Welcome to day twelve of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. After a break yesterday to recharge the batteries and spend time with my family doing festive things, it’s back to business today with a refreshed verve.

We’re into the top 20 now, with some fabulous albums already revealed. Got your bets on my top 10 yet? I hope you stick around to find out.

The usual reminder before we begin, to check out the links at the bottom of the post to find out who made the cut, from30 down to 21, as well as my lists from previous years too.

But enough of the preamble…

Number 19

My Dying Bride

The Ghost Of Orion

Nuclear Blast

Score Of Much Metal: 93%

Ever since I first laid eyes on the minimalist cover of ‘Like Gods Of The Sun’, and then heard some of the deliciously morose Gothic-tinged doom metal nestled within this record, I have been a firm fan of My Dying Bride. I have gone back even further in the discography, whilst also anticipating each new release to emerge, with interest and excitement. And, whilst a couple of more recent releases haven’t hit the mark so precisely with me, My Dying Bride have remained an outfit that I respect and revere.

Delightfully, ‘The Ghost Of Orion’ is such a high quality release that it has meant that I can honestly add it to the list of my 30 favourite albums of 2020. It’s hard to imagine that My Dying Bride could get any more melancholic and sombre, but the personal tribulations of vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe, as well as line-up turmoil meant that ‘The Ghost Of Orion’ is arguably their darkest, most raw, and honest recording to date. But it is also one of the most beautiful, rich, and memorable.

I still think that ‘The Long Black Land’ sits as one of their best ever compositions, whilst it takes a heart of stone not to be moved by ‘Tired Of Tears’. Indeed, this song just gets better over time, as the strength of the lyrics and the honesty with which they are conveyed increases. Then there are those trademark crushing riffs, elegant melodies, and sections of incredible introspection and minimalism, which combine to give this record an effortless ebb and flow of brutality and poignancy. ‘The Ghost Of Orion’ is a very worthy entry into this year’s list.

What I  wrote at the time:

“‘The Ghost Of Orion’ is a window into the world of Craighan, and a showcase of his abilities as a songwriter. Inevitably, the record may well have sounded different with the help of others at the writing stage but instead, what we have is a very personal set of songs on ‘The Ghost Of Orion’ and, in my opinion, it may be some of the best material under the My Dying Bride moniker for some time. 

… there’s an even greater vulnerability to the music, yet at the same time, it sounds focussed and assured. It sounds like classic My Dying Bride, with the rather heady combination of clean and growled vocals from Stainthorpe as well as plenty of solo violin melodies to accent the heaviness within the material.

… bruising riffs, solemn atmospheres, poetic lyrics and melancholy melodies that slowly seep under the skin.

‘The Ghost Of Orion’ has almost certainly become my personal favourite simply because of the emotional connection I have with it and because of the way in which the band have overcome so much to release this album in the first place. The more I listen, the more I fall in love with the music that these experienced musicians have created.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 20

Number 21

Number 22

Number 23

Number 24

Number 25

Number 26

Number 27

Number 28

Number 29

Number 30

If you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here: