Listmania: Metal Noise Top #5 Most Disappointing Albums of 2020!

Before we look forward to 2021 with “Underground Metal Bands To Watch” and “Most Anticipated Releases” entries in our Listmania Awards Season, we have to touch on the most disappointing albums of 2020. These are records which we were excited about based on the bands previous output and pre-release singles which then… fell flat when it came to the full length. At Metal Noise we don’t review records just to slate them; however there are some we have reviewed which we went in with positive vibes and came out shaking our heads in disbelief. Here are those records;

First on this tragic list has to be “Year Of The Rat” by Matriarchs. We had heard a quartet of pre-release singles which were impressive and when you add to that a quartet of guest appearances including Frankie Palmeri of Emmure and Myke Terry of Volumes everything was looking pretty sweet.  The problem is that his screeched unclean vocals of K Enagonio are solid and confident but he simply doesn’t have enough strength of conviction in the cleans and they sound weak and nervous in comparison, which drags down what would otherwise be a decent record.

Next up is “Kaliyuga” by Australian Metalcore quintet In Hearts Wake, a record so full of promise with singles “Worldwide Suicide” and “Hellbringer” which features Jamie Hails of Polaris and the first three cuts of the record are absolute bangers. Then the slide begins with some cringe worthy rap screams and the absence of any leads or solos from a band that has two guitarists raises the eyebrows. Lets not even talk about the awkward moment that is “Crossroads“.

The middle of this five album list of disappointments will no doubt divide the audience. “For The Sick” by Red Method is one of those that albums that had a lot of hype around it from a band who had already performed a wealth of live shows by the time it was released and have a glowing reputation for leaving it all behind on the stage. The problem here is that the record itself doesn’t capture as much of that live energy as it needed to and overall while the album is solid on first listen it is predictable and has a number of cliched moments that hook you in initially but mean that it loses re-play ability. We’re hoping for so much more from these dudes next time out, they have talent in abundance.

Newcastle upon Tyne Melodic Hardcore quintet GroundCulture signed to Hopeless Records for their sophomore album “How Well Do You Really Know Yourself?” which caught our attention however it is one that asks a lot of questions without necessarily having all the answers. That’s partly down to a lack of cohesion between the songs due to a wealth of experimentation which sees them moving into the same territory as “So What?” by While She Sleeps or Shvpes and while that could be commercially successful with more mass appeal, especially with a younger audience, it’s not the band we know and love.

2020 saw the continuation of the Thrash resurgence and after an impressive debut EP “Annihilation of Self” from Italian quintet Netherblade in 2018 we were excited for their debut full length, especially when considering the strength of the pre-release singles, including title track “Reborn“. Unfortunately the album comes off like the band ran out of ideas half way through and the middle of the record is a soft underbelly that lacks the punch and edge of the earlier material with the likes of “Braindamage” being a verse and chorus too long. Sometimes less is more; there is no doubting their talent and we know they will be back again.

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