We may have taken a different direction with our overall AOTY list this year, but we still wanted to share what everyone on staff thought were the best releases of the year! Comment with your own top 25, albums you discovered/enjoyed on our lists, and releases we should check out.

Jordan Jerabek

  1. Envy – The Crimson Fallen
  2. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville
  3. Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi
  4. Wake – Devouring Ruin
  5. Boris – NO
  6. Kvelertak – Splid
  7. Spirit Adrift – Enlightened In Eternity
  8. Aesthesys – Alignments
  9. Hum – Inlet
  10. Crystal Coffin – The Transformation Room
  11. Run the Jewels – RTJ4
  12. All Them Witches – Nothing as the Ideal
  13. Loud Night – Mindnumbing Pleasure
  14. Uniform – Shame
  15. Couch Slut – TACORnR
  16. Ulthar – Providence
  17. Caspian – On Circles
  18. Bartees Strange – Live Forever
  19. Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today
  20. Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1&2
  21. END –  Splinters From an Ever-Changing Face
  22. MSW – Obliviosus
  23. Sumac – May You Be Held
  24. Dawnwalker – Ages
  25. Turtle Skull – Monoliths

Nate Johnson

  1. Svalbard: When I Die, Will I Get Better?
  2. Stand Atlantic: Pink Elephant
  3. Code Orange: Underneath
  4. Dragged Under: The World Is in Your Way
  5. Drain: California Cursed
  6. Covet: Technicolor
  7. END: Splinters From an Ever Changing-Face
  8. Xibalba: Anos En Infierno
  9. Palm Reader: Sleepless
  10. Trivium: What the Dead Men Say
  11. Misery Signals: Ultraviolet
  12. Pschonaut: Unfold the God Man
  13. Deftones: Ohms
  14. Greg Puciato: Child Soldier: Creator of God
  15. Couch Slut: Take a Chance on Rock n’ Roll
  16. Bambara: Stray
  17. Nothing: The Great Dismal
  18. Intronaut: Fluid Existential Inversions
  19. Black Wing: No Moon
  20. Unleash the Archers: Abyss
  21. Year of the Knife: Internal Incaceration
  22. Phoxjaw: Royal Swan
  23. Creeper: Sex, Death & The Infinite Void
  24. Elephant Tree: Habits
  25. Eternal Champion: Ravening Iron

Pete Williams

  1. Elder – Omens
  2. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
  3. Deftones – Ohms
  4. Rina Sawayama – SAWAYAMA
  5. Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle – May Our Chambers Be Full
  6. Taylor Swift – folklore
  7. Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin – Stygian Bough, Vol. 1
  8. Necrot – Mortal
  9. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville
  10. Nothing – The Great Dismal
  11. Vile Creature – Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!
  12. Run the Jewels – RTJ 4
  13. Pallbearer – Forgotten Days
  14. Napalm Death – THroes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
  15. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall II
  16. Crystal Coffin – The Transformation Room
  17. Drouth – Excerpts from a Dread Liturgy
  18. Wytch Hazel – III:Pentecost
  19. Code Orange – Underneath
  20. Ulcerate – Stare Into Death and Be Still
  21. High Priestess – Casting the Circle
  22. Wayfarer – A Romance with Violence
  23. Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity
  24. Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron
  25. Esoctrilihum – Eternity of Shaog

Jon Adams

  1. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville
  2. Katatonia – City Burials
  3. Atramentus – Stygian
  4. Honey Harper – Starmaker
  5. Ulcerate – Stare Into Death and Be Still
  6. Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi
  7. The Microphones – The Microphones in 2020
  8. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
  9. Paysage d’Hiver – Im Wald
  10. Pyrrhon – Abscess Time
  11. Havukruunu – Uinuos Syomein Sota
  12. Haken – Virus
  13. Protest the Hero – Palimpsest
  14. Cryptic Shift – Visitations from Enceladus
  15. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall II
  16. Skaphe – Skaphe3
  17. Afterbirth – Four Dimensional Flesh
  18. Black Curse – Endless Wound
  19. Atrae Bilis – Divinihility
  20. Elder – Omens
  21. Mystras – Castles Conquered and Reclaimed
  22. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
  23. Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today
  24. Wytch Hazel – III: Pentecost
  25. Wayfarer – A Romance With Violence

