December 23, 2020

Trevor Proctor's Top 25 Albums of 2020.


Year end lists aren't for everyone, as I've mentioned previously some love them and others hate them but whether you like them or not there's no doubt they are a useful way of hearing new music and maybe catching up on releases you've missed during the year.
2020 has been a challenging year for labels and artists for obvious reasons and with a lack of live gigs and delayed/postponed releases income has been even more limited for them - due to this it would be good if you could please follow the red links on this listing to support either the band or label if you like what you hear. As with all previous years existing ties have been bolstered and new ties forged and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every band, label and promoter who has supported The Lair of Filth in any way during the year. I would also like to thank Jude for continuing to trust me with the site.

As always I've tied three releases for the top spot - three albums that have remained unbeaten since their respective release dates. Also, the new Hate Forest album will feature on next year's listing as it's not released until the 25th of December.

2020 was the fifth consecutive year where I've been responsible for all posts here at The Lair of Filth and it gives me a lot of satisfaction seeing our readers and support grow at a very satisfying rate - so you, the reader have my eternal thanks for all your post reads, shares etc., it means everything to me so THANK YOU!! 
Thanks as always to my wife Audrey for sticking another years worth of abuse to her ears and also for being there for me, as always, through what's been a very strange year.

In addition to my Top 25 EP listing which is available here there will be also three guest album listings in the coming weeks which will feature PK from Iron Bonehead Productions, SS from Cyclopean Eye Productions and Alan Ripley, one of the underground's most dedicated supporters.   

23. Beast of RevelationThe Ancient Ritual of Death - Iron Bonehead Productions.

This is the first release from Beast of Revelation, a band which features none other than John McEntee from Incantation on vocals.

22. Hegemony Enthroned by PersecutionHells Headbangers Records.

Goatprayer Records was the first label to release music from Hegemony in 2016 when they brought us 'Demo MMXVI,' this is the first new music from Hegemony since then.

21. Skelethal Unveiling the ThresholdHells Headbangers Records.

French band Skelethal have had a fairly consistent output since their 'Morbid Ovation' demo in 2012, this is their second album and follow up to 2017's 'Of the Depths...'

20. CénotapheMonte Verità Nuclear War Now! ProductionsOssuaire Records.

Another debut, the press release described 'Monte Verità' as, " inarguably thorough work. With this album, Cénotaphe have achieved a composite whole greater than the sum of its parts, a masterful and brilliant album that exceeds the high expectations generated by the band’s previous releases."

19. Question Reflections of the Void Chaos Records.

Despite being formed in 2010 this is only Question's second album - follow up to 2014's debut, 'Doomed Passages.'

18. Sanctifying Ritual -  Sanctifying Ritual - Iron Bonehead Productions.

Another debut album, and one that continues to impress with subsequent listens.

17. Abyssfire -  The Raging Hearts of HellRidge ov Dragon.

Debut from Russia's Abyssfire, and a release that fully deserves either a CD and / or LP version to be released - featuring member's of Vhorthax.

16. Blasphamagoatachrist -  Bastardizing the Purity  - Nuclear War Now! Productions.

One of 2020's most anticipated releases, 'Bastardizing the Purity' is the debut album from Blasphamagoatachrist - features a wealth of experience as members are involved in bands such as Goatpenis, Blasphemy and Antichrist.

15. Acherontas Psychic Death - The Shattering of PerceptionsAgonia Records.

Eighth album from one of the underground's most dedicated bands, Acherontas.

14. Shezmu - À travers les lambeauxKrucyator Productions.

Krucyator Productions continues to go from strength to strength, and they easily remain one of the underground's most consistent labels with a perfect balance between re-issues and original material. Yet another debut, and another worthy of many listens. The press release for 'À travers les lambeaux' featured here.

13. Perdition TempleSacraments of DescensionHells Headbangers Records.

Third album from Perdition Temple with the press release stating, "The power-trio format is almost too perfect for Perdition Temple, as they peal off with precision one surging, contorting attack after another, their crush chaotic yet controlled; one could easily argue that Sacraments of Descension is the sound of the band at their tightest. Not to be outdone, ever, Palubicki puts on a clinic of demented soloing here, his demonic six-string conjurings invoking a hysteria that would be Hell personified if not for the preternatural grace he displays across those very, bloodstained strings (he also assumes vocal duties again, as he did for Edict of the Antichrist Elect).

12. Mutilate Rotting in Eternity's HellIron Bonehead Productions /  Dawning Septic Productions.

I had the privilege to host the exclusive album premier here at the start of October. This is the third full length for Mutilate and follow up to 2019's 'Contagium.'

11. Khthoniik Cerviiks - Æquiizoiikum Iron Bonehead Productions.

Highly anticipated second album and follow up to 2015's 'SeroLogiikal Scars (Vertex of Dementiia)' from Khthoniik Cerviiks. The press release featured here, describing Æquiizoiikum - "All the elements from previous recordings - including their now-classic Heptaedrone demo, released in 2013 by Iron Bonehead and thereby starting the onslaught of oddness - are accounted for here, but taken in a more stately and daresay "mature" direction. The startling poise is more pronounced, the songs dig their hooks deeper, the "metal" in their black/death METAL simultaneously emphasized and abstracted, the gnarliness more graceful, the confidence simply off the charts here...truly, no one sounds like Khthoniik Cerviiks, now more than ever."

10. Incantation Sect of Vile Divinities - Relapse Records.

Incantation remains one of the most consistent, and prolific Death Metal bands of all time - this is their twelfth full length album and one that serves to cement their dominance of Death Metal even further.

