Matt’s Albums of the Year

In a year turned entirely upside-down by the global pandemic, music still found a way to be awesome and provide respite for our weary souls. For some reason, even-numbered years recently have not had any all-time pantheon-level releases, while odd years have always had one or two albums that tower above the rest; that trend persists here, as this year’s best material—while excellent—doesn’t hit my threshold for glory. If we did numerical ratings here, I would say that 95% and up is that standard, and I don’t think anything from 2020 exceeded about a 92%. But don’t misunderstand; while there’s … Read more

Matt’s Albums of the Decade, Part 4: #20 through #1


Part 1: 190-101
Part 2: 100-51
Part 3: 50-21

20. Enslaved – Riitiir (#2 of 2012)

It’s not hyperbolic to suggest that Enslaved’s entire nearly-twenty-year career was building up to the release of Riitiir. The opening bludgeon of “Thoughts like Hammers” evokes the swirling chaos of their mid-era experimental albums Mardraum and Monumension before settling into more comfortable territory akin to their Vertebrae prog-black sound. Tracks like “Veilburner” and “Materal” are comparable to their previous best work on albums like Axiōma ethica Odini, while the new heights they achieve with epic songs like “Death in the Eyes … Read more

Matt’s Albums of the Decade, Part 3: #50 through #21


Part 1: 190-101
Part 2: 100-51

50. Prince – Art Official Age (#3 of 2014)

I was very, very late to board the Prince train, only taking a real interest in his voluminous work with the 2014 dual release of this album and the tamer Plectrumelectrum. These releases came a whopping four years after his previous album 20 Ten, which is shocking because there had never been any time between 1978 and 2010 (32 years) where the Artist had allowed more than two years between releases! As fresh as ever, Mr. Nelson updated his mellifluous style with modern … Read more

Matt’s Albums of the Decade, Part 2: #100 through #51


Part 1: 190-101

100. Crib 45 – Marching through the Borderlines (#7 of 2014)

Burdened with an unfortunate name held over from their very early days as a nu-metal troupe, this Finnish post-metal powerhouse should not be underestimated. Crib 45 unloads riffs with glacial pacing and neutronium density, like the slow-burning but massively climactic quasi-title track “Borderlines” or the multilayered vocal conclusion of “Into the Abyss”. Teemu Mäntynen’s intense vocal delivery provides the acrid bite that takes otherwise standard, though well-composed, post-metal fare into another dimension of quality.

99. Serpent Column – Mirror in Darkness (#8 of 2019)

Is Serpent Read more

Matt’s Albums of the Decade, Part 1: #190 through #101


At the beginning of this decade, I lugged around not one but two binders of physical compact discs which I had purchased with money in order to listen to music I enjoyed. This rapidly became consolidated onto an iPod, which held thousands of albums, some of which I had purchased with money, giving me access to anything I already enjoyed at any time. Then a few years ago, I lost this device, which permanently changed my listening habits. I switched to carrying around an older iPhone with very limited space, so even with the streaming power of Tidal (yes, TidalRead more