Every decade has its own set of trends that define it. It normally takes hindsight to see what will make a particular decade stand out but 2020 has already made a horrifyingly immediate distinction for itself. A pandemic-induced alteration of the scene itself has resulted in delayed releases, canceled tours, musicians at near equal ratios of inspiration and burnout, Zoom as a primary means of communication, and livestreams taking the place of proper concerts. All things considered, I am glad that a top albums list could still be made with a multitude of strong candidates. It’s been a shitty year with the light at the end of the tunnel still out of sight, but we still got tunes.
Consisting entirely of musicians from the eccentric Demon Bitch with equally esoteric pseudonyms, Detroit’s White Magician settles firmly into the world of heavy Occult Rock on their first full-length album. “The Agents Of Fortune”-esque cover art is enough to indicate that any comparisons to Blue Öyster Cult are likely intentional; the band exercises a similarly freerolling attitude with an ominous undercurrent. But while Dealers Of Divinity (Cruz Del Sur Music) gambles on a well-trod formula, the group seems to have a couple of aces up their sleeves.
Butterfly’s full-length debut isn’t the least bit shy about its Seventies Rock inspirations. That is made immediately apparent with the cover art contrasting Vikings and a mystical title with an innocuous band name, but the music plays out like a grab-bag of Montrose, Uriah Heep, and Budgie among others. Its free-spirited attitude is comparable to their contemporaries in Freeways and one can occasionally detect hints of otherworldly haziness in line with Tanith and Brimstone Coven.Continue reading