9. Of Feather and BoneSulfuric DisintegrationProfound Lore Records.

I had the pleasure of seeing Of Feather and Bone live when they supported Tomb Mold and Ritual Necromancy on a European tour in 2019. This is their third album and one that blew me away from the first listen, and continues to do so! (Also released on cassette by Desiccated Productions)

8. Bloodsoaked Necrovoid Expelled into the Unknown Depths of the Unfathomable  - Iron Bonehead Productions.

Another debut album, this time from Costa Rica's Bloodsoaked Necrovoid. The press release for this described it as "Aptly fucking titled, Expelled into the Unknown Depths of the Unfathomable is the no-hope/no-fun churn of sepulchral doom-death turned completely inside out. More crushingly suffocating than previous recordings and yet somehow emitting a massive sense of space that punctures through the veil of complete atmosphere."

7. Akhlys Melinoë Debemur Morti Productions.

Akhlys' third album, and follow up to 2015's 'The Dreaming I.'

6. Death EpochAbysmal InvocationPutrid Cult.

For me Death Epoch's debut was one of 2020's surprise albums. Death Epoch features Lord K who has performed in a number of underground bands including Deathvasstator & Nekkrofukk along with Morgul who is the owner of the excellent Polish label Putrid Cult. This release also features a number of guest musicians including Mark of the Devil from Cultes Des Ghoules and Kris Stanley from Sinistrous Diabolus. The press release featured here and described the release as, "combining dark 'n' deranged elements of black metal, death metal, and war metal with ritual ambient and industrial noise. A bold fusion for such a new band, but one that's haunting and suffocating in equal measures..."

5. Necrobode Sob o Feitiço do NecrobodeIron Bonehead Productions.

For me this is definitely on of 2020's hidden gems as it's an album that hasn't been receiving the attention it deserves. 'Sob o Feitiço do Necrobode' is another fantastic debut and the press release for it appeared here  - "In many ways, Necrobode's debut LP simply intensifies their demo's firm 'n' filthy foundation - pulsing bestiality, clanging riffery, FX-drenched vomits from the abyss - and threads these ten tracks into a haunting tapestry of dungeonic catatonia. But, rising from that muck (and often) are very-nearly-melodic phrases that instill just the right amount of catchiness..."

4. Siege Column - Darkside Legions - Nuclear War Now! Productions.

Darkside Legions is Siege Column's second album and follow up to their 2018 debut album, 'Inferno Deathpassion.' The press release perfectly described Darkside Legions - "What you have here, instead, is advanced songwriting, better vocal delivery, and savage energy across the board. Siege Column focused on solely making a great metal album that balances being unique and remaining familiar. That balance, combined with the band’s complete disregard for what their peers are doing, resulted in a unique record that is totally unlike what you hear in the “overground” metal world.
Siege Column represent evil metal before subgenres put every style into a box and the period before there were clear lines of what extreme thrash could sound like. One listen of  Darkside Legions will make you understand that this is the kind of album you can put on and accidentally crash your car to."

3. Revenge Strike.Smother.Dehumanize Season of Mist Underground Activists.

First full length from Revenge since 2015's Behold Total Rejection. The only other release from Revenge since 2015 was their 2018 EP, 'Deceiver​.​Diseased​.​Miasmic' which featured at number seven on my EP listing for that year.

2. Dearthe -  Dispirited Obscurity - Bloodforge.

This is the debut album from Dearthe whose membership includes IV from Temple Nightside and Funerary Torch along with Mordance the vocalist with Vesicant and Paroxysmal Descent
'Dispirited Obscurity' was also recorded and mixed by IV. This is definitely an album that some may have missed and one that is worthy of  your support. When I first heard it I was very close to having four releases tied for number one but, even for me that would have been a bit much, so I made the very difficult decision to place this at number two. The final track is a cover of Demoncy's 'Hypocrisy of the Accursed Heavens.' 
Also worthy of note is the illustration and design for this release are the creation of  Graven Graphics.

1. Nyogthaeblisz Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation - Hells Headbangers.

As mentioned in my Top 25 album listing last year, this debut album from Nyogthaeblisz is being featured in this listing as it was released at the end of December 2019 and at the time of writing my album list there were no copies available. Despite being formed in 2002 this is the debut album from Nyogthaeblisz - the press release for 'Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation' appeared here and stated, "For many years, few bands approached the smothering intensity of Nyogthaeblisz. Now, after Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation, none will be able to eclipse their revolutionary artistry and sheer uncompromising spirit. Here stands a new monument, a veritable modern classic in the making."

1. Removed

1. Temple NightsidePillars of DamnationIron Bonehead Productions.

Temple Nightside continues to go from strength to strength  and is easily one of the underground's greatest ever bands. Temple Nightside has appeared a number of times here at The Lair of Filth - their 2016 album 'The Hecatomb' was placed at number two on my Top 25 list for that year and their 2018 release 'Recondemnation' was placed at number one my Top 25 album listing. In addition to this their 2019 demo 'Damnation' was placed at joint number one on my demo listing for that year.
The press release for 'Pillars of Damnation' was published here stating, "For where so much nowadays "cavernous death metal" slathers on lazy glazes of half-formed riff masquerading as "atmosphere," this Oz cult instead write RIFFS and their intensity has subsequently sharpened to a stultifying degree, lending a certain clarity to that evil that's even more intimidating. In short, Temple Nightside are death metal necromancy of the highest order, more so now than ever - and forever shall they reign. Behold their Pillars of Damnation and pay fealty before your inevitable burial."

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