Welcome to day five  of my 2020 ‘Album of the Year Top 30 countdown’. Thanks for sticking with me this far. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find links to my other picks this year, as well as my full lists from years gone by. Be sure to check them out.

But onwards, onto my pick at number 26 for 2020…

Number 26


III: Absolution

Candlelight Records

Score Of Much Metal: 93%

Two genres that have featured heavily for me during 2020 are blackened death metal, and doom. Given the year we have all endured, this somehow seems very apt. Today’s choice, Atavist, find themselves firmly in the latter genre, of that there is no doubt. ‘III: Absolution’ is what I can only describe as funeral doom for the most part. It is slow-paced for the most part and indescribably heavy. But oh my goodness, it’s also incredibly beautiful too. But when I say ‘beautiful’, I mean it in the most gut-wrenchingly, soul-destroying way possible. If there was a soundtrack to 2020, this could easily be it.

The album only contains four songs but has a run-time of an hour. That means that each track is a monstrous beast of horror and majesty. Like molten lava, they doggedly, ponderously pursue you until they envelop you in their deathly embrace from which there is no mercy and no escape. It’s marvellous. But it is also not the kind of music you want to necessarily listen to if you’re feeling a little on the gloomy side.

Several months on from reviewing this record and I am still entranced and enthralled by the open and closing pieces of music most of all. The closer, ‘Absolution’ still delivers one of my favourite melodies of the entire year and as such, despite the bleak misery of it, Atavist’s latest opus is never very far away from my playlist.  

What I  wrote at the time:

“…Atavist prefer their music to crush. And when I say ‘crush’, I mean they want to crush your ears, your bones, your hope, and every last fibre of your being. I’m fairly sure that if there was anything left in one piece at this point, they’d want to crush that too. This is death/doom metal of the most soul destroying kind and…it is absolutely incredible.

…I get chills and goosebumps as the brittle beauty works its ponderous magic on me. As I listen, I find myself staring at the lone figure on the album cover, imaging myself in their shoes, wondering…. I’m absolutely invested in the music and the feelings portrayed within by this point.

Quoting Naughton…he said: “There is no joy here, only relief at the end of an arduous voyage.” ‘III: Absolution’ is indeed an arduous, difficult and long journey, but at it’s conclusion, I would not use the word ‘relief’, as I am disappointed that the music has ended. Additionally, whilst there may be no joy for the central protagonist here, I am filled with a bittersweet joy for having heard such powerful, emotive and crushing music.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 27

Number 28

Number 29

Number 30

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