Welcome to day ten of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. I’m now one third of the way through my series, and there’s no sign of fatigue or boredom from me. In fact, the longer this goes on, the more excited I become as we get closer and closer to the top 10, the top 5, and then the number one choice.

If you’re new to this series, I’d like to remind you that this list represents my favourite 30 albums of the year, regardless of genre, technicality, or notoriety. If it made me smile or bang my head enough, it’ll be right here among the thirty. And between 16 and 30, there’s no real order to my picks – they all deserve to be in the list, so solid placings don’t appear until the half-way point.

And also, if you’re new to my series, you can check out the other picks so far in this year’s series at the end of this post alongside the entire lists from previous years.

But enough of that, here’s the next record..

Number 21

…And Oceans

Cosmic World Mother

Season Of Mist

Score Of Much Metal: 94%

For all of the music-related positives that 2020 has delivered, I must be honest and declare the year to have been a little disappointing from a black metal perspective. Normally, I have several candidates from this genre in my top 30, but this year, it has taken until number 21 for a black metal band to feature. And even then, in the case of ‘Cosmic World Mother’ by …And Oceans, the final output isn’t out-and-out black metal, as they seek to blend this with symphonic and electronic elements.

The end result is fascinating and it had me rapt from the very beginning. The music is aggressive in the way that you’d want black metal to be. But in addition, it is also full of melody, atmosphere, and a sense of the epic. The songs whizz by in a blur of fast-paced riffs and drumming, that then open into some serene and beautiful melodies, not to mention the odd meander into leftfield territory.

‘Cosmic World Mother’ is an album that continues to hold my attention, and provides massive amounts of enjoyment. And it does this whilst keeping me on my toes thanks to the injection of some occasional, well-placed experimentation, some of which only emerges as I listen more deeply. This is easily one of the best, if not THE best black metal album of 2020.

What I  wrote at the time:

“For me, there is little that’s more exhilarating than when extreme metal collides in glorious harmony with epic, serene melody. The blend, when done right, is intoxicating. I get goosebumps, I start smiling like a loon and I lose all ability to speak coherently. I start uttering phrases like ‘woah’, ‘oh my…wow…ugh…yeah!’ My inner pedant recoils in horror, whilst my inner metalhead goes bonkers. And that’s what …And Oceans have done with ‘Cosmic World Mother’.

What I like so much about the …And Oceans sound here, is the interplay between the quintessential fast-picked staccato riffing from the dual guitars and the synth work… Alone, both ingredients work well. Put them together, however, and the magic starts to happen.

And what a symphonic black metal band they are. Properly heavy, properly epic, properly melodic. Add in the more experimental electronic elements and you’re suddenly confronted with an album of epic proportions, where variety and boldness add to the sonic palette in such a powerful manner.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

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: