illustration by Noah C. Meihoff

It's been a week from the release of our top 30 album covers of 2020 list and we're thrilled to have seen our yearly collection of visual endeavors introduce many to a kaleidoscope of offerings. However, said endeavors wouldn't be complete without the compositions they represent and today, we bring you our selections for this year's best on the musical front.

In a historic year of uncertainty and continuous struggle, music proved itself otherwise and presented countless amounts of treasure to dive into. From frenzied riffs to transcendental atmospheres, musicians brought their best and the below list stands as a brief taste of the quality we received from across the musical spectrum. Compiling the 30 selections was no easy task and we'd be remiss not to mention the vast amount of picks we had to choose from, but sacrifices had to be made. After much deliberation, our writing team has come to a united front to present our choices for this year's elite.

Here are the top 30 albums of 2020:

30. Freeways - True Bearings (Temple of Mystery Records) | Listen

Cover art by Wayne DeAdder

29. Mare Cognitum/Spectral Lore - Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine (I, Voidhanger Records) | Listen

Cover art by Elijah Tamu

28. Nekrovault - Totenzug: Festering Peregrination (Van Records) | Listen

Cover art by Misanthropic Art

27. City of Industry - False Flowers (Amerikan Aesthetics) | Listen

Cover art by Ossa Humiliata

26. Cryptodira - The Angel of History (Good Fight Music) | Listen

Cover art by Adam Burke

25. Wake - Devouring Ruin (Translation Loss Records) | Listen

Cover art by Alexandre Goulet

24. Soft Kill - Dead Kids, R.I.P. City (Cercle Social Records) | Listen

Cover photo by Megan Tvedt

23. Midnight - Rebirth by Blasphemy (Metal Blade Records) | Listen

Cover art by William Lacey

22. Calligram - The Eye is the First Circle (Prosthetic Records) | Listen

Cover art by Jaime Silveira

21. Xibalba - Años en Infierno (Southern Lord Records) | Listen

Cover art by Dan Seagrave

20. Regarde Les Hommes Tomber - Ascension (Season of Mist) | Listen

Cover art by Førtifem

19. Sumac - May You Be Held (Thrill Jockey Records) | Listen

Cover art by Aaron Turner

18. Faceless Burial - Speciation (Dark Descent Records) | Listen

Cover art by Xavier Irvine

17. Caustic Wound - Death Posture (Profound Lore Records) | Listen

Cover art by Jonathan Bauerle

16. Currents - The Way It Ends (Sharptone Records) | Listen

Cover art by Adam Burke

15. Black Curse - Endless Wound (Sepulchral Voice Records) | Listen

"One of 2020's most gloriously unhinged, relentless and demanding releases that continues to push the boundary lines further in what is possible within the concept of black metal. Driving blasts and intense riffing manage to merge death metal and war metal influences into a pounding, psychotic episode that span the course of this entire album. Gripping you at times with a deadly mid-tempo groove, only to then to take a trippy, psych-out left turn the next, 'Endless Wound' is a dizzying display of dark art." - Rohan (@manvsplaylist)

Cover art by Denis Forkas

14. Draconian - Under A Godless Veil (Napalm Records) | Listen

"Seven full-lengths in and it's ever evident that DRACONIAN have truly mastered the art of melancholy. 'Under A Godless Veil' is the blueprint for said mastery, enveloping listeners in from the gloomy elegance of opener 'Sorrow of Phobia' to the thunderous growls of closer 'Ascend into Darkness'. Put simply, this is gothic doom the way it was meant to be played." - Luis Flores (@heaviestofart)

Cover art by Natalia Drepina

13. Katatonia - City Burials (Peaceville Records) | Listen

"This is one for the end-of-year list that refuses to compromise on both form and grace. It's a peacock in a line-up of crows that comes at a time when there's fear and fury around every corner, but not a glimpse of beauty or somber solitude in sight. KATATONIA has risen from the depths with a record of repose in this ocean of chaos and they demand your attention." - Jake Sanders (@themetalscholar)

Cover art by Beech

12. Paysage d’Hiver - Im Wald (Kunsthall Produktionen) | Listen

"This two hour long beast of a record is one of the iciest things I’ve ever heard. After numerous listens, I still don’t think I like it quite as much as Das Tor, but two hours of music from one of my favorite projects ever is an easy sell." - Ryan McCarthy (@ryanxvx_)

Cover art by Joanna Maeyens

11. Paradise Lost - Obsidian (Nuclear Blast Records) | Listen

"With 'Obsidian', the kings of gothic doom returned to meld all eras of their vast catalog into a defining statement that complements an already immortal discography. The band have gone through many different styles and it is on Obsidian where even the parts of albums you don’t like ('Host' fans rise up) are able to be put on display as worthy matches to the timeless works of a band who have remained timeless throughout their tenure." - Tyson Tillotson (@tytilly)

Cover art by Adrian Baxter

10. Perdition Temple - Sacraments of Descension (Hells Headbangers Records) | Listen

"Stemming from the mind of Angelcorpse's Gene Palubicki, PERDITION TEMPLE is a force that knows no bounds in terms of extremity. Like the Daniel Corcuera cover it sports, 'Sacraments of Descension' is as violent and sadistic as you'd expect, bursting forth with a display of malicious riffs and solos to die for. For as great as death metal has been, it's records like 'Sacraments of Descension' that put the subgenre on a pedestal." - Luis Flores (@heaviestofart)

Cover art by Daniel Corcuera

9. Myrkur - Folkesange (Relapse Records) | Listen

"Surprisingly, my most listened-to record this year isn’t even black metal. It’s genre-adjacent, at least. MYRKUR’s collection of brooding, sometimes depressing Nordic folk songs is a perfect soundtrack for pretty much anything I’m doing." - Ryan McCarthy (@ryanxvx_)

Cover art by Hans Dahl

8. Necrot - Mortal (Tankcrimes) | Listen

"2017's 'Blood Offerings' did more than take the death metal underground by storm, it took NECROT across the pond and into the Billboard charts, speaking to the talents lying within the band