As 2020 thankfully comes to a close, the year is ending with a collection of strong metal releases. Our best of 2020 list is coming next month, and you’ll certainly see an album or two from this month’s list also make an appearance there. Here are our choices for November 2020’s best heavy metal albums.
1. Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron (No Remorse)
On Ravening Iron, Texas based epic metal collective Eternal Champion pick up right where they left off with their 2016 debut The Armor of Ire. As epic heavy metal has picked steam in recent years, Eternal Champion remain a torchbearer for the current state of the genre that includes Visigoth, Smoulder, Sumerlands and Atlantean Kodex among other recent bands.
Exploding out of the gate with “A Face In The Glare” lead singer Jason Tarpey fits the mold of the genre very well, bonus points for his barks from his time fronting Texas crossover legends Iron Age. The title track absolutely brings the trademark energy to the album, fast and furious riffs, epic soaring vocals and solos for days, true to form. From a purely heavy metal standpoint Ravening Iron is one of the best the genre has produced in 2020.
2. Killer Be Killed – Reluctant Hero (Nuclear Blast)
The term supergroup is an overused one, but in Killer Be Killed‘s case, it is completely appropriate. Six years after their debut, Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan), Troy Sanders (Mastodon) return with Reluctant Hero. It’s the first album for drummer Ben Koller (Converge), who joined the band shortly after the release of their self-titled debut.
The three vocalists complement each other very well, from Cavalera’s distinctive guttural style to Sanders’ gritty melodic croon to Puciato’s versatility, all anchored by Koller’s rock solid drumming. There are some extremely catchy songs like “Left Of Center” alongside more aggressive numbers such as “Filthy Vagabond” and lengthier, more intricate tracks like “From A Crowded Wound.” The album concludes with the mostly mellow and introspective title track. The chemistry between Killer Be Killed’s members is evident, able to mesh their considerable skills into a powerful collective.
3. Of Feather And Bone –Sulfuric Disintegration (Profound Lore)
More of a refinement than a major leap ahead, Sulfuric Disintegration has Of Feather And Bone raise the ante of their bestial death metal thanks to a beefier production and a svelte 30-minute running time. The trio maintain a peak level of intensity from opener “Regurginated Communion” on, keeping the attack going with the exception of the wrenching mid-tempo beatdown in the center of “Noctemnania.”
Those who heard the band’s last album, 2018’s equally brutal Bestial Hymns Of Perversion, will quickly adjust to the punishing nature of Sulfuric Disintegration. First-time listeners may need a song or two to get accustomed to the onslaught, but it gets easier as the album wears on. Of Feather And Bone have evolved quite a bit since their hardcore punk days, and Sulfuric Disintegration is the best representation of their sonic devastation to date.
4. Communic – Hiding From The World (AFM)
After a six year gap between The Bottom Deep and Where Echoes Gather, there was only three years in between that one and the Norwegian progressive/power metal trio Communic‘s latest effort, Hiding From The World.
Like previous Communic albums, this one has lengthy songs, with several approaching ten minutes. Each track has several twists and turns, incorporating influences of genres ranging from trad to groove to doom alongside the core of power and prog. Songs like the opener “Plunder Of Thoughts” and “Face In The Crowd” have some really heavy moments along with melody and groove. Mellower and progressive influences are at the forefront of songs such as “Hiding From The World,” but heaviness rears its head at times as well. There’s never a dull moment on Hiding From The World along with lyrics that deal with what we leave behind as a legacy when we die.
5. Megaton Sword – Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire (Dying Victims)
Megaton Sword are a new band out of Switzerland, but you’d never guess it listening to their debut full-length. Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire is heavy, epic metal that sounds as though it’s being played by seasoned vets. These guys could slot right into a concert lineup with the likes of Manowar and Manilla Road if this was 1983, or Atlantean Kodex today.
Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire is one of the most heroic metal albums we will hear this year. In your face production, dramatic vocals, crushing riffs, and a pummeling rhythm section bring all eight songs into stark focus. This album is the very definition of anthemic, with each song coaxing fists even higher into the sky, and heads banging even harder.
6. Pyramaze – Epitaph (AFM)
Danish progressive power-metallers Pyramaze have been through a few vocalist changes over the years (anyone remember the Matt Barlow album? Well he and original singer Lance King return here on the final track), but here on their sixth release, Epitaph, the lineup remains unchanged since the band reconvened in 2015. This is the current group’s third album together, and they have a lot to live up to, as Disciples of the Sun and Contingent were excellent releases.
Thankfully, Epitaph maintains that streak, with the perfect blend of power metal and progressive arrangements. Producer Jacob Hansen (who also plays in the band) lends the album its requisite force and clarity. A stunning contribution from Unleash the Archer’s Brittney Slayes on “Transcendence” and a sneaky tip of the hat to “Bohemian Rhapsody” in “Final Hour” are just a couple of neat features on an overall very strong prog-power release.
Other 2020 Monthly Best Metal Albums Lists
January 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
February 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
March 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
April 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
May 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
June 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
July 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
August 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
September 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums
October 2020 Best Heavy Metal Albums