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70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Metal News for December 26, 2020

Last updated on April 23, 2021 at 7:17 AM ET

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OpEd

Diamond Oz: The Best Of 2020

Right off the bat, I know some of you are laughing at the idea that 2020 could offer a best of anything. It's been a year to forget for most of us, thanks largely to the COVID-19 virus, which has had a devastating effect across the globe. Metal is no exception to the impact of the corona virus, and subsequently, we've not been able to attend many shows this year, with tours being cancelled left and right and it being unknown when they'll return. We've also sadly lost some true icons this year, including Eddie Van Halen, Pete Way and Leslie West, as well as the tragic death of Power Trip frontman Riley Gale.

Nevertheless, every situation has a positive and when it comes to the music itself, metal does what it does best and fights against the negative with some stellar new albums, as well as some incredible new bands emerging and the reformation of such bands as Vektor, Genghis Tron and Trail Of Tears. In this article, we'll be recognising some of the year's best releases, best live bands (from the short time we were able to actually see live music) and the best newcomers. Starting with...


Best Live Band

As I may have mentioned once or twice already, live shows were a rarity this year and so much of the bands I saw came from my time on board 70000 Tons Of Metal, where there were some very strong contenders for best live performance. While Toxik, At The Gates, Possessed and The Agonist all put on blistering shows, delighting all who were lucky enough to attend, the two bands who really stood out this time were Mexican deathgrinders Brujeria and Irish folk metal pioneers Cruachan. Brujeria are always a treat live, never failing to combine extreme metal with humour and a decent slice of politics, plus there's nothing quite like boarding a boat to Florida from Mexico, with a crowd singing "La Migra" at the top of their lungs! Cruachan meanwhile fought through some technical difficulties and a very late time slot to thrill those who stayed up to see them, before packing out the bar on the third night for their version of an Irish pub sing along, leading hundreds of metal fans in stirring renditions of such staples as "Seven Drunken Nights", "Come Out Ye Black And Tans" and of course, "Ride On." However my pick for best live band goes to a quartet who are about to unleash their first album in seven years and who weren't on board 70000 Tons this year.

Eyehategod

In what had to be the best package tour to actually happen this year, Napalm Death collected a motley crew of some of metal's best to wreck the ears of European headbangers, storming across Europe with Eyehategod, Misery Index, Rotten Sound and Bat. Each one of these bands were absolutely fantastic and it's always hard to top Napalm Death live, as it is Rotten Sound, but somehow Eyehategod did it. With fearsome energy, Mike IX's "fuck you" attitude and Jimmy Bower's exemplary riffs, the four piece absolutely tore Leeds apart on a cold February night. There were some in the crowd who weren't familiar with the New Orleans icons, but by the end of their set, they were cheered as heroes by all in attendence. One young lady I spoke to before their set that didn't know them was nearly in tears after by how overwhelmed she was by their performance. That new album can't come soon enough. More...

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