This year CGCM decided to include EP (previously they were excluded from Top Ten Albums). Live albums and re-records were still disqualified, new music only for Best of Year. We also instigated a (highly complex🤣 – 1 point for 10th place through to 10 points for 1st place) rating system throughout all individual lists to culminate a Collective Best of 2020.
You can find the Collective List as well as all our Best of 2020 content including contributors’ individual lists, podcasts and radio DJ shows here: CGCM’s Best of 2020 (Year in Review)
Best Of 2020 – Andy “Maddog” Lafon (Writer) 🇺🇸
So I think trying to be more optimistic as a resolution for 2020 was a bit overreaching. In a year that brought a pandemic, countless natural disasters, and civil unrest in my country I was glad to use music as an escape. Like everyone else this year brought both personal and professional challenges like never before, music definitely helped me overcome. For most of the year, live music was not allowed, however, I was able to attend the Monsters of Rock cruise, and on said cruise, I saw one of the best I have ever seen. While some labels and artists held back releasing albums in 2020 there was still quite a bit to listen to. Here is my list of what I thought were the top 10 musical highlights of 2020.
#10 – ARMORED SAINT – Punching the Sky 🇺🇸
I have always loved Armored Saint since I got my vinyl copy of March of the Saint. I really appreciate their quality of quantity approach to releasing music. This album really spoke to me for some reason much more than Win Hands Down. My favourite song off this record is “Fly in the Ointment”.
#9 – PERFECT PLAN – Time for a Miracle 🇸🇪
These are just plain melodic goodness. I really missed out on their first album and I am not sure how. Somehow they blend a harder edge Journey/Survivor vibe. I really liked all the songs on this release, but my favourite has to be the powerful “Fighting to Win”.
#8 – THUNDERMOTHER – Heat Wave 🇸🇪
With an AC/DC riff style approach to songwriting, these gals hit hard. The second release since basically reforming the band around guitarist Filippa Nassil, there are plenty of stand out tracks like “Driving in Style” and “Sleep”, but my favourite is “Dog From Hell”.
CGCM Album Review: Thundermother – Heat Wave by Sparky
#7 – THE WILD! – Still Believe in Rock and Roll 🇨🇦
I do not know how up to this point I have missed out on Canadian artist the Wild!, but I went all in this year. A sleazy, bluesy punch in the mouth these guys are, and just plain straight-ahead rock and roll. I believe the title track is my favourite, but it changes from day to day.
CGCM Album Review: The Wild! – Still Believe In Rock & Roll by The Meister
BUY Still Believe in Rock and Roll: Official Store
#6 – PRIMAL FEAR – Metal Commando 🇩🇪
Nothing like German power metal to take your breath away! I have to say that with Primal Fear I seem to really like every other album from them. While I really liked Rulebreaker, I couldn’t get into Apocalypse but now I love Metal Commando. I love the epic “Infinity” that closes the album, but I think Primal Fear is at their best with the hard-driving song “Afterlife”.
#5 – DAVID REECE – Cacophony of Souls 🇺🇸
I thought David Reece set the bar high with his last album Resilient Heart, but with Cacophony of Souls, he takes that great songwriting and melody and makes it HEAVY. This album is great from start to finish, and David‘s vocals are out of this world. It is hard to pick a favourite, but I’ll go with “Bleed”.
CGCM Album Review: DAVID REECE – Cacophony of Souls by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
#4 – STORM FORCE – The Age of Fear 🇨🇦
This was the first CD I bought in 2020, and it started the year right. I knew Greg Fraser from the Brighton Rock days, but I had lost track of him until I learned he made the intro music for the CGCM Podcast. All I have to say to Greg is do not wait so long to put out more new music! This album kills from start to finish but the title track gets me every time. Just brilliant.
CGCM Album review Storm Force – Age of Fear by Wallygator
#3 – STEELCITY – Mach II 🇺🇸
This album was a big help getting me through the initial part of the pandemic. It brought me such joy to sing along to these songs while making dinner with my wife after coming home from work. It is another slab of melodic goodness, but it goes next level with Roy Cathey‘s vocals. I love all the songs on this album but I think “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” hits home the most.
CGCM Album Review: Steelcity – Mach II by Maddog
#2 – STRYPER – Even the Devil Believes 🇺🇸
Well, they did it again, another fantastic album from start to finish. Every time I think this band has released their best album they release a new one and top it. I literally headbang to the song “Divider” every time it comes on- literally every time it comes on! Michael Sweet is a musical genius and if you do not believe me listen to the title track of this album!
#1 – H.E.A.T – II 🇸🇪
It takes a lot to beat out a Stryper album in my book, and H.E.A.T II does it in spades! The energy these songs put out is just amazing. As I referenced above, seeing their first show on the Monsters of Rock Cruise earlier this year was simply one of the best shows I have ever seen. It was an hour and a half of pure joy, plain and simple. This one I had a really hard time picking just one song, but if I have to I say listen to “Come Clean”.
CGCM Album Review: H.E.A.T – II by Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
Furthermore, check out all my reviews: Maddog’s Archives
Andy “Maddog” Lafon
Don’t forget to take a look at all our Best of 2020 content including the COLLECTIVE BEST ALBUMS LIST (culminated via the ratings in the individual lists), all our contributors’ individual best lists, podcast episodes and Radio DJ shows CGCM’s Best of 2020 (Year in Review)