Before I go into my albums of the year, I wanted to give the often overlooked format of the EP the love it deserves. I tried to keep this list to a Top 10, but narrowing it down was difficult, so I’ve added 10 more honorable mentions – check ’em out!
Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):
DVNE – Omega Severer
Lila Tristram – Our Friends Pts. I & II
Moon Destroys – Maiden Voyage
Phoebe Bridgers – Copycat Killer
PUP – This Place Sucks Ass
Resin Tomb – Resin Tomb
Soul Glo – Songs to Yeet at the Sun
Thorn – The Encompassing Nothing
Zeal & Ardor – Wake of a Nation
10) High Command – Everlasting Torment
Good thrash riffs are good thrash riffs! In a subgenre that’s only slightly less crowded than say black metal or stoner metal, it can be hard to make a name for yourself. But playing to the high standard they do, it’s not hard to see why High Command has made risen above the pack.
9) CHNNLR – Chrysalis
If you didn’t see Jason Roberts’ (of CHNNLR/Breaths) AOTY list the other day, here it is. Jason is an excellent musician who happens to play a combination of styles that’s right up my alley, and this EP (created by him and collaborator Jeremy Brooks) is a great example of that.
8) Egor Lappo – Make the Sun Shine More
If you’re familiar with this site, you’re probably at least aware of Egor’s prolific output. This EP marks the man’s strongest vocal work to date, and serves as a pivotal transition point for his next LP.
7) Luwten – Door
A very moody yet soothing EP, Luwten‘s Door does excellent job at laying out contrasting human needs for companionship and solitude.
6) Holy Fawn – The Black Moon
One of the best newer bands out there. As far as I’m concerned, Holy Fawn can do no wrong – the only issue with this EP is that it isn’t longer!
5) Backxwash – STIGMATA
Ok, spoiler alert: one of two artists who appear on both of my ranked EP and album lists for 2020. STIGMATA pairs well with God Has Nothing To Do With This…, but the hooks hit even harder on this EP!
4) Jesu – Never
“Never There For You” is one of my favorite songs of the year. The rest of this EP sort of centers around that song, a decision that pays off nicely.
3) Moon Tooth – Violent Grief: Acoustic Selections
I almost thought about excluding this EP because most of these songs are just acoustic versions of songs the band has already released, but man, Moon Tooth is too good! These songs take on a life of their own, and “Six of Swords” is an excellent addition to the band’s catalog (plus it has a bass solo!).
2) The White Swan – Nocturnal Transmission
D o o m g a z e!!! I love that this subgenre is gaining more traction, I think there’s still so much potential within it, and Nocturnal Transmission exhibits that. The crushing instrumentation is juxtaposed perfectly with singing drummer Mercedes Lander’s emotive clean vocals.
1) Serpent Column – Endless Detainment
Unbridled and unhinged fury. This EP basically sounds like black metal Converge, while also managing to make Converge sound like the Grateful Dead. Mind-blowing from start to finish!