2020 has had a rather hit and miss start as far as rock music is concerned. Some big names who promised records have disappointed by not delivering to the standards that were expected of them, and some festival line-up announcements have been less than pleasing. However, this month has seen a partial turnaround in the world of rock and metal, with a number of bands (both famous and underground) rectrifying the year's slow start by releasing some great material. 

It's unclear at present if 2020 will be looked back on in years to come with fondness and admiration or not looked back on at all, but these following bands have done their part in solidifying the year's legacy with these fantastic albums. 

5. Hollywood Undead - New Empire, Vol. 1

(For fans of Rage Against the Machine and Cypress Hill)

Rap rock has always been seen as a divisive sub-genre within the ranks of metal music, with some of the more traditional rock fans accusing it of not being real metal. However, the precise musicianship and high level production from Hollywood Undead would beg to differ. 

Hollywood Undead - New Empire, Vol. 1Hollywood Undead - New Empire, Vol. 1

Despite only being nine tracks long, this new release from Hollywood Undead is their sixth record and follows on from 2017's 'Five'. 'New Empire, Vol. 2' has already been confirmed for release later in 2020, which makes some fans wonder why Hollywood Undead didn't just release 'New Empire' as a double album. 

4. Sortout - Conquer From Within

(For fans of Brutality Will Prevail and Killswitch Engage)

Since their formation 2008, member changes have seemingly become an element of the band's evolutionary process. This is partly why it has taken the Austrian metalcore outfit four years to release 'Conquer From Within', the band's second studio record. 

Sortout - Conquer From WithinSortout - Conquer From Within

This record was well worth the wait, however, as it's comprised of twelve powerful and conviction-packed metalcore tunes. Melodic techniques in the guitar delivery separates Sortout from traditional metalcore conventions, especially in songs such as 'Sever the Serpent's Tongue'. Other songs like 'Relentless' are more traditional with their approach, though this does not damage the variety or originality of the album.

3. H.E.A.T - H.E.A.T II

(For fans of Aerosmith and Whitesnake)

The Swedish classic rock band took a knock to their momentum with 2017's 'Into the Great Unknown' as it tanked critically and didn't do much better in the eyes of their fans. However, they recently returned to full strength with their sixth studio album which is for some reason called 'H.E.A.T II'.

H.E.A.T - H.E.A.T IIH.E.A.T - H.E.A.T II

With this record, H.E.A.T managed to find the perfect balance between their retro glam rock and powerful classic rock influences, resulting in a great traditional sounding rock record. Key singles such as 'Come Clean' and 'One by One' help the momentum of the record greatly, while stand out tracks like 'Victory' take centre stage.  

2. Lost Society - No Absolution

(For fans of Annihilator and Trivium)

Lost Society released their fourth studio album towards the end of February and are already looking to make it their biggest record to date. Hailing from Finland, the hard-hitting metal outfit feeds from a catalogue of influences and draws similarities with bands such as Anthrax and Pantera. 

Lost Society - No AbsolutionLost Society - No Absolution

'No Absolution' is the band's first full-length studio release since 2016's 'Braindead' and makes up for lost time from the outset. The opening track, 'Nonbeliever', sets the tone for the record while other tunes such as 'Blood on Your Hands' and 'Artificial' uphold the incredible standard of the album.

1. Kvelertak - Splid

(For fans of Baroness and Mastodon)

Officially categorised as black metal by most, Kvelertak are a long way from the traditional sound of this sub-genre, and are in fact an extremely unique band. Earlier this month, the Norwegian group released 'Splid', their fourth studio record and first with their current line-up. 

Kvelertak - SplidKvelertak - Splid

Including guest appearances from the likes of Mastodon's Troy Sanders, 'Splid' is potentially the band's best record to date with its polarising and completely original metal style. Kvelertak experimented with a number of techniques on this record and dominated them all, making 'Splid' a contender for the best metal of the year so far.