BravePicks 2020 - The Scribes Speak! Paul Stenning

January 13, 2021, 2 years ago

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BravePicks 2020 - The Scribes Speak! Paul Stenning

BravePicks 2020 - The Scribes Speak!
Paul Stenning

Top 20 Of 20
1) BRITISH LION - The Burning (Explorer1)
2) DEAD KOSMONAUT - Gravitas (High Roller)
3) EVILDEAD - United $tate$ Of Anarchy (SPV/Steamhammer)
4) PYOGENESIS - A Silent Soul Screams Loud (AFM)
5) PRIMAL FEAR - Metal Commando (Nuclear Blast)
6) ACCUSER – Accuser (Metal Blade)
7) WISHBONE ASH - Coat of Arms (SPV/Steamhammer)
8) GOD DETHRONED - Illuminati (Metal Blade)
9) ANNIHILATOR - Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining)
10) ARMORED SAINT - Punching The Sky (Metal Blade)
11) GREEN CARNATION - Leaves Of Yesteryear (Season Of Mist)
12) HEATHEN – Empire of the Blind (Nuclear Blast)
13) THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX - Scorpio (Tee Pee)
14) MORTA SKULD - Suffer For Nothing (Peaceville)
15) DEMONS & WIZARDS – III (Centruy Media)
16) RAGE – Wings of Rage (SPV/Steamhammer)
17) LIONHEART – The Reality of Miracles (Metalville)
18) DEEP PURPLE – Whoosh! (earMUSIC)
19) TESTAMENT – Titans of Creation (Nuclear Blast)
20) PARADISE LOST – Obsidian (Nuclear Blast)

Top 5 Brave Embarrassments

POPPY – I Disagree (Warner)
Ask yourself why this is always given as a recommendation for a new metal album when the 'singer' outwardly says this is not metal. Transhumanist drivel from a talentless, creepy, walking meme. Does not deserve the metal label in any way, shape or form.

NAPALM DEATH – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (Century Media)
There was a point in the late '90s where Napalm Death were in danger of doing something different, groundbreaking and daring to intersperse their former embarrassments (seconds of grunting and finishing belongs in the bedroom) with innovation. Now? They just want to prove how they have still got it but it’s forced both musically and lyrically. Horrible cover art too.

SEPULTURA – Quadra (Nuclear Blast)
Reunions suck as it’s always about the money. In this case though, I would happily pay to see the Cavalera brothers back in the band. For so many years, Andreas Kisser and Paolo Jr. have been flying their own flag and somehow no one has told them to just stop, please stop, making music. Every song sounds indistinct with the repetitive and soulless bark of Derrick Green. Utterly pointless.

DANZIG – Danzig Sings Elvis (Cleopatra)
Actually, this is not so bad. The problem is Fonzig is in his mid-60s and is making music worthy of his age. In itself that is admittedly less horrible than most Danzig output since the first four albums. Yet this is toe curling, like being in a cemetery and hearing a ghost with a purple rinse crooning beneath some moss. Only for limping Goths who might also still believe Elvis is the king.

BODY COUNT – Carnivore (Century Media)
Ice-T is 62 years old and despite his reputation as a renegade has been toeing the party line (an actor, playing a cop after a supposed shitstorm of anti-authority controversy in the ‘90s?!) for way too long. Where Body Count was once truly relevant and original, it’s now a mere habit. Out of the ten songs, two are covers, which sums up the lack of creativity.

Thoughts On 2020
A year of big name acts split effectively into two: One for those who carry the flag in a new and innovative way and do it with style (Wishbone Ash) or just about scrape through (Deep Purple). Two is those who should have put the instruments down some time ago (Sepultura especially but even AC/DC is pushing it too far at this point).

Overall a strong year for bands who are still plying a trademark sound (Sodom, Vader and so on) as well as those still trying to prise a semblance of experimentation from a solid blueprint, such as Paradise Lost. I expected more from the most miserable band in the world in all honesty; they are capable of better, but they’re still around and that's a joy.

Great to see the return of Evildead with trademark Ed Repka artwork and an album that manages to reincarnate their classic sound whilst updating just a touch for 2020. Sure missed that Karlos Medina dirty bass rumble.

A great year overall for German bands. Nice to see strong returns from the likes of Accuser and Primal Fear who are always trustworthy. Is there a better example of strength in metal than Ralf Scheepers?

Specific mention to Pyogenesis, a criminally underrated band who once again have released a gorgeous, melodic and original album.

For many years, the best metal came out of Sweden which seemed to lose pace at some point. Until Dead Kosmonaut, who have been releasing truly innovative metal for several years now. Gravitas is their best work yet.

The British Lion album is so far and away the best crafted album of the year it’s almost embarrassing. Their debut was a little heavy going at times but The Burning is a colossus. Everything about it is perfectly delivered and after 8 years they have somehow managed to come together and produce a beautifully cohesive opus. Album of the decade.

What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021
It’s time for sexy female singers to go. There are far too many tattooed, skintight princess warriors out there who manage to maintain attention simply for the way they look. Isn’t this to be frowned upon in the modern world? Can we go back to a simpler time where 95% of the women into metal were plain greasers, or just that tad overweight? I want to see plain women who haven’t attended the Guitar Institute of Technology and instead just play from the heart for the love of it.

Crowd funding campaigns for bands/artists who don’t need the money. Instead the money should be raised by big name artists and then put into new labels where new signings can be paid advances like the old days.

Metal Predictions For 2021
Festivals will all be cancelled leaving only smaller outdoor shows where people stand 3 miles apart from each other and listen on headphones.

Thanks to this, more bands will create online only shows. KISS is showing the way to go as they hold a special online New Year’s Eve show to round out this year. Expect servers to crash when big name bands play online only shows. 

Metallica and Megadeth will both release new albums and tour (indoors) together. 

Meshuggah will return with an experimental and slightly lighter side, with a contender for album of the year.

A year of reunions. Among them, Anthrax will realise John Bush is still the best singer they ever had and he will take over for their new album.

Xentrix will rightly reform with Chris Astley and Paul McKenzie, bringing back the classic line-up of the most underrated British metal band of all time.

More Scribes Speak:
Mark Gromen
Carl Begai
Aaron Small
Rich Catino
Nick Balazs
Dillon Collins

Check out our BravePicks 2020 countdown where Enslaved took the top spot here.

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