December 24, 2020

It is that time of year again and the round up of VELVET THUNDER‘s writers choices for albums of 2020.

It is unlikely that anyone would argue that 2020 has been a unique year with our daily lives being altered by a global pandemic. Music and the arts have truly suffered with tour after tour postponed or cancelled until at least 2021, it has been the year where live music – in the traditional sense – became non-existent. Live music did find a way to exist in other ways with bands embracing technology through live streaming – hardly the same – but provided a chance to do something in order to present live music to an audience. Here is to 2021 seeing the return of bands to stages.

On the albums front and despite the challenges, it has been a stellar year even if some “big” albums were initially put back and with no tours to support them. With so many amazing records, it has still made it difficult to choose that top ten. Some liberties have been taken with the list this year which does feature the odd 2020 re-release of older albums and live albums also released in 2020.

Hopefully, VELVET THUNDER has had a hand in your buying/listening choices in 2020. Thanks for the support and see you in ’21!

Lee Vickers

  1. The Ocean CollectivePhanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic (Metal Blade)
  2. HeathenEmpire Of The Blind (Nuclear Blast)
  3. Static-XProject Regeneration Vol.1 (Osteogo Enterainment)
  4. Smackbound20/20 (Frontiers Music)
  5. AmarantheManifest (Nuclear Blast)
  6. Soilwork A Whisp Of The Atlantic (Nuclear Blast)
  7. Die KreaturPanoptikum (Napalm)
  8. TestamentTitans Of Creation (Nuclear Blast)
  9. EnslavedUtgard (Nuclear Blast)
  10. AC/DC – Power Up (Colombia)

Steve Pilkington

  1. Stephen Dale Petit2020 Visions (333 Records)
  2. Hawkwind Hawkwind 50: Live (Cherry Red)
  3. IO EarthAura (Self Released)
  4. Multi StoryCBF10 (Festival Music)
  5. Eddie And The Hot RodsNew York Live (Angel Air Records)
  6. Rick WakemanThe Red Planet (Madfish)
  7. Airbag A Day At The Beach (Karisma Records)
  8. Tiger Moth TalesStill Alive (White Knight Records)
  9. MagentaMasters Of Illusion (Tigermoth Records)
  10. NektarThe Other Side (Esoteric Antenna / Esoteric Recordings)

Stoyan Tsonev

  1. Psychotic WaltzThe God Shaped Void (Inside Out Music)
  2. NecrophobicDawn Of The Damned (Century Media Records)
  3. AcherontasPsychic Death – The Shattering of Perceptions (Agonia Records)
  4. Fates WarningLong Day Good Night (Metal Blade Records)
  5. Mörk GryningHinsides Vrede (Season of Mist)
  6. EvokeSeeds Of Death (Pulverised Records)
  7. Perdition TempleSacraments Of Descension (Hells Headbangers)
  8. MagnumThe Serpent Rings – (SPV GmbH)
  9. Vicious RumorsCelebration Decay (Steamhammer)
  10. SodomGenesis XIX (Steamhammer)

Terry Craven

  1. MagnumThe Serpent Rings (SPV/Steamhammer)
  2. Ross The BossBorn Of Fire (AFM Records)
  3. Death DealerConquered Land (Steel Cartel Records)
  4. Caligula’s HorseRise Radiant (Insideoutmusic)
  5. Lords Of BlackAlchemy Of Souls (Frontiers)
  6. Vanden PlasThe Ghost Xperiment: Illumination (Frontiers)
  7. StargazeryConstellation (Pure Steel Records)
  8. RhodiumSea Of The Dead (Sliptrick Records
  9. Sinner’s BloodThe Mirror Star (Frontiers)
  10. Terra AtlanticaAge Of Steam (Pride & Joy Music)

Lorne Murphy

  1. WobblerDwellers Of The Deep (Karisma Records)
  2. ZoppZopp (Bad Elephant Music)
  3. The Amorphous Androgynous and Peter HammillWe Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal (fsoldigital)
  4. Elds MarkElds Mark (Elds Mark)
  5. Kavus TorabiHip To The Jag (Believers Roast)
  6. La Maschera di CeraS.E.I. (AMS)
  7. Deep PurpleWhoosh! (earMUSIC)
  8. Dyble LongdonBetween A Breath And A Breath (English Electric Recordings)
  9. GrumblewoodStories Of Strangers (Gravity Dream)
  10. NightwishHuman :II: Nature (Nuclear Blast)

