Thank goodness 2020 is over. To keep with tradition we asked a few KAMPers to provide some awesome picks they thought stood out and were worth recognizing this past year. Check out their picks and stay tuned for more music reviews in 2021!
Brain B. - KAMPer and DJ
1. DJ Metatron - Loops of Infinity (A Rave Loveletter)
2. The Midnight - Monsters
3. AURAGRAPH - Memory Tracer
4. Korine - The Night We Raise
5. Destroyer - Have We Met
6. Sewerslvt - Draining Love Story
7. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher
8. The Weeknd - After Hours
9. Pottery - Welcome to Bobby's Motel
10. Nation of Language - Introduction, Please
Haley W. - KAMPer and DJ
1. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher
2. Alexandra Savior - The Archer
3. Hinds - Prettiest Curse
4. Fenne Lily - BREACH
5. Father John Misty - Anthem +3
Aidan M. - Mobile DJ Director
1. Disclosure- Energy
Annika R. - Head Music Director
1. depresión sonora by depresión sonora
2. fetch the bolt cutters by fiona apple
3. monument by molchat doma
4. do the duvet by naked roommate
5. fear of death by tim heidecker
6. saint cloud by waxahatchee
7. ultra mono by idles
8. phantom birds by matt berry
9. à la ô terre by population II
10. ultimate success today by protonartyr
11. divorce lawyers i shaved my head by jordaan mason & the horse museum
12. nightmare vacation by rico nasty
13. the great dismal by nothing
14. earthlings by little lizard
15. it will come easier by emma kupa
16. floral prince by field medic
17. sugarlegg by bully
Hari K. - KAMPer and DJ
1. Descendants of Cain by Ka
2. Bite the Bullet by Asun Eastwood x Daniel Son x Futurewave
3. IMMORTALKOMBAT by Al.Divino x Estee Nack
4. From King to God by Conway the Machine
5. Dump YOD by Your Old Droog
6. Kataklizm by Al.Divino
7. Price of Tea in China by Boldy James x The Alchemist
8. Ventilation by Family Gang Black
9. Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs x The Alchemist
10. Machs Hard Lemonade by Mach-Hommy
Nate S. - Metal Director and Engineering Director
This has been quite a year, my fellow humans. I’m not sure how other people handled their music this year, but I certainly got less interested in listening to new tunes. At the start of the lockdown stuff, I deep dived some new bands, but after a of couple of weeks I kind of retreated to my go to genres and playlists and to be honest I didn’t really give a shit about most albums released this year. This isn’t to say that no good albums came out this year, but if there were, I definitely didn’t listen to them. It is a bit sad to admit, but that’s the way it goes; perhaps I will revisit 2020 music next year?
Despite ignoring most new music this year, I did discover some old gems. I’ll give you a brief rundown of the top albums and songs that I enjoyed this year. In heavy rotation for me this year was: death metal, black metal, anime music, mariachi, and K-pop. Weird combination, I know, but these things happen. In no particular order, my top albums and songs of this shit show of the year:
1. Veleno ~ Fleshgod Apocalypse (2019) ~ Symphonic Death Metal
This album was also on my list last year, and it is so good that it made it back for this year as well. I slept on this album a bit when it first came out, but it has grown on me even more this year. This album is gorgeous, it has beautiful moments as well as extraordinarily heavy parts. Fleshgod Apocalypse really nailed it with Veleno; I highly recommend you check this album out. Some highlights of the album to me are the songs Monalisa, The Day We’ll be Gone, and Absinthe.
2. Whoracle ~ In Flames (1997) ~ Melodic Death Metal
In Flames have put out many albums but this is really the only one that I wholeheartedly enjoy. Guitars steal the stage here; every song is a masterclass of riffs. The vocals are simple yet amazing. Death metal vocals can easily get stale, but I never find myself bored with the vocal performance through the album. The drums and bass are not too extraordinary, but they don’t need to be because the writing is just that good. If I had to pick a favorite track, I would go with Gyroscope but that would likely be a disservice to the 3-5 other melodic death metal classics that are also on this epic record.
