I threatened to do this at the time and pretty much knew I was going to, but more than half a year has passed since I wrapped up the Top 20 of 2010, so I thought it was about time for an honest assessment of how these albums have held up for 2011. Just one or two sentences each. We’ll start with number 20 and work down to one:
20. Electric Wizard, Black Masses – The only reason this wasn’t higher on the list was because I got the album the week I started posting and its American release date wasn’t until January. It still rules, but I don’t listen to it nearly as much as I did at first.
19. Melvins, The Bride Screamed Murder – Couple killer tracks, but yeah, I don’t think I’ve put this on since I posted it as number 19.
18. Zoroaster, Matador – Ditto.
17. Triptykon, Eparistera Daimones – Dig it, but rarely in the mood.
16. Earthride, Something Wicked – Should listen to this again. Like, now.
15. The Wounded Kings, The Shadow Over Atlantis – Haven’t heard it in a while, but still looking forward to their new one.
14. Wovenhand, The Threshingfloor – This probably should have been higher on the list than it was, but there’s only so much room.
13. Dopefight, Buds – Rocks but hasn’t had much staying power.
12. Brant Bjork, Gods and Goddesses – Not what I reach for when I reach for Brant Bjork, but still a decent record.
11. The Brought Low, 3 – Should’ve cracked the top 10.
10. Kylesa, Spiral Shadow – Still in my CD wallet, but not played as often. Was great to see this material live on the Metalliance tour though.
9. Yawning Man, Nomadic Pursuits – My association for this one with the month last summer in Vermont is so strong I still can’t put it on and not think of that trip, which, at this point, just makes me kind of sad.
8. Asteroid, II – Yeah, I fucking love this album. That might just be a permanent thing.
7. Clamfight, Volume I – The sentiment factor here is high, and that fuels many drunken late-night listens.
6. Ufomammut, Eve – Until literally the day I posted it as number six, this was number one on my list. Still just as easily could have been. Brilliant.
5. Enslaved, Axioma Ethica Odini – Kind of fell off the radar, but still a killer back half. Heard “The Beacon” for the first time in forever last night and it killed.
4. Fatso Jetson, Archaic Volumes – Timeless. Not something I go to every day, but something I’ll check in on for years to come.
3. Hypnos 69, Legacy – I continue to not be worthy of this album. If there was a council for such things, they would come to my house and remove it from my possession.
2. Grinderman, Grinderman 2 – It should say something that I haven’t listened to this in six months, but I can still remember each track in my head just by seeing the name. Not sure what that says, but something, anyway.
1. Solace, A.D. – This is pretty much where this record belongs, since it’s probably what I’ll define the year by as far as music goes. “Oh, 2010? Yeah, that was the year Solace put out that killer record,” and so forth. Bittersweet in light of their breakup, but at least they went out with a bang.
There you have it: a fearless and searching moral inventory of last year’s highlight releases. Among the slew of honorable mentions from that list (there were plenty), I still rock the Astrosoniq and Quest for Fire discs on the regular, but the rest doesn’t get as much play as some of it deserves. Considering my steady review backlog, something’s got to really strike a nerve to get repeat listens these days, which some of those records did and some didn’t. Minimal regrets on how the list came out, though, which I guess could be worse.