Metal Awards

Goat's Top 15 albums of 2020

  1. Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi
    A remarkable deep, dark trip, the Finns have outdone themselves. Madness made aural; the album of 2020!
  2. Deftones - Ohms
    Steven Carpenter not believing that the earth is flat can't stop this record from being better on every listen. Remarkable work, the finest mainstream metal album of the year.
  3. Monolithe - Okta Khora
    Progressive doom takes more steps beyond the gates of infinity thanks to these talented Frenchmen.
  4. Defeated Sanity - The Sanguinary Impetus
    Distilling aural violence as purely and perfectly as a blood-spattered polar bear ripping the guts out of a seal, this jazz-infused death metal is the thrill of nature itself.
  5. Hail Spirit Noir - Eden in Reverse
    Psych-prog glory. Some moods would have had this at the top instead of Oranssi Pazuzu
  6. Psychotic Waltz - The God-Shaped Hole
    Now this is a reunion worth celebrating, and a fine album. Older, and wiser, and a great addition to a fascinating back catalogue, that I hope to focus on soon.
  7. Winterfylleth - The Reckoning Dawn
    The best yet from the reactionary black metallers
  8. Deep Purple - Whoosh!
    Old dogs, old tricks, but they still sound so good. A lovely album, to be savoured like hot wine on a cold wintry night.
  9. Napalm Death - Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
    The grandfathers of grind continue to impress and invigorate even so deep in their career.
  10. Pain of Salvation - Panther
    An album that initially repulsed drew me in and in, and I love it. Still very flawed, but there are moments of such all too human beauty that overcome it.
  11. Benighted - Obscene Repressed
    Yes, it has a song called Mom, I Love You the Wrong Way. And yes, it's ridiculously good regardless (or because of!)
  12. Judicator - Let There Be Nothing
    Not my favourite genre, when all is said and done, but this is the power metal album of the year, with choruses that stay lodged in your head long after listening.
  13. Paradise Lost - Obsidian
    The doom veterans prove why they're so good. Up your game, My Dying Bride!
  14. Armored Saint - Punching the Sky
    A late entry, but a tremendous one from these consistently great Californians. Redefining Bush-league!
  15. Abigor - Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook)
    Another late entry, but rapidly becoming an obsession.
Goat's Top 5 surprises of 2020

  1. Bismarck - Oneiromancer
    Esoteric doom done right!
  2. Code Orange - Underneath
    Literal glitchcore, but not, you know, terrible...
  3. Earth Rot - Black Tides of Obscurity
    Death metal deliciousness, a name to remember
  4. Lik - Misanthropic Breed
    Swedeath insanity. So good.
  5. Godsticks - Inescapable
    Modern prog done right
Goat's Disappointment(s) of 2020

  1. Ihsahn - Pharos (EP)
    A very rare let-down from a guy who normally can do anything. Let's hope normality returns soon.
  2. Metallica - S&M2
    Nowhere near the original. A real missed goal.
  3. Nightwish - Human. :||: Nature.
    Double-albums can be great. This isn't.
Goat's Joke(s) 2020

Goat's words about 2020
  1. Although my love for this site and writing in general has waxed and waned over the years, I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to do it at the best of times. And across this past year as the Plague Angels tormented us all, it has been a godsend to be able to shut the world out, listen to some tunes, and try and rustle up a few hundred or so words about them. Reviews rarely work as intended, especially in this age of the internet where it's probably simpler and easier to listen to the album yourself than read the likes of me trying to make sense of it. If you're here, if you're reading these words, it's because you share something with me - a deep interest in and love for music in its own right, as an artform, and you enjoy experiencing differing perspectives on it. Bob Dylan, I think, came up with "don't criticise what you don't understand", and few of us involved with this site, if any, can claim that we understand what it takes to write, perform, record, and release even a demo tape, let alone an entire album. We can't appreciate the passion and time and energy that each musician has put into making music even before the Plague Angels and associated lockdowns made it more difficult. All we can do is approach the finished article and judge it on its own merits, with as objective an eye (and ear) as possible, as difficult as that can be. And as Churchill himself pointed out, criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. And although the great man was perhaps not referring to some jabroni on a website telling melodeath bands that they're using too many keyboards, if our words can correct a wayward drift, then terrific. Speaking for myself, at least, I am far more interested in building than tearing down, and enjoy relishing in the innards of a good album far more than complaining about a bad one. And even if this all just serves as another way to say "hey dudes, check this radical new release out!" then that's great too, because a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled. I hope you have had half as much pleasure from reading my, and others', writing in this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, however you and your loved ones are managing to celebrate the season. May next year see us free of the Plague Angels' shackles and full of life, love, and happiness. And, duh, kickass metal records. My thanks and eternal comradeship to Alex, Andy and the others; it's been a far better thirteen years than it would have been were I not part of this small but devoted team. RIP – Neil Peart, Sean Malone, Sean Reinert, Ken Hensley, Eddie Van Halen, Riley Gale, Frankie Banali, Martin Birch, Bob Kulick, Sean Connery, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Diana Rigg, Chadwick Boseman, Regis Philbin, Ennio Morricone, Carl Reiner, Ian Holm, Fred Willard, Jerry Stiller, Max von Sydow, and of course, Little Richard!