Eden Kupermintz

1 Countless Skies – Glow
2 Elder – Omens
3 Sweven – The Eternal Resonance
4 wthAura – Grocery
5 Dawnwalker – Ages
6 Lespecial – Ancient Homies
7 Dzo-nga – Thunder in the Mountains
8 Feminazgul – No Dawn For Men
9 sleepmakeswaves – these are not your dreams
10 King Witch – Body of Light
11 Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
12 Wang Wen 惘闻 – 100​,​000 Whys
13 clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
14 Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
15 Amiensus – Abreaction
16 Polaris – The Death of Me
17 Helfro – Helfro
18 Mystras – Castles Conquered and Reclaimed
19 Mountain Caller – Chronicle I: The Truthseeker
20 Satyr – Locus
21 Question – Reflections of the Void
22 Dessiderium – Shadow Burn
23 Dead Quiet – Truth and Ruin
24 Alpha Male Tea Party – Infinity Stare
25 Alustrium – Insurmountable

Scott Murphy

1. Fleet Foxes – Shore
2. Run The Jewels – RTJ4
3. Video Age – Pleasure Line
4. Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter
5. Pyrrhon – Abscess Time
6. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
7. Protest The Hero – Palimpsest
8. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
9. Taylor Ashton – The Romantic
10. Natalia Lafourcade – Un canto por México Vol. 1
11. The Mountain Goats – Getting Into Knives
12. Nihiloxica – Kaloli
13. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville
14. Good Tiger – Raised in a Doomsday Cult
15. Dawnwalker – Ages
16. Xythlia – Immortality Through Quantum Suicide
17. Black Taffy – Opal Wound
18. Liturgy – Origin of the Alimonies
19. Party Dozen – Pray for Party Dozen
20. tētēma – necroscape
21. Countless Skies – Glow
22. Honey Harper – Starmaker
23. Mamaleek – Come and See
24. Hum – Inlet
25. Aseitas – False Peace

Trent Bos

1 Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still
2 Svalbard – When I Die, Will I Get Better?
3 Esoctrilihum – Eternity Of Shaog
4 Respire – Black Line
5 Envy – The Fallen Crimson
6 Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi
7 End – Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face
8 Countless Skies – Glow
9 Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone
10 Serpent Column – Kathodos
11 Aesthesys – Alignments
12 Afterbirth – Four Dimensional Flesh
13 Lord Buffalo – Tohu Wa Bohu
14 Viva Belgrado – Bellavista
15 Nord – The Only Way To Reach The Surface
16 Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
17 lespecial – Ancient Homies
18 clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
19 Wake – Devouring Ruin
20 Show Me A Dinosaur – Plantgazer
21 Sevdaliza – Shabrang
22 Wayfarer – A Romance With Violence
23 The God Awful Truth – Memory Palace
24 Fawn Limbs – Sleeper Vessels
25 Fall Of Messiah – Senicarne

Nick Cusworth

  1. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
  2. sleepmakeswaves – these are not your dreams
  3. Elder – Omens
  4. Bound – Haunts
  5. Arcing Wires – Prime
  6. Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
  7. Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
  8. Barrens – Penumbra
  9. Whale Fall – It Will Become Itself
  10. pg.lost – Oscillate
  11. Elden – Nostromo
  12. VASA – Heroics
  13. TROMB – I/O
  14. Alpha Male Tea Party – Infinity Stare
  15. Nubya Garcia – Source
  16. albinobeach – The Ladder
  17. Dawnwalker – Ages
  18. wthAura – Grocery
  19. Respire – Black Line
  20. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide
  21. A.A. Williams – Forever Blue
  22. Gazelle(s) – True Meridian
  23. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
  24. Coastlands – Death
  25. Mountain Caller – Chronicle I: The Truthseeker

Calder Dougherty

1. The Acacia Strain – Slow Decay
2. The 1975 – Notes On a Conditional Form
3. Unleash The Archers – Abyss
4. Terminal Nation – Holocene Extinction
5. END – Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face
6. WVRM – Colony Collapse
7. Covet – technicolor
8. Protest The Hero – Palimpsest
9. Misery Signals – Ultraviolet
10. Clown Core – Van
11. Emmure – Hindsight
12. Beneath The Massacre – Fearmonger
13. Orchards – Lovecore
14. Wombripper – Macabre Melodies
15. Svalbard – When I Die, Will I Get Better?
16. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
17. ELFENSJoN – STYX
18. Cross Bringer – The Signs of Spiritual Delusion
19. Focusrights – Ew, Music!
20. Nubya Garcia – Source
21. Benighted – Obscene Repressed
22. Satyr – Locus
23. STRAY KIDS – IN LIFE
24. Fawn Limbs – Sleeper Vessels
25. BLACKPINK – The Album

