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The Year in Active/Alt Rock 2020: Despite pandemic, the music keeps coming

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While the COVID-19 pandemic essentially put all touring on hold, artists still released new music in 2020.

Before the pandemic took hold, Green Day started off the year with a bang thanks to Father of All…, a 26-minute punk ripper. Tame Impala brought the psychedelic with The Slow Rush, while Ozzy Osbourne and Five Finger Death Punch dropped the heavy with Ordinary Man and F8, respectively. By the end of March, the release schedules for the most part held true, with Pearl Jam closing out the month with their new record, Gigaton.

Then, the delays started pouring in. Over the spring and summer, we’d eventually get new albums including The StrokesThe New Abnormal, Paramore frontwoman Hayley William‘s debut solo record Petals for Armor, and The KillersImploding the Mirage, as well as releases from Trivium, The 1975, Asking Alexandria, HAIM, Chester Bennington‘s pre-Linkin Park band Grey Daze, Bush, Avatar, Glass Animals, Biffy Clyro, and Seether.

As we headed into the fall, some big albums dropped, including DeftonesOhms, Marilyn Manson‘s WE ARE CHAOS, Puscifer‘s Existential Reckoning and Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor‘s solo debut, CMFT. Meanwhile, Machine Gun Kelly introduced himself to the rock world with his Travis Barker collaboration Tickets to My Downfall, and The Smashing Pumpkins returned with the double album CYR.

In between, System of a Down returned with their first new songs in 15 years.

AC/DC helped close out the year with Power Up, which was recorded by the surviving members of the band’s classic Back in Black lineup. The album was dedicated to late guitarist Malcolm Young, who died in 2017.

Unfortunately, the pandemic didn’t allow for every planned 2020 album to drop this year. Foo Fighters‘ 10th studio effort was set to arrive sometime this year to coincide with the band’s 25 anniversary, but ended getting pushed to 2021. The record, titled Medicine at Midnight, is due out in February.

Other albums set to arrive in 2021 include Greta Van Fleet‘s sophomore effort The Battle at Garden’s Gate, the third album from Royal Blood, and the debut record from Mammoth WVH, the solo project of Wolfgang Van Halen, the son of the late Eddie Van Halen.

By Josh Johnson
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