Top 30 Rock and Metal Songs of 2020 (So Far)

2020-07-09

Audio Ink’s top rock and metal songs of 2020 (so far) – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photos

From Testament to Hatebreed to Five Finger Death Punch, here are Audio Ink’s top rock and metal songs of 2020 (so far)

To say 2020 has been a unique year would be an understatement. With coronavirus (COVID-19) preventing concerts and festivals from happening across the world, rock and metal fans have been turning to new music this year, more than ever, to get their music fix.

Thankfully, the first half of 2020 brought a collection of tremendous hard rock and heavy metal tunes to give listeners something to jam while waiting for live music to return. From Primal Fear to Five Finger Death Punch, read on for Audio Ink Radio’s Top 30 (okay, it’s 31) Rock and Metal Songs of 2020 (So Far). The list is in alphabetical order.

Read the full list below, and listen to a discussion on the songs via the Audio Ink podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

Anvil, “Legal at Last”

There’s no denying how refreshing it is to see the guys of Anvil back out there, releasing new music and getting some of the recognition they deserve. “Legal at Last,” the title track off their new album, features crunchy guitars and a punk-edge, folded inside a heavy metal tune.

August Burns Red, “Defender”

It’s great to see August Burns Red still making chugging, modern metal music, year after year. With “Defender,” the guys serve up blistering riffs and add a progressive metal slant.

Avatar, “Silence in the Age of Apes”

Remember that time we were all worried Avatar was going to do an early retirement move? Thankfully, they didn’t, and the Swedish metal band is back with a thrash-y new single, “Silence in the Age of Apes.”

Body Count, “Bum-Rush”

Ice-T and company don’t mess around when it comes to aggressive heavy metal tunes that touch on social commentary. On “Bum-Rush,” the guys churn out mile-high guitar solos and fist-pumping riffing, making it one of the band’s most engaging songs to date.

Clint Lowery, “Distance”

Sevendust guitarist Corey Lowery is using his time in quarantine wisely: by recording and releasing a surprise EP. “Distance.” The lead single off his “Grief & Distance” album presents Lowery’s yearning vocals with an atmospheric, chugging guitar line.

Ellefson, “Over Now” (Post Malone cover)

When a band like Ellefson covers a Post Malone track, you know you have to listen. David Ellefson of Megadeth does a killer job on the cover of “Over Now,” along with Thom Hazaert, Bumblefoot, Andy Martongelli and Paolo Caridi. It’s a talented, star-studded lineup, and the result is a very special rendition.

Enuff Z’nuff, “Fatal Distraction”

Chip and Enuff Z’nuff are back with a new album, “Brainwashed Generation,” and the new music has lots of catchiness and pop sensibility. “Fatal Distraction” is a fun, upbeat rock song with an poppy beat.

Evanescence, “Wasted on You”

Evanescence was supposed to tour with Within Temptation this spring, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, that tour has been moved to 2021. At least fans got new music from both bands, and with Evanescence’s “Wasted on You,” they got a fresh dose of Amy Lee’s guttural vocals and hard rock instrumentals.

Firewind, “Overdrive”

Gus G and Firewind are back with a new, self-titled album, and it’s filled with solid, triumphant power metal. “Overdrive” is a stand-out with its classic, heavy metal anthem style and positive undertone.

Five Finger Death Punch, “A Little Bit Off”

“A Little Bit Off” is an apt description for 2020, which is why Five Finger Death Punch’s single seems so appropriate this year. The song, off their “F8” album, has vocalist Ivan Moody talking about a daily battle with mental health, which strikes a chord with many fans.

Grey Daze, “Sickness”

Chester Bennington’s pre-Linkin Park band Grey Daze have a new album out this summer, “Amends,” and lead single “Sickness” shows Bennington’s raw talent, even as a teenager. “Sickness,” and the rest of “Amends,” features Bennington’s remastered vocals coupled with a set of newly recorded music.

Hatebreed, “When the Blade Drops”

Between his podcast and solo project, Jamey Jasta is an extremely busy guy, so it’s special when his band Hatebreed delivers something new. “When the Blade Drops” is a fast-paced, aggressive, hardcore gem that shows Hatebreed’s best years are still ahead.

In This Moment, “The In-Between”

In This Moment’s latest record, “Mother,” is classic In This Moment, with vocalist Maria Brink’s breathy vocals and a heavy, electronic backing. It’s the perfect snapshot of the rest of the band’s “Mother” album.

L.A. Guns, “Let You Down”

Sometimes, you just need new L.A. Guns, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. L.A. Guns released “Let You Down” in early May, and the ballad stands out for its atmospheric sonics and deep groove.

Lamb of God, “Memento Mori”

Randy Blythe’s lyrics often comment on society and politics, so what better a time to get new Lamb of God music as now? The band’s latest single, “Memento Mori,” features the band’s trademark groove and Blythe’s cutting vocals.

