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12.30.20 2020 A(s)OTY: Top 1012.16.20 2020 A(s)OTY: Top 5
10.14.20 6 Favourite LPs of 2019

2020 A(s)OTY: Top 10

Okay, so with some of the late releases and discoveries I had to refine my personal A(s)oTY list. 2020 had a good number of surprises near the end, and I want to give those releases the proper justice and acknowledgement relative to my previous list. This does mean the ordering and ranking has changed.
Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face
9Chamber (US)
Cost of Sacrifice

Fun, dense, and feels like a throwback into 90s metalcore with death metal riffs and the odd dissonance akin to a crossing of post-hardcore and sludge. Production is definitely dense, feeling like a hot, dry, dark room or a live show in someone's basement. Little progressive metal vibes too (think Horrendous without atmosphere/reverb).
8Blood From The Soul

I had zero expectations and really only found out this was going to drop about a month beforehand. Big dark horse (kill me) of the year for me. While Bannon's work on Umbra Vitae was nice, this is really nice to see him on and the dystopian story that is painted in this album is super immersive, real, and gritty.
The Suns of Perdition - Chapter II

So fucking good.
6Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou
May Our Chambers Be Full

BOOOOOM. Best Collaboration in the last few years.
5Palm Reader

So fucking good. I feel these guys are outside/around so many genres, which is one reason why I love them. I really appreciate how they focus so closely on dynamics and instrumentation. I got some major Circa Survive vibes in certain areas, some Thrice in others, and overall the entire identity of what Palm Reader is.
4Run the Jewels

Probably my most played LP of the year. Wow. Hits everything and the production never fails.

Wow. If I had more time with this I would probably move it up another notch, but I am happy with the placement of Akhlys new LP. Evil and lovely; 5 songs, discernable and memorable, in 46 minutes. The execution of and on this album is excellent, starting with art and list tracking and moving into the instrumentation and mixing. Highly recommend.
Fail To Be

I don't think I had listened to a proper Yashira record until now. This was a huge surprise and I had spun it probably 5 times in the first week it dropped. Sludgy post-metal that fits nicely alongside other hardcore bands. I like to think of it as a less hectic and more atmospheric (in terms of guitars) version of Gaza/Cult Leader. Definitely some shared space with Inter Arma and Deathspell Omega too. Love it.
1The Ocean
Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic

Progressive post-metal wins. I felt all of these albums represented this year really well and this album, for me, is the best representation and musical execution of that. This album is hard to top as it is heavy, approachable, and scientifically-rooted in a way that can disperse to a massive audience.
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