2020: The Year In Metal

Jesus fucking christ, guys. You know what kind of year this was. And if somehow you forgot what 2020 was, consider this: over the past 12 months, I have only managed to audition 52 new albums, or 1 per week. That’s something like 40% my usual workload. Do you have albums that I missed?

Protest The Hero -- Palimpsest

Protest The HeroPalimpsest

★★★★ Wow. PTH have created their most accessible release to date, and yet don’t lose a shred of their intricacy, stylistic omnivorousness, or overall focus on musicianship. Most impressively, there’s a new emotionality and (dare I say it) maturity to what everyone in the band is contributing to the music. And even though it’s a whopping 52 minutes long, the pacing doesn’t suffer for it, and it’s a captivating listen from start to finish.

Protest The Hero -- Pacific Myth

Protest The HeroPacific Myth

★★★☆ If you’re already a PTH fan, this collection of songs will give you exactly what you already know to look for. Ridiculously blistering, convoluted riffs undergird Rody Walker’s distinctive and melodramatic vocals. And the musicianship is as flawless as ever, with new drummer Mike Ieradi and bassist Cam McLennan ably filling the busy shoes of Chris Adler and Arif Mirabdolbaghi, respectively.

Protest The Hero - Volition

Protest The HeroVolition

★★★★ Everything you could ever want from a PtH album: blistering guitarwork and jerkily progressive rhythms, plus (dare I say it?) a hint of maturity from the otherwise famously immature Rody Walker. In fact, the entire album has surprisingly more depth, breadth, and ambition than I expected to hear (especially the track “Plato’s Tripartite”).