With 2020 drawing to a close this seems like a good enough time to discuss our favourite’s of 2020 but with a small twist, what’s the best release you heard this year?
With how hard 2020 has been there haven’t been an awful lot of releases so for example you can choose some obscure album from 1998, a compilation, a live release etc, as long as it was a release you listened to this year.
My 2020 pick is Develop One’s Faculties Inverse Reverse. NGL going in to this I knew I would enjoy it, they’ve definitely crafted their own sound and this album doesn’t disappoint, it tries a few new things that work for the most part but it doesn’t quite have the same energy or freshness that their previous albums had, still a strong release though.
On the other side, this is the year I checked out Laputa and their album 絵～エマダラ～斑. I’ve been meaning to get in to older VK for a long time and this is a great release, I do find the vocals are a bit nasally but it adds to the charm and the songs feel so well written and unique, catchy but enough about it to keep me surprised and interested.
I usually don’t reply to these topics until the year is over so I even might change my mind (which’s not too likely though, I guess).
Talking about music I listened to this year in general I’d mention the last three Gazette albums which are still my favorite.
Talking about a release that was new to me in 2020 but released before I don’t know what to put. I’m not even sure, if there was anything than maybe a single song I listened to but I can’t recall a whole release (even if it was a single).
When it comes to releases from 2020 itself I didn’t listen to many at all. I tried out several previews but I guess I didn’t get to the releases itself later or just listened once but didn’t settle for a real opinion yet.
That’s why I put DaizyStripper’s INFINITY album because I loved that one immediately (just from the previews) and still listen to some of the songs until now (the album was released in January). I love their music anyway but for several years their albums had to grow on me while this one just knocked my socks off.
DEXCORE’'s full-length “metempsychosis”.
I don’t listen to much Japanese music these days, but I really liked “NO” by Boris. It goes hard and really leans into their stoner rock/punk sound.
On the non-Japanese spectrum these are contenders for best albums in 2020 for me:
- Rina Sawayama - Sawayama
- The Breathing Effect - Photosynthesis
@ghost Seconded! The album Sawayama was really good!
For music I’ve listened to in general, I’ve rediscovered the group, move, and their album, Operation Overload 7. Brings back many great nostalgic memories!
For VK releases, I’ve really enjoyed Nicolas’ Umbra album and vistlip’s mini-album, 9. I also liked D=out’s album (Mandala A), although I haven’t listened to it much.
I didn’t listen too many visual kei stuffs this year, hell, we have to admit vk scene is nearly dead sigh.
so I’d like to pick others. my number one band of the year is “Make Them Die Slowly” since I’m also a corekid and metalhead.
FFO: Anaal Nathrakh
melodic death metal+metalcore+black metal elements+random experimental stuffs = masterpiece, for me at least. genre porridge isn’t rare, it happens a lot in Japan e.g. MUCC, Dir en Grey, etc. but it’s kinda rare in general metal scene. Anaal Nathrakh is nearly the first one I’ve ever appreciated much like I did with Dir en Grey.
I think this year I like the album of ZIGZAG ni ~Matenchi~ (慈愚挫愚 弐 ~真天地~) from
Shintenchi Kaibyakushudan Zigzag
Their musical style is very fresh, bring a new feel to visual kei
For me it’s MEME - 虚空を満たすエーテル.
Such a cool mini-album
Two releases for me
tricot released two albums and they are both great, but this is the one I listed to the most
This EP by Asunojokei arrived just in time to make into my best of 2020 list. Didn’t see my self enjoying post-black metal but it’s simply phenomenal
Despite everything I´ve heard this year, Lynch´s Ultima takes the cake. What a complete 180 after XIII. Liked most of the Ultima despite not even being big Lynch. fan (started from Avantgarde).
2020 in vk was disappointing for me not just because of the lack of releases but because of disappointments from bands that I actually liked.
That said there was some japanese stuff I liked. Sorry if this post is too long
VK and J-rock :
- The Thirteen - Enigma and Silence II
^^memento mori leading into Saezuru Ame… is the best back to back vk pair I heard this year
- Dimlim - Misc << controversial choice but I liked it quite a lot with the exception of a few tracks
- Slothreat - Themis
- Labaiser - Ankoku ni…
- Aimer - Hana no Uta / I Beg You / Haru wa Yuku << I Beg you is 10/10
- Harumaki Gohan - Futari no
- Reol - Kinjitou << electropop greatness
Vocaloid (I go through this phase every 3 or so years)
- Kairiki Bear Remix Album - Venoma
- Okamep - Purification
^^really great vocaloid metal and there’s a strange story surrounding it’s release
- Kurosu’s stuff using Neutrino AI singers <<is this tHe FUtUrE ?
- Giga’s handful of bangers
Wow, Wishes is a HUGE improvement from their 1st album. I couldn’t much get past the screams on that one and have since been sleeping on these guys.
This one has the ferocity of Russian post black metal bands. Good rec.
On the VK side I loved the new DIMLIM album is different but IMO is an improvement. I hated that metalcore-alternative music they did.
On the wester-rock side “confess” released a solid glam rock album, the swedes are really crushing it.
Ah, yes. DIMLIM and Reol. <3
Strangely, the screaming is what attracted me to them. In Wishes though, it was a fantastic idea to put the screaming in the background and let the instruments shine.
Damn, this is a hard one for me. I’m honestly going to have to go with DIMLIM’s MISC or Develop One’s Faculties’ Inverse Reverse.
The number one best album I listened to this year was Dexcore’s Metempsychosis, to be sure. However, David’s Goth Culture singles blew me away as well. VK didn’t do too much for me this year, unfortunately, and even American rock let me down. I love American and Japanese Pop too, though. Halsey, Koda Kumi, Kylie Minogue, Miley Cyrus… and many other pop albums really saved the year. I’m hoping that we can get really good VK releases in 2021, though.
I don’t know if you’re into Korean pop but If you haven’t checked out BoA’s new album “Better” I highly recommend it. Truly the best Korean pop album to come out this year.
From Japanese music, Outrage’s “Run Riot” album. For those unfamiliar, Naoki the vocalist, sang in Guilty Gear soundtracks. They’ve always pumped good thrash metal, but this album gave me special feel to it. Like a 2nd golden era for Outrage.
Now to the Western:
Victorius - Space Ninjas From Hell
Shakra - Mad World
Primal Fear - Metal Commando
Brothers of Metal - Emblas Saga
Firewind - S/T
Oh god yea! BoA is an all-time favorite for me. Better was a great album, Cut Me Off and Start Over are my top there.