Monthly Overview – the Best of January 2020

2020 beckons, and there’s new metal to be hungrily devoured. This January seems to have been better than the last one release-wise, with a wealth of good albums to choose from. I’ve picked seven below I’ve particularly enjoyed. Let’s see what you think of these…

Grey Skies Fallen - Cold Dead Lands

We’ll start with one of the obvious highlights of the month – Cold Dead Lands by Grey Skies Fallen. This, to me, is the band’s best work in their career. Upping the doom, and writing lengthy, emotive progressive/melodic music that really gets the balance right between the band’s various influences, Cold Dead Lands is a strong release worthy of praise.

Thoughts Factory - Elements

A much anticipated second album, Elements by Thoughts Factory was worth the wait. Clear, strong, catchy, and full of classic songwriting skill, this is a dynamic and well-paced album that finds the band on top form. The concise, refined approach to songs has turned out very well, and Elements is a gem of a progressive metal album.

Wormhole - The Weakest Among Us

Wormhole’s ultra-brutal The Weakest Among Us caused carnage and slam-heavy mayhem in January, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Embracing technicality and ferocious groove, this hideous amalgamation of brutal death metal, modern melodic extremity, and deathcore dynamics makes this album a slamfest that operates at a functionally higher level than most.

Deathwhite - Grave Image

After years of enjoyable material that was satisfying in its own right, but spoke of greater promise to come, Deathwhite have finally delivered their most comprehensively agreeable work with Grave Image. The band’s emotionally-charged material is full of appealing content, and has more than enough depth to satiate. Deathwhite have produced something of note.

Leeched - To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse

What a vicious, nasty piece of work this next album is. To Dull the Blades of Your Abuse is ferociously heavy and unrelentingly harsh. Pulsing with cold malevolence and inhuman malignancy, Leeched’s industrialised hardcore is at the peak of its power on their second album. Inventive horror.

Monolithe - Okta Khora

Monolithe continue to satisfy with their individual brand of doom metal, and Okta Khora is their latest release to impress. The band’s style of atmospheric progressive death/doom is powerfully wrought, and their latest is a very well-rounded and expressive piece of doom. Monolithe can seemingly do no wrong.

Oceans - The Sun and the Cold

We’ll end this month’s list with The Sun and the Cold by Oceans. This is a band that takes a wide variety of metal influences and distils them into an album that’s melodic, emotive, and focuses on hooks and catchy songwriting. This is contemporary European metal with a bright future ahead.

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