Karlo Doroc

  1. Code Orange – Underneath
  2. Trivium – What The Dead Men Say
  3. Bring Me The Horizon – POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR
  4. Psychonaut – Unfold the God Man
  5. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
  6. Katatonia – City Burials
  7. O’Brother – You and I
  8. Rina Sawayama – Sawayama
  9. Dragunov – Arkhipov
  10. Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
  11. HOWES3 – Moving Forward
  12. Haken – Virus
  13. Dragged Under – The World Is In Your Way
  14. Protest the Hero – Palimpest
  15. Chaos Divine – Legacies
  16. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
  17. Lespecial – Ancient Homies
  18. Thematic – Skyrunner
  19. Polaris – The Death of Me
  20. Grey Daze – Amends
  21. Currents – The Way it Ends
  22. Dark Fortress – Spectres From the Old World
  23. Run the Jewels – RTJ4
  24. Aronious – Perspicacity
  25. Deftones – Ohms 

Josh Bulleid

1. Code Orange – Underneath
2. Run the Jewels – RTJ4
3. Rina Sawayama – Sawayma
4. Deftones – Ohms
5. Sepultura – Quadra
6. Dragged Under – The World is in Your Way
7. Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity
8. Release the Blackness – Tragedy
9. Gold Key – Panic Machine
10. Testament – Titans of Creation
11. In Malice’s Wake – The Blindness of Faith
12. Dessiderium – Shadow Burn
13. Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
14. Killer Be Killed – Reluctant Hero
15. Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment
16. Intronaut – Fluid Existential Inversions
17. Carnosus – Dogma of teh Deceased
18. The Ocean – Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic
19. Palm Reader – Sleepless
20. Dark Fortress – Spectres from the Old World
21. Cryptic Shift – Visitations From Enceladus
22. Lady Gaga – Chromatica
23. End – Hesitation Wounds
24. Dyssidia – Costly Signals
25. Havok – V

Dave Zeidler

  1. Svalbard – When I Die, Will It Get Better?
  2. Dogleg – Melee
  3. Caspian – On Circles
  4. Hum – Inlet
  5. Bartees Strange – Live Forever
  6. Grayceon – MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES
  7. Run the Jewels – RTJ4
  8. Envy – The Fallen Crimson
  9. Respire – Black Line
  10. Greg Puciato – Child Soldier: Creator of God
  11. Boneflower – Armour
  12. Elder – Omens
  13. Pallbearer – Forgotten Days
  14. Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces, Everyone
  15. Intronaut – Fluid Existential Inversions
  16. Coastlands – Death
  17. Killer Be Killed – Reluctant Hero
  18. Stay Inside – Viewing
  19. Sharptooth – Transitional Forms
  20. sleepmakeswaves – these are not your dreams
  21. Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou – May Our Chambers Be Full
  22. Be Well – The Weight and the Cost
  23. Mountaineer – Bloodletting
  24. Show Me A Dinosaur – Plantgazer
  25. Mare Cognitum | Spectral Lore – Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine

Joe Astill

1. Loathe – I Let It In and It Took Everything
2. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
3. Déluge – Ægo Templo
4. Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
5. Kyros – Celexa Dreams
6. A.A. Williams – Forever Blue
7. Svalbard – When I Die, Will I Get Better?
8. Uniform – Shame
9. Rina Sawayama – SAWAYAMA
10. Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi
11. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
12. Haken – Virus
13. VASA – Heroics
14. Respire – Black Line
15. Code Orange – Underneath
16. Dragged Into Sunlight – Terminal Aggressor II
17. Caspian – On Circles
18. Afterbirth – Four Dimensional Flesh
19. Kairon; IRSE! – Polysomn
20. Eleanora – Mere
21. Against All Logic – 2017-2019
22. END – Splinters from an Ever-Changing Face
23. Run The Jewels – RTJ4
24. Jockstrap – Wicked City
25. Loma – Don’t Shy Away

Jimmy Rowe

  1. Bring Me The Horizon – POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR
  2. Protest the Hero – Palimpsest
  3. Wake – Devouring Ruin
  4. Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still
  5. Countless Skies – Glow
  6. Katatonia – City Burials
  7. Clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
  8. Defeated Sanity – The Sanguinary Impetus
  9. Pyrrhon – Abscess Time
  10. Undeath – Lesions of a Different Kind
  11. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide
  12. The 1975 – Notes On A Conditional Form
  13. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
  14. Black Curse – Endless Wound
  15. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville
  16. Thundercat – It Is What It Is
  17. Svalbard – When I Die, Will I Get Better?
  18. Expander – Neuropunk Boostergang
  19. Caustic Wound – Death Posture
  20. Wayfarer – A Romance With Violence
  21. VoidCeremony – Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel
  22. Bedsore – Hypnagogic Hallucinations
  23. Loathe – I Let It In And It Took Everything
  24. Cryptic Shift – Visitations From Enceladus
  25. Esoctrilihum – Eternity of Shaog
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