BravePicks 2020 - The Scribes Speak! Sephora Henderson

January 14, 2021, 3 years ago

news heavy metal bravepicks 2020 enslaved

BravePicks 2020 - The Scribes Speak! Sephora Henderson

BravePicks 2020 - The Scribes Speak!
Sephora Henderson

Top 20 Of 2020
1) ENSLAVED - Utgard (Nuclear Blast) 
2) KATATONIA - City Burials (Peaceville)
3) PARADISE LOST - Obsidian (Nuclear Blast)
4) INSIDIOUS DISEASE - After Death (Nuclear Blast)
5) AC/DC - PWRϟUP (Columbia/Sony)
6) NAGLFAR - Cerecloth (Century Media)
7) DARK TRANQUILLITY - Moment (Century Media)
8) GODTHRYMM - Reflections (Profound Lore)
9) NECROPHOBIC - Dawn Of The Damned (Century Media)
10) KONVENT - Puritan Masochism (Napalm)
11) DEATHWHITE - Grave Image (Season Of Mist)
12) MÖRK GRYNING - Hinsides Vrede (Season of Mist)
13) MEXICAN APE-LORD - Survival Cannibalism (Unable Records)
14) SCOUR - Black (Nuclear Blast) 
15) BLASPHEMER - The Sixth Hour (Candlelight)
16) MIDNIGHT - Rebirth By Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
17) MY DYING BRIDE - The Ghost Of Orion (Nuclear Blast)
18) ANNIHILATOR - Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining)
19) NAPALM DEATH - Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism (Century Media)
20) RAVEN - Metal City (SPV/Steamhammer) 

Top 5 Brave Embarrassments

Poppy - I Disagree (Sumerian)
The singer’s costumes are odd and eye-catching, but apart from interesting visuals the “music” is an insult to the ears. Also, this definitely isn’t metal. 

Thy Catafalque - Naiv (Season Of Mist)
Can’t decide what genre it wants to be - so many sounds stuffed into one aural sausage, and guaranteed to make you choke. The vocal style might best be described as caterwauling - but that would be an insult to cats everywhere. Another band incorrectly flying the metal banner. 

Amberian Dawn - Looking For You (Napalm)
I barely have words for how awful this is. Sounds like a computer generated pep-talk crossed with bad fitness music. I’m not sure what it is, but folks, it’s not metal!!!

In This Moment - Mother (Roadrunner / Atlantic)
Nope. Visually stunning, and the singer has chops, but overall an utterly generic sound. Without the spectacle of the sets, props, and costumes, the music doesn’t stand in its own. And how many times do I have to say this? It’s not metal!!! 

Aether Realm - Redneck Vikings From Hell (Napalm)
The album title is confusing and so is their music. They are three albums in - three too many! 

Thoughts On 2020

Despite the absolute shit show, there was so much great music released this year! From the very first time I heard Enslaved’s newest, Utgard, I knew that it was likely to be number one this year. More great music came along, but nothing to top this masterpiece. I have listened to it end to end, countless times, and can’t say enough about how much this album continues to inspire me.

There was so much music released that it took a steady effort to sample everything, and although there were many gems that didn’t make my top 20, they were many albums that I added to my personal playlists to enjoy. 

It was also a year when we lost some truly iconic members of the metal family. They left holes that can’t ever be filled again in quite the same way, but they also left us a legacy of great music. For that, I will always be thankful. 

What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021

1. Bands who hitch their wagon to the genre, subgenre, whatever, because they think it makes them cool or edgy. I’m the last one to split hairs about what exactly what kind of metal it is I am listening to, so long as what finds my ears is along the lines of what I expect. I want my doom to sound doom-y, and I want my death metal to have growls to make my toes curl. 

2. People who piss on metal and metal fans. I have met my share, and I’m sure you have too. People with no taste and so little understanding of music that they would dismiss the entire genre outright, secure in their misconceptions. 

3. COVID-19 and all of its iterations. Fuck off, go away, and let us have live music back. Let us have our lives back, period. 

Metal Predictions For 2021

2021 won’t disappoint when it comes to new ear candy. Artists had to be creative and bold to survive the previous year. Fans needed music more than ever to see them through in their darkest hours and metal bands delivered in a big way. They will keep in fuelling us this year and beyond. 

Festivals and concerts! I see they are planning and I am sending virtual horseshoes, shamrocks, you name it, to all the organizers! But, because I am equal parts optimist and realist, I don’t think live performances will return to their former glory in the coming year. Not the way things are going, anyway. I would love more than anything to be wrong about that. The availability of vaccines makes me hopeful and I’ll be in line with my sleeve rolled up when it’s my turn.

Musicians and music people are resilient and resourceful. I never stop admiring their talent, creativity, and passion. It literally takes a village to create the live spectacles that we all so dearly miss, and I wish more than ever for everyone involved to have their livelihoods back in full swing. 

In the mean time, bands will continue to explore their options online, coming together to weave their magic, and BraveWords will continue to be there with its unwavering support, and offer them the platform to do so while “feeding the needs of fans” everywhere, as a pretty smart CEO I know likes to say ;)

Speaking of new music, on our side of the ocean, I’m hoping in particular for a new Flotsam And Jetsam album. They said a new album is coming, so I’m waiting impatiently. I always want to hear what Erik AK has to say next. It’s like he knows exactly how you’re feeling and puts it into words and finds a way to express all the things you don’t know how to say. And all with that killer voice.

On the other side of the world, as ever, I have high hopes for black metal and for the sonic perfection that seems to naturally flow out of Norway and Sweden in particular. What’s in the water up there? Hearing talk of new material from At The Gates makes me very excited! Their albums are among some of my go-to favourites. I also hope to hear more from supergroup Insidious Disease - so many serious heavy-hitters in one place! It took them ten years to release their album after the previous one (maybe because they all also belong to amazing bands who put out  their own full-length albums in recent years) but it was so worth the wait. Something tells me we won’t wait so long for the next one.

Finally I have to say a few words about Konvent. This all-female Danish doom band is going places. Frontwoman Rikke Emily List has one hell of a gorgeous growl. I can’t wait to hear more from this band. Watch out boys! 

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

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

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