Machine Head, “Stop the Bleeding”

Robb Flynn brings the heavy to Machine Head’s latest single, “Stop the Bleeding,” and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the song features a guest appearance from Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach. The song makes a social statement, but the solid musicianship really makes this song soar.

Ozzy Osbourne featuring Elton John, “Ordinary Man”

As an iconic heavy metal vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne isn’t known for showing off his vulnerable side, but that’s exactly what he does on “Ordinary Man,” and boy, does it work. On “Ordinary Man,” off his album by the same name, Ozzy delivers a subtle metal ballad, and it’s one of the best of his career.

Paradise Lost, “Fall From Grace”

“Fall From Grace,” the debut single off Paradise Lost’s new “Obsidian” album, carries the kind of mournful vibe that seems appropriate for 2020. With a slow, sludgy groove and super cool riffing, this track stands out as one of the most interesting in heavy metal this year.

Primal Fear, “I Am Alive”

The rhythms on Primal Fear’s “I Am Alive” immediately beg for some head-bopping and fist-pumping, and when Ralf Scheepers’ soaring vocals come in, it completes a perfect metal anthem. The song, off Primal Fear’s upcoming “Metal Commando” album, also features a super-catchy chorus that shows metal music can be beautiful.

Red, “The War We Made”

Red have been going strong for years, and the Christian hard rock band still delivers melodic-yet-brutal songs. On “The War We Made,” the Nashville band offers a melodic chorus and powerful vocals that sticks in your head for days.

Ross the Boss, “Maiden of Shadows”

Ross the Boss is known for churning out grand-sounding metal material, and “Maiden of Shadows” is no exception. With cutting vocals, chugging rhythms and a catchy, melodic chorus, “Maiden of Shadows” is everything you would expect from a classic metal tune, brought into 2020.

Seether, “Dangerous”

Shaun Morgan and Seether are back with a new album, “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum,” out in August, and the album’s lead single is a catchy, riffy track called “Dangerous.” The album is the band’s first to feature new guitarist Corey Lowery, and he brings a great vibe to the sound and style of Seether.

Sepultura, “Last Time”

Sepultura bring the thrash on “Last Time.” Featuring fiery riffing, symphonic touches and a hint of death metal, “Last Time” shows Sepultura are nowhere near their “last time” when it comes to making incredible music.

Sevendust, “The Day I Tried to Live” (Soundgarden cover)

The Sevendust crew is back with their first bit of new music in two years, and it’s a cover of the Soundgarden classic “The Day I Tried to Live.” The song’s message seems appropriate for 2020, and LJ Witherspoon’s vocals sound incredible as he pays tribute to the late, great Chris Cornell.

10 Years, “The Shift”

The guys of 10 Years have a knack for keeping their signature, thick and riff-y hard rock sound throughout the years. “The Shift,” the band’s latest single, features that classic 10 Years style, with tremendous vocals from Jesse Hasek.

Testament, “Night of the Witch”

Testament’s latest album, “Titans of Creation,” really shows how diverse these thrash legends can be, even decades into their careers. Chuck Billy’s singing voice really stands out on the set, and “Night of the Witch” is a shining example of his vocal power and might.

The Pretty Reckless, “Death by Rock and Roll”

It’s been a minute since the Pretty Reckless have released new material, but they came back in a big way this spring with “Death by Rock and Roll.” Taylor Momsen and the band dish out a raw and real rock ‘n’ roll anthem with the song, as she sings, “But on my tombstone when I go / Just put ‘Death by Rock and Roll.'”

Todd Sucherman, “Last Flight Home”

Todd Sucherman of Styx released his first-ever solo album this year, “Last Flight Home.” The album’s title track features Sucherman’s honey-sounding vocals and rich melodies. His voice is both soothing and enticing.

Trivium, “What the Dead Men Say”

Trivium always delivers in the duel-guitar department, and the band’s latest studio album, “What the Dead Men Say,” is an apt example. On the album’s title track, Matt Heavy and company serve up an arsenal of modern metal sounds and styles, packed into a tight track.

U.D.O., “We Are One”

The title track from U.D.O.’s “We Are One” album brings together chugging metal guitars and rhythms with a message of hope and togetherness. “We are one – we are free / And we need a place to be / We are one – we will rise / Gonna be no compromise,” Udo Dirkschneider sings in the chorus.

Upon Wings, “Amazing Grace”

Upon Wings, the band fronted by Audio Ink managing editor Anne Erickson, released an new version of “Amazing Grace” right as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold. The song, featuring music by Seether guitarist Corey Lowery, also brought an uplifting music video about holding on to hope and faith in uncertain times.

Within Temptation, “Entertain You”

Within Temptation released a new single this spring, the hard-charging “Entertain You,” and the track is already a fan favorite. Sharon den Adel and company present a super-catchy, fun metal anthem with “Entertain You,” which is exactly what fans need right now.

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