3. Gryningsvisor ~ Ofdrykkja (2019) ~ Black Metal / Ambient
This album was my pick of the year last year for good reason. It is hauntingly beautiful while also having heavy black metal parts. The album is more synth and guitar ambient music than it is black metal, but the black metal atmosphere and influence are very apparent. Many songs on this album are excellent, but a standout to me is Herr Mannelig. This song has beautiful singing vocals and very soft and meditative instrumentals. If you want an album to make you cry, or an album to listen to while pondering the meaning of life, look no further.
4. Century Child ~ Nightwish (2002) ~ Symphonic Metal
Nightwish was a band that got me into more extreme metal, and I think this is their best showing. From the opening choir vocals to the fade out of the last song, this album is beauty and sadness incarnate. I cannot overstate how good the writing of this album is. Each song is captivating, and I find myself listening to the entire album once I start listening to any specific song. Tarja’s vocals are great as ever and the orchestra and metal instrumentals complement her in a way that I have not heard on any other Nightwish album. The album is very melancholy lyrically, which is a perfect fit for the musical style. Tracks I would recommend are End of All Hope, Beauty of the Beast, and Ocean Soul.
5. Stormblast ~ Dimmu Borgir (1996) ~ Symphonic Black Metal
This album also really grew on me this year. As a 90s black metal album, it is relatively unpolished and the production is not very good. However, this album has great songs and the instrumental writing makes up for the deficiencies in the sound quality. Similar to 1997’s Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, the low quality and almost cheesy production choices are kind of charming in my opinion. The songs I would first recommend are Stormblast, Antikrist, and Alt Lys Er Svunnet Hen.
1. Todeswalzer ~ Windir (2001) ~ Black Metal / Folk Metal
I just got into this song recently, but it has been on heavy rotation for a couple weeks now. This song kicks off Windir’s 2001 album 1184, which also contains the masterpiece Journey to the End, but I think that Todeswalzer is the best of the album. The title translates to death waltz, and it is very fitting. The lyrics of this song are a bit morbid but also very optimistic and powerful. If I could recommend one black metal song, it would likely be this one.
2. Kom susser tod ~ End of Evangelion (1997) ~ Pop
I watched Evangelion this year in April I think, right when school was getting weird and the reality of the COVID situation was sinking in. It kind of emotionally wrecked me for a time, and this song was extremely powerful when I watched the accompanying movie. If you have seen The End of Evangelion, you know what I’m talking about. Kom susser tod is a really well written song which has a great dichotomy of poppy instrumentals and sad lyrics. Overall, this song isn’t my favorite song ever or anything, but it impacted me more than any other movie insert song I can remember.
3. Syphilis ~ Fleshgod Apocalypse (2016) ~ Symphonic Death Metal
Fleshgod Apocalypse’s second entry in this list, and for good reason. I have really been digging FA this year, and this might be my favorite song of theirs. The album this song is from, King, is excellent and worth checking out. Many other bangers on that album, I would recommend the songs Cold as Perfection and In Aeternum. Back to Syphilis, this song is brutal as hell but also remains beautiful. There are female operatic vocals as well as growled male vocals and they really complement each other. The song’s lyrics fit the heaviness of the instrumentals, it is a very depressing story with no happy ending. This song deserves a listen, but you might want to be in the right mood for it.
4. Worldfall ~ Nachtmystium (2008) ~ Black Metal
I found this band and song after deep diving some weird black metal bands earlier this year. I can’t say I enjoy much of Nachtmystium’s discography, but this song is a standout. It is a cool blend of heavy and melodic, with black metal guitars and some choir – like vocals. I would recommend you check out this song if you aren’t completely sold on black metal, it has a lot to offer.
5. Elegy ~ Becoming the Archetype (2005) ~ Progressive Death Metal
This song fucking slaps, you should listen to it. It is a progressive death metal epic, and it really takes the listener on a journey. The song is 11 and a half minutes long and I think that every second is worth it. Elegy has heaviness in spades, but it also has a touching piano bridge and very emotional themes throughout. If you like Dream Theater epics, but want something a little less polished and more brutal, you will love this.
Thank you for reading our picks! We look forward to writing more content in the new year. If you are looking to support KAMP tune into our live shows which will be scheduled for the semester by the end of January and follow us on all of our socials. #kampstudentradio