Saturday 2 January 2021

2020 Year End List: Mikey Ortega (Diclonious/This Noise Is Ours Contributor)

2020 was supposed to be a special year since we were to enter a new decade.  And with a new decade – comes a new sound. A new sound that will define a generation just like New Wave in the 80’s and Grunge in the 90’s.  It was also a year where some of our past favorites were releasing new music and continuing to melt our faces. Even though 2020 has been considered a terrible year for music (and film), it was great to see fans coming together to support their favorite artist. Because of the pandemic, everything was shutdown. Gathering in big crowds was prohibited. And because of that, a lot of bands had to cancel tours and festivals. So now a lot of independent artist had to figure a way to promote their new albums, without the need for tour support. Most did a lot of live streaming with sets that have a very – creative sets. Some venues like DiPiazza’s, have live music for their outdoor dining. And of course, you got your drive-in concerts. Also, you can’t forget Bandcamp waiving off their cut of sales every 1st Friday. This year it was tough to compile this list as I felt any of these albums could have been #1. But after listening 2-3 more times, I feel like I made the right choice. 

So, anyhoo – I present to you my Top 10 Albums of 2020. Hope some of you will check out these albums, as I feel like they made a huge impression this year.

 #10. 5 R V L N 5 - THE BLACK MARK

5 R V L N 5 (pronounce Surveillance) were definitely a band that came out of nowhere.  Their debut, THE BLACK MARK, is a release that pummels you with it’s heavy industrial sound. “Flesh” is probably one of the most well-written songs I heard this year. To best describe the EP, it is dark, heavy, atmospheric, ugly, beautiful, mesmerizing and apocalyptic.




FOREVER by Midwife is definitely an album that will catch you in the feels. The guitar tone and chords that Madeline Johnston uses really has a way to captures you. It’s an album that really makes you open up and let the music in.



TAILED-TIED HEARTS is the debut album from Russia’s Dunwich, and it’s definitely an album that will leave an impression on you. The band combines Goth, Doom and Psychedelic with a very fresh and unique sound. Margarita’s vocal range is very impressive. And Anton not only can pull out some riffs, but really rips it up with the organ and synth. Hopefully, this is what the new 20’s will bring us. 



If you couldn’t get enough of High Priestess’ debut S/T album, then you’re in for a treat with CASTING THE CIRCLE. With their 2nd album, High Priestess take their psychedelic-doom to another trip. With this album, I really feel that they’ve become much tighter and a force to be reckoned with.


Since the announcement of the new singer, Lynx, ACID DOOM has been an album I’ve been anticipating for a while. Of course we were able to get a taste with last year’s BLOOD FEATHER. But when ACID DOOM came out, it totally filled my appetite. ACID DOOM is a really killer psychedelic-doom record with lots and lots of sass.  And I mean SASS!!!!!!!!! 


Caligari Records scored huge with this release by Italy’s Marthe. SISTERS OF DARKNESS is very raw and in-your-face (which is how I love most of my music). When the first track “Sisters Of Darkness) begins, you pretty much know what you’re getting into. Killer riffs and a vocalist that can take charge. Marthe is definitely a project you want to keep an eye on. 



If there’s anything to learn from 2018’s UNDER THE STRAWBERRY MOON, it’s that BlackLab are not to be fucked with. With their 2nd album, ABYSS, BlackLab continue to crush our eardrums and bring down the apocalypse. ABYSS is a perfect follow-up to UNDER THE STRAWBERRY MOON with it’s heavy tone and punishing riffs. The duo just plow through the speakers with no fucks to give. Definitely one of the best doom records of 2020.



Upon hearing “Cutthroat”, you just knew there was something special about Bone Haus.  They have an attitude that you don’t come across very often. And it’s because of that, is why I’m a huge fan of the EP. Their range is also impressive with songs like “Haywire”, which is pretty high energy, to a song like “Restless Blues”, which is more mellow. If you’re looking for something that’s really rock’n, then give this EP a listen.



Don’t know how Special Interest got past my radar, but I’m glad I was able to find them, right when they released their new album, THE PASSION OF. This album is just a killer blend of noise rock, post-punk, electronic and avant-garde. It’s a wild album and you just can’t help it, but lose yourself to the music. For sure put this in your car and turn the volume all the way up. 



If there was one album that grabbed me by the balls and kicked my arse this year, it would be SCARLET by Rosy Finch.  Just looking at the album cover, you knew that it was gonna melt your face. From “Oxblood” to “Black Cherry”, SCARLET is a powerhouse album with some bad arse riffs and a good time. If this album came out in the 90’s, you know it will be praised as a classic and a lot of bands will be following in the footsteps of Rosy Finch.  Their blend of grunge and sludge is pretty solid and makes them really stand out. I really don’t know how much I can praise this album, but I know that SCARLET was the album I needed to get me through 2020.

I just want to say thanks to Mikey for allowing me to publish his list here. There will be another list coming soon and if you want to submit your's for inclusion on the blog, there's still time. Also, I've deliberately left out social media links for the above bands, so go and explore/discover for yourselves!

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