Paul Whimpenny

  1. Hex A.D. – Astro Tongue In The Electric Garden (Fresh Tea)
  2. Tiger Moth TalesThe Whispering Of The World (White Knight Records)
  3. H.E.A.TII (Absolute)
  4. Northern CrownIn A Pallid Shadow (Northern Crown)
  5. Arabs In AspicMadness and Magic (Karisma Records)
  6. Bruce SpringsteenLetter To You (BMGS4)
  7. IO EarthAura (Self Released)
  8. AvatariumAn Evening With Avatarium (Nuclear Blast)
  9. Snowy WhiteSomething On Me (Snowy White)
  10. SlomosaSlomosa (Apollon Records)

Richard Proctor

  1. Blue Öyster CultThe Symbol Remains (Frontiers Music)
  2. Joe BonamassaRoyal Tea (Provogue/Mascot, KTBA)
  3. Villagers of Ioannina CityThe Age of Aquarius (Napalm Records)
  4. Kimono Drag QueensSongs Of Worship (Copper Feast Records)
  5. DawnwalkerAges (Self-released)
  6. Son Of ManState of Dystopia (Esoteric Antenna / Red Cherry Records)
  7. Connor Bracken And The Mother Leeds BandNightbird Motel (Asbury Park Music)
  8. Voodoo SixMake Way for The King (Explorer1)
  9. A Day In VeniceLights EP (Independent Release)
  10. The StrokesThe New Abnormal (Cult Records/RCA Records)

Graeme Stroud

  1. Derek Sherinian  – The Phoenix (InsideOut Music)
  2. Joe BonamassaRoyal Tea (Provogue)
  3. Neal MorseJesus Christ The Exorcist Live At Morsefest (Frontiers)
  4. Neal MorseSola Gratia (InsideOut Music)
  5. Dyble Longdon – Between A Breath And A Breath (English Electric Recordings)
  6. Cats In SpaceAtlantis (Harmony Factory Records)
  7. Sauce Matrix –  Guardian Angels (Self Release/Bandcamp
  8. AyreonElectric Castle Live (Music Theories Recordings)
  9. Robert Jon & The Wreck –  Last Light On The Highway
  10. Stephen Dale Petit2020 Visions (Cherry Red)

Laurence Todd

  1. Amy BirksAll That I Am And All That I Was (Mab Records)
  2. Neal Morse Band The Great Adventour 2019 (InsideOut Music)
  3. Pattern Seeking Animals – Prehensile Tales (InsideOut Music)
  4. Kansas – Absence Of Presence (InsideOut Music)
  5. Goldray – Feel The Change (Akashic Records)
  6. Rush – Permanent Waves (40th Anniversary Edition) (UMC – Mercury)
  7. Solstice – Sia (GEP)
  8. Riverside – Lost ‘n’ Found: Live In Tilburg 2015 (InsideOut Music)
  9. Steve Hackett – Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings; Hammersmith 2019 (InsideOut Music)
  10. Flower Kings – Islands (InsideOut Music)

Stephen Lambe

  1. MagentaMasters Of Illusion (Tigermoth Records)
  2. Jon Anderson1000 Hands Part 1 (Blue Élan Records)
  3. Abel GanzThe Life Of The Honey Bee And Other Moments Of Clarity (Abel Records)
  4. SolsticeSia (GEP)
  5. ChimpanAThe Empathy Machine (Tigermoth Records)
  6. ZioFlower Torania (Posh and Rock)
  7. Opium CartelValor (Apollon Records)
  8. The TangentAuto Reconnisance (InsideOut Music)
  9. Tim Bowness Late Night Laments (InsideOut Music)
  10. Rick WakemanThe Red Planet (Madfish)

Manir Donaghue

  1. That Joe PayneBy Name, by Nature (Tjp)
  2. HakenVirus (InsideOut Music)
  3. Prince Sign O’ The Times (Super Deluxe Edition) (Rhino)
  4. Tears For FearsSeeds Of Love (Deluxe Edition) (UMC – Mercury)
  5. McStine & Minneman2 (McStine & Minnemann)
  6. McStine & Minneman (McStine & Minnemann)
  7. Public EnemyWhat You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? (EMI)
  8. EelsEarth to Dora (E Works)
  9. Rick WakemanThe Red Planet (Madfish)
  10. FishWeltschmerz (Chocolate Frog Records)

Sebastian Vickers

  1. Dance Gavin DanceAfterburner (Rise Records)
  2. CurrentsThe Way It Ends (Sharptone Records)
  3. Bury TomorrowCannibal (Sony)
  4. Make Them SufferHow To Survive A Funeral (RIse Records)
  5. PolarisThe Death of Me (Sharptone Records)
  6. Fit For A KingThe Path (Solid State)
  7. Invant AnimateGreyview (Tragic Hero Records)
  8. The Amity AfflictionEveryone Loves You…When You Leave Them (Pure Noise)
  9. The Ghost InsideThe Ghost Inside (Epitaph)
  10. SylosisThe Cycle Of Suffering (Nuclear Blast)