What a year this has been and mainly for all the wrong reasons, Presidential elections getting nasty, Governments making endless u-turns, Hollywood sex scandals, Royal Princes in disgrace, armed militia marching through streets, police brutality, racial tensions and a potentially lethal virus spreading like wildfire around the globe, however musically 2020 has been, what we call in Britain, an absolute corker! Musicians whether because of or despite of the virus have really stepped up to the plate this year and delivered killer albums/EP's with an almost factory line regularity, and its not just been the usual suspects who have delivered the goods, many of this years best releases have been debuts.
Here are 30 of Desert Psychlist's 2020 favorites, we could have easily stretched this out to 100 but time and space dictated that we kept things to a bite size portion. Of course you will have your own favorites from this strangest of years and your list may be completely different from ours but that is the beauty of music, one persons golden goose could well be another persons turkey, anyway here we go...
#30: El Rojo ~ El Diablo RojoWhen rocking on a heavy groove El Rojo attack like a phalanx of Roman Infantry, their raucous riffs and rhythms coming at you in waves of overwhelmingly punkish ferocity, however when they momentarily step off the gas and allow their Jekyll to overide their Hyde you find they are also a band who can surprise you with their subtlety and lightness of touch.
#29: Temple ~ Funeral PlanetIf your a fan of bands like Windhand, Haunted (Italy) and Electric Wizard then Temple's "Funeral Planet" is an album that will tick all of your relevant boxes, it is an album that trades on treacle thick doomic riffage and ponderous thundering rhythms but also one that has a few unexpected surprises concealed within its black clad sleeves.
#28: Planet of the Dead ~ Fear of a Dead PlanetBig sounding stoner metal from the land of the Maori, heavier and scarier than an All Black's front row dancing a Haka!
#27; Elder Druid ~ GolgothaElder Druid's mix of blackened sludge and doomic stoner metal is harsh , heavy and relentless which is three reasons why we love what they do...
#26: Superlord ~ Vs. GargantuanSolidly packed with everything that makes a great album, "Vs. Gargantuan" could well be considered one of the best albums to come out of the UK this year of our Lord 2020!
#25: Slomosa ~ SlomosaDesert rock from a band hailing from a country with no deserts, don't that let you be put off however because this is an album that captures the essence of sandy dunes and cactus better than some albums made by bands born into that environment.
#24 ; Gaupa ~ FeberdrömThese off the wall and unconventional Swedes deliver once again with Bjork-like vocals swooping and soaring over a mix of hard rock, psychedelic folk and heavy prog.
Absolutely essential listening!!!!!
This is a trip!
Cyprus' jewel in the stone(r) Arcadian Child return with their best yet, the band tapping into both their European and Middle- Eastern heritages to amaze and delight us with their lysergic laced grooviness.
"Under Acid Hoof" is a superb follow up to the bands debut "Acid Mammoth" and should go a long way to cementing their place as one of the leading lights on Athens burgeoning doom scene, now go tell the Spartans!
Concept albums are always a little hit or miss but Troll Teeth's "Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing" is all hit! This is a concept that tells its story just how you might read it from a book, easy to follow, full of the requisite villains and monsters that you would expect from a good tale but also with just the right amount of mystery and ambiguity to keep you guessing right up to the end.