Dirty Dozen: Mark's Top Three of 2020

Annihilator Ballistic, Sadistic

Ballistic, Sadistic is the eighteenth studio album of Canadian Thrash Metal titans Annihilator, but more than simply adding yet another notch on to an impressively long and steadfast career within a choppy music industry - one that has historically not been forgiving to Canadian Metal acts - Ballistic, Sadistic is an undeniable return to the glory days of 1994's Never, Neverland for Jeff Waters and his band that has weathered many storms, band member changes, legal battles and even a death. Ballistic, Sadistic ends as strongly as it opens and no single instrumentation steals the show; this album is a further heightening of technical musicianship in a genre that is known for technicality. It, of course, doesn't hurt that it represents Canada's small, but tightknit, Metal community on the global stage.


Stand out track: ALL OF THEM!

***


Matthew Good Moving Walls

As an ardent fan of Canada's CanRock Revolution, Matthew Good has a special place in my heart. From the MGB era to the fledgling moments of his solo career, every new album is beloved by me personally. As a first generation immigrant, who moved to Canada in his twenties, a memory that stands out as my most cherished music memory in our impossibly large nation is seeing Matthew Good perform Beautiful Midnight in its entirety for the 20th anniversary of the album's release and being flawed by the synchronized "kickass" lights that punched through the darkness as the intro to Giant kicked in. 2020's Moving Walls was a large departure from Good's eponymous sound, but in a way that was innovative and catchy; where the instantly recognizable, haunting sound of his voice reassures you in to the listening experience.


Stand out track: Sicily

***


Protest The Hero Palimpsest

As a new Canadian who was a massive fan of the Canadian Metal that was making waves on the British and European open-air festival circuit in the 2000s and early 2010s, I - much like many others - fell in love with Protest The Hero. That love was cemented when their sound began to mature and they moved in to a more refined arena of technical musicianship and further away from the bombastic assault of their debut album. 2020's Palimpsest furthers the maturity we saw break through in releases such as 2013's Volition, this year's offering in Palimpsest also offers the finest technical prowess we've heard from the band to date; with Guitar and Drum syncopation that'll leave your head spinning. There's also a positively haunting dramatic undertone to Rody Walker's voice in his vocal range on this album that offers up an added punch to this record's delivery.


Stand out track: Gift Horse


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