So with all that has occurred this past year, I still have managed to remain joyous because 1) We serve a sovereign and wonderful God that is for us AND in control of all and 2) Musicians are still writing, recording, and releasing music of glory and praise to Him! That being stated, the following are a few of my favorite releases this year:
1. American Arson released their Facedown Records full length debut “A Line in the Sand”. Fans such as myself had been awaiting this rock masterpiece. Those unfamiliar with American Arson will be met with a mixture of rock, punk, and dare I say indie? Yes, I dare. Full of angstful yet artistic tones, this 2 piece from Detroit, MI bring an aural assault that begs to be heard.
2. A 3 piece doxilogical pop punk collective out of Huntsville, Alabama, Knuckle Sucker released their 5 song ep “Alien Righteousness” This pop punk is so sweet, one could get a cavity just listening to it! Fans of Slick Shoes, MxPx, Relient K (early), Loose End, Pocket Change, and Preach it Ray Ray! should be sure to enjoy!
3. Nashville, Tennessee’s Spirit Filled Hardcore act, Idle Threat., released their much anticipated Tooth & Nail Records debut, “Nothing Is Broken For Good” This ep seems to continue where their 2016 self released ep “Grown Tired” left off. Full of passion, heart, and faith, this release will appeal to fans of My Epic, Arms for Elephants, Paperweight, Household, and Trainwreck-era Boy’s Night Out.
4. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky aka Derby City, Home Plate released their Indie Vision Music 5 song ep debut simply entitled “Derby City”. Fans of Must Build Jacuzzi and The Wonder Years take heed.
5. Luther’s Hammer is a 4 piece Christ centered Hardcore band from Jacksonville, North Carolina who self released their “Strength to Stand” ep back in March. This is straight forward hardcore with some melodic elements here and there. FFO: Rapture LAHC, From the Eyes of Servants, Venia, and Broken.
6. Goiania, Brazil’s 3 piece thrash outfit, Herd released their full length follow up to their 2013 ep “Crushing Demons” entitled “Murdering My Flesh”. This release also saw the band getting signed to Christian Metal Underground Records which is a division of Vision of God Records. Although from Brazil, Herd’s lyrics are all in English with the exception of 1 song. Fans of old school 80’s thrash and bands such as The Crucified and Hating Evil will be pleased.
7. Another fine Indie Vision Music band, Grandpa Loves Rhinos, released their 8 song pop/emo/punk full length “Searching in the Sarchasm” which reminds me of a mix of Further Seems Forever and Saves the Day.
8. 2 years in the making, Prescott, AZ’s Reliance dropped their “Running” full length via Thumper Punk Records. Eight spirit filled anthemic skatepunk songs to circle pit and sing along to, and yes they still have that “Pennywise” vibe!
9. Deathbreaker released “Isolate” which is their follow up to their Facedown Records 2017 debut “Disconnect”. With “Isolate”, Deathbreaker have matured in their writing. While not as intense as “Disconnect”, the heaviness and experimentation is not lacking. I rather enjoy it and can’t help to think that this is what The Chariot may have sounded like if they had decided to tone down the chaotic noise a tad and throw in some doom/sludge riffs.
10. Melodic Post Hardcore act from Germany, The Heart’s Intent released a follow up to their 2016 “The Spirit>the Letter” ep entitled “Frostbite”. Fans of Idle Threat. and Being as an Ocean will enjoy this release.
11. Spanish singing, Christ worshipping, punk band La Ruta (translated: The Route) from Lima, Peru released their debut full length “Sin Condicion” (translated: Without Condition). What a great first release! It makes me think of what it may sound like if Dillinger Four decided to play a little poppier punk like Blink 182 and Slick Shoes.
12. Another Spanish singing, Christ worshipping band out of Buenos Aires released an album 6 years in the making. That band is Corto Plazo (translated: Short Term). The album, “Corto Plazo”. This self titled release finds the band exploring different facets of the punk genre. I am reminded of bands such as Karate High School, Yellowcard, Veronica, Eleventyseven (early), Nofx, and Green Day.
13. August Burns Red released their 9th studio album entitled “Guardians” this year and just as all their other releases, it does not disappoint! I’ve been a fan of ABR before I was a Christian, even before I knew they were Christian LOL and plan on listening to them for years to come! Progressive, technical, metalcore done right. I hold them up there with greats such as Becoming the Archetype and War of Ages.
14. What can be said about the artist(s) known as GOD? Amazing instrumentations release after release! This year “GOD IV: Revelation” was released. I am reminded of the formentioned band, ABR, if they decided to do instrumentals and go more djent. Reminded also of After the Burial.
15. Breakaway is a new up and coming street punk band based out of New Braunfels, TX. Their 1st ever release, “Those Days Are Dead”, will appeal to fans of The Havoc, Unshackled, Officer Negative, and The Hanover Saints.
16. Guatemalan Spanish singing, Christ centered easycore act Good Refferrence released their “Entre Escombros” (translated: Among Rubble) ep follow up to their 2016 full length “De Regreso A Casa” (translated: Back Home). Fans of Heart Like War, Sentencia Previa, Slick Shoes, and Relient K will enjoy this and their other releases.
17. Who can forget Hangnail? While it’s not new material per se, I’ve gotta say, I really enjoyed their “Christmas Hymns” ep! I also have to add that they are one of those bands that I can honestly say that I’ve never heard a song by them that I didn’t like!
18. Another fairly new Spanish singing Christian Punk band out of Yucatan, Mexico released a 4 song ep this year. That band is Homonovux. The ep “Ya Estas Listo Para Esto” (translated: You Are Ready For This). Fans of Dogwood, Metanoia, and Novaprole will enjoy this ep.
So there you have it! My best of 2020! I wanted to list 20 albums, but honestly just really liked the ones I listed. I also wanted to let you guys know that while the links are to the bands’ facebooks and Spotify pages, that the majority of the artists I listed have their music available for a “Name Your Price” option at their bandcamp pages.
I hope you enjoy these artists! Stay safe, keep praying, and Christ bless you!