I asked the staff at Metal Injection to contribute their five favorite albums of 2020 so far with brief words why they picked them. The staff (and their picks) have been sorted in alphabetical order. Everything selected is from the very first day of the year to this past Friday. The world is in shambles and I hope that we can find even the slightest shred of solace in the music we love. That's why we decided to share our picks, we'd love to hear yours.
However, retreating to headphones and listening to the same albums repeatedly doesn't fix this world or the communities we live in. It's time to take action. Speak out against injustice, actively work to educate those who do not understand the gravity of the situations we live in. Heavy metal is cool, but equality and a world without a lethal virus are cooler. Wear a mask and remember that black lives matter.
Additionally, I implore any black or other people of color who are writers and love heavy music to reach out to me so they can contribute their words and stories to Metal Injection. We greatly would appreciate your voice, your thoughts, and your talent. My email is [email protected] and you can find me on Twitter or Instagram.
Here are charities to donate to amid the COVID-19 and police brutality pandemics:
Black Lives Matter Global Network
American Civil Liberties Union
Elijah McClain Memorial Fund (his killers are still at large)
Justice for Breonna Taylor (her killers are still at large)
National Bail Fund Network
Black Trans Advocacy Coalition COVID-19 Community Response Grant
The Okra Project
The Marshall Project
Doctors Without Borders
There are many more as well. Here is a great link to a list of other charities.
Writer of The Weekly Injection
AZUSA Loop of Yesterdays
The sophomore effort from the ex-Extol, ex-Dillinger Escape Plan, Sea + Air collective hits as hard as their debut and sees the band exploring a lot of new territories. They are once again melodic and chaotic. Rhythms are quirky and tonal shifts are sudden and the entire experience is delightfully jarring. I’m stoked that this band is now more than a one-off thing, and very excited for the future.
Listen to "Loop of Yesterdays."
INTRONAUT Fluid Existential Inversions
From the opening notes of the first single “Cubensis,” I had a hunch that they guys were coming back swinging on this one. And boy howdy, was I right. There is an added energy to the sludgy progsters this time around. Said energy could be drums by the mighty Alex Rüdinger, or it could just be a half-decade of silence (and, drummer drama stuff). Regardless, this is easily my favorite from this band. It will also always hold a bittersweet spot in my heart because Intronaut playing an all too brief set of songs from this album was (probably) the last set I saw this year.
Listen to Fluid Existential Inversions in its entirety.
OZZY OSBOURNE Ordinary Man
I’ve loved the music of Ozzy Osbourne most of my life. Black Sabbath are my favorite band ever with the first eight albums (yes all eight) holding a special place in my heart. Then the first song I learned to play on bass was “Crazy Train.” This is all to say I am aware of my bias and the nostalgia tied up in this album for me. Still, I can say trying to be as objective as I can that Andrew Watt, Duff McKagan, and Chad Smith put an album together that’s very different from any of Ozzy’s other records. This has wonderfully absurd guests like Elton John and Post Malone, and while I don’t think this is the best Ozzy album I do keep coming back to it. It’s just so much fun, and I missed that from him.
Listen to "Straight to Hell."
PROTEST THE HERO Palimpsest
I know I’m supposed to be aware that there’s still another six months of contenders ahead of this post, but I could already see this topping my list for the year. These guys have had a hell of a time to get to this album, but it’s the mightiest return of the year. Hyper melodic, super technical, and surprisingly political. A perfect record.
Listen to "Gardenias."
PURE REASON REVOLUTION Eupnea
Other than the first band I mentioned, there seems to be a trend of the acts I highlight taking a long time between records. It’s been a decade since PRR released an album, and their reunion is not one I expected, let alone new music from it. Eupnea is a comeback reminiscent of their debut album, The Dark Third, but if you mixed it with both maturity and the freedom the experiment more than ever. I missed this band so much.
Listen to "Silent Genesis."