Jan 012021


To the Teeth is the name of a Facebook-based metal blog that began life in May of 2016, and has expanded into a newsletter format. The proprietor, Dutch writer Peter van der Ploeg, regularly posts about new extreme metal songs and full releases, and as the year goes along he adds selected music to a growing Spotify playlist. He also has a Reddit thread in which he often goes into greater depth about what appears more briefly at To the Teeth on FB.

Peter has posted his own personal 2020 Top 20 list, which you can see HERE, but he again compiled a “List of Lists”, as he has done in past years. To do that he began by assembling a population of 87 year-end lists from 26 international critics, magazines, blogs, and other publications. Those included a lot of “big platform” mainstream publications as well as lists from metal-only outlets such as our own; those 87 also included separate staff lists from some sites (such as our own). This year, these were the lists he included in the aggregation process:

Angry Metal Guy (x 10), Bandcamp, Consequence of Sound, Cursed, Cvlt Nation (x4), Decibel, Forbes, Hardforce, Invisible Oranges (x10), Kerrang, Last Rites (x7), Metal Hammer (x11), MetalInjection (x9), Metalinsider, MetalSucks (x6), Mondo Sonoro, No Clean Singing (x5), Popmatters (x2), Revolver, Riff Magazine, Stereogum, The Quietus, To The Teeth (that’s me), Toilet ov Hell (x7), Treble, Zes Losse Tanden. All together, these lists included a total of 597 records.

Peter assigned point values to the selections based on the rankings they received at their original locations: “I gave every number 1 position 10 points. A second place got 8 points, a third 6 and the rest of the top-10 positions got 5 points. A top-25 was 3 points, and everything below 1. When two records had equal points, the amount of list mentions prevailed. When those were equal as well, the amount of number 1’s (or, subsequently number 2’s) counted.”

Through those calculations, he came up with a Top 100 “list of lists”. And, with Peter’s permission, I’m re-posting those 100 names from To the Teeth’s “list of lists”, as we’ve done before. To read Peter’s thoughts about the outcomes, go HERE (Facebook) or HERE (Reddit), though I’m excerpting some of those comments below.

As always, thanks to Peter for all this hard work.




(written by Peter van der Ploeg)

Oranssi Pazuzu’s Mestarin kynsi is the best metal album of 2020! This is the result of an analysis of almost 100 end of the year lists from international (metal) magazines, newspapers, blogs and other publications. Oranssi Pazuzu tops a list of almost 600 records, following in the footsteps of past winners Blood Incantation (2019), Yob (2018), Converge (2017) and Vektor (2016).

The Finnish psychedelic black metallers Oranssi Pazuzu apparently offered the perfect kind of escapism with Mestarin kynsi, the kind listeners around the globe could very well use this wretched year: they stand far and above the rest, with 166 points. Number two are nu-metal-era alternative darlings Deftones’ Ohms (124 points), and on three is longstanding UK grind/death act Napalm Death (112 points), who surprised friend and foe with Throes Of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism. Following on number #4 is the technical death metal of Ulcerate (103) from New Zealand – just one point in front of Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou (102), the collaboration between the California post-rock singer and the Louisiana sludge band. Quite the diversity in style and geography.


Last year we saw a lot of big bands taking points. Of course they have the advantage of just being big, so it’s something to take in account – without dismissing their quality. This year Napalm Death might qualify, like Katatonia and maybe Code Orange. Bigger bands I had expected higher up because of their name ánd their releases, are Vader, Sepultura, Pain of Salvation, Benediction, Benighted, Alestorm, Ayreon and, perhaps most surprisingly, Nightwish. The apex symphonic band was named only once, outside a top 10. Considering the hype, I expected Akhlys to be a little higher, they were on just three lists. Totally living up to their hype though is US black metal act Lamp of Murmuur, who reached up to place #19 (in a perfect tie with Mr. Bungle, both with 56 points).


1. Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi (psychedelic black from Finland)
2. Deftones – Ohms (alternative from the USA)
3. Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (grind/death from the UK)
4. Ulcerate – Stare Into Death and be Still (tech death from New Zealand)
5. Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou – May Our Chambers Be Full (sludge/doom from the USA)
6. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville (avantgarde/tech black/death from the USA)
7. Code Orange – Underneath (metalcore from the USA)
8. Sweven – The Eternal Resonance (progressive death from Sweden)
9. The Ocean – Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic / Cenozoic (prog/sludge/post-hardcore from Germany)
10. Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron (epic heavy from the USA)

11. Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity (doom/heavy from the USA)
12. Cirith Ungol – Forever Black (heavy/doom from the USA)
13. Katatonia – City Burials (prog/doom from Sweden)
14. Black Curse – Endless Wounds (death from the USA)
15. Havukruunu – Uinuos Syömein Sota (pagan black from Finland)
16. Paysage d’Hiver – Im Wald (black/ambient from Switzerland)
17. Svalbard – When I Die, WIll I Get Better? (post-hardcore/metalcore from the UK)
18. Pallbearer – Forgotten Days (doom from the USA)
19. Lamp Of Murmuur – Heir of Ecliptical Romanticism (black from the USA)
19 (ex aequo). Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath Of the Easter Bunny (fusion/experimental from the USA)
20. Necrot – Mortal (death from the USA)

21. Paradise Lost – Obsidian (doom/death/gothic from the UK)
22. Killer Be Killed – Reluctant Hero (metalcore/groove from the USA)
23. Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment (industrial black/grind from the UK)
24. Thy Catafalque – Naiv (avantgarde from Hungary)
25. Enslaved – Utgard (prog black/viking from Norway)
26. Wake – Devouring Ruin (grind/crust/black from Canada)
27. Cryptic Shift – Visitations From Enceladus (tech thrash/death from the UK)
28. Wayfarer – A Romance With Violence (atmospheric black/folk from the USA)
29. Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night (prog from the USA)
30. Gulch – Imprenable Cerebral Fortress (hardcore from the USA)

31. Spectral Lore & Mare Cognitum – Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine (atmoblack/ambient from Greece & atmoblack from the USA)
32. Armored Saint – Punching the Sky (heavy from the USA)
33. Unleash the Archers – Abyss (power from Canada)
34. Uada – Djinn (melodic black from the USA)
35. Atramentus – Stygian (funeral doom from Canada)
36. Esoctrilihum – Eternity of Shaog (prog black from France)
37. Intronaut – Fluid Existential Inversions (progressive/post from the USA)
38. Defeated Sanity – The Sanguinary Impetus (tech/brutal death from Germany)
39. Vile Creature – Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm! (sludge/drone/doom from Canada)
40. Fluisteraars – Bloem (black from the Netherlands)

41. Pyrrhon – Abscess Time (tech death from the USA)
42. Protest The Hero – Palimpsest (prog metalcore from Canada)
43. My Dying Bride – Ghost of Orion (gothic/doom from the UK)
44. Xibalba – Años En Infierno (death/hardcore from the USA)
45. Malokarpatan – Krupinské Ohne (black/heavy from Slovakia)
46. Afterbirth – Four-Dimensional Flesh (progressive brutal death from the USA)
47. Ulver – Flowers of Evil (avantgarde/electronica from Norway)
48. Midnight – Rebirth By Blasphemy (black/speed from the USA)
49. The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous (melodic death from the USA)
50. Undergang – Aldig i Livet (death from Denmark)

  6 Responses to “LISTMANIA 2020: TO THE TEETH’S “LIST OF LISTS””

  1. My top 10+1

    a grey chill and whisper

    the sons of perdition chapter 2

    stare into death and be still


    a romance with violence

    the dead are screaming

    Temple of void
    the world that was

    the funeral pyre

    Puritan Masochism

    old smoke


  2. Always fascinating – seeing the synthesis across so many different sites – and a fun read. Thanks for linking – and thanks to Peter for going to the effort. And congrats to Oranssi Pazuzu!

  3. Lamp of Murmuur getting named dropped so often this year honestly makes me curious how a project that seems to pride itself on being an underground kvlt act that only releases a limited number of physical releases will react to all this attention.

  4. Great at last to see Vile Creature’s LP on a list, or on this list of lists, I’ve been surprised at how few lists I’ve seen this on.
    No Primitive Man or Panzerfaust surprised me, given that I’ve seen both on quite a few lists, more so the former. I suspect they were in the bottom 50.
    I think the combination of underground and more commercial lists pushed out many of the favourites that would have got much higher if it was just sites like NCS, IO, AMG, etc. I had a look at lists from a more commercial site last night, and while it was great to see one or two LPs like Sepultura’s recognised that seem to have been a bit forgotten, the big acts dominated – I saw one list with Lamb of God first, and it’s an ok LP in my view but really not that special.
    Thanks for posting, must have been a lot of work by Peter to put this together.

  5. One album that seems to be missing from a lot of lists is the Bell Witch Aerial Ruin collaboration. Genuinely thought it was amazing and beautiful.

  6. So glad to see Malokarpatan getting some love. I feel like that one was absent from far too many lists I have seen thus far and it’s a top 3 for me this year.

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