In Repeated Praise of “Rise Radiant” by Caligula’s Horse (2020 Album of the Year)

“You, you were leading us into autumn, ever forward.” When Caligula’s Horse released Rise Radiant at the end of May, only the Lord knew how the chorus of the album’s gorgeous penultimate track would become a prayer of hopeful anticipation and later a psalm of praise as those prayers were answered just two months later. … Continue reading In Repeated Praise of “Rise Radiant” by Caligula’s Horse (2020 Album of the Year)

In Praise of “Virus” by Haken (#2 in 2020’s Top Ten)

Lest anyone think that this album is an attempt at Covid-themed marketing, Haken was marketing a pandemic well before it was in vogue to do so. A direct sequel to 2018’s Vector, Virus was one of the year’s most anticipated albums from the prog metal sphere, and will likely occupy the Album of the Year … Continue reading In Praise of “Virus” by Haken (#2 in 2020’s Top Ten)

In Praise of “Shadow Burn” by Dessiderium (#3 in 2020’s Top Ten)

Shadow Burn, by one-man act Dessiderium, is a brutal album. I do not mean simply in the musical sense - one could assume that just by looking at the cover - but lyrically as well. Dedicated to Jannelle Rosness, the deceased significant other of Dessiderium’s Alex Haddad, Shadow Burn is a gruesomely intense lament of … Continue reading In Praise of “Shadow Burn” by Dessiderium (#3 in 2020’s Top Ten)

In Praise of “Keeper of Days” by Jon Guerra (#4 in 2020’s Top Ten)

When jesusfreakhideout[dot]com gives an album a perfect grade, I listen to it. That has been my rule of thumb for the past five years when it comes to keeping up with new releases in the Christian market, and it has yet to disappoint me. I had never heard of Jon Guerra prior to Keeper of … Continue reading In Praise of “Keeper of Days” by Jon Guerra (#4 in 2020’s Top Ten)

In Praise of “Eleventh Hour” by Novena (#5 in 2020’s Top Ten)

There are some albums or songs that immediately transport you back to an exact moment or period of time whenever you hear a certain note or section of a song. Eleventh Hour, from prog metal supergroup Novena, takes me back to the eleventh hour of the pre-Covid world and the first weeks of the pandemic, … Continue reading In Praise of “Eleventh Hour” by Novena (#5 in 2020’s Top Ten)

In Praise of “Palimpsest” by Protest The Hero (#6 on 2020’s Top Ten)

Few frontmen in music today are as unique - and confusing - as Protest the Hero’s Rody Walker. A vocalist that sings like an 80s rock superstar but writes blatantly punk-style lyrics, Walker doesn’t sing like he writes and writes what should be impossible to sing well. But to give him credit, his bizarre style … Continue reading In Praise of “Palimpsest” by Protest The Hero (#6 on 2020’s Top Ten)

In Praise of “Ellengæst” by Crippled Black Phoenix (#7 in 2020’s Top Ten)

Ellengæst, from UK revolving-door post-rock project Crippled Black Phoenix, is an album that, on paper, ought to be an absolute mess. A thorough treatment on depression and optimism featuring a roster of musicians from the more extreme ends of metal who play and sing everything *but* extreme metal is a tall order to fill, but … Continue reading In Praise of “Ellengæst” by Crippled Black Phoenix (#7 in 2020’s Top Ten)

In Praise of “Xuntas” by Sangre de Muerdago (#8 in 2020’s Top Ten)

I do not have the vocabulary to write about this album. I have never heard of Sangre de Muerdago, I do not know the names of half the instruments that appear on Xuntas’ eleven songs, and since the lyrics are sung entirely in Spanish, I don’t even know what these songs are about. None of … Continue reading In Praise of “Xuntas” by Sangre de Muerdago (#8 in 2020’s Top Ten)

In Praise of “The Fox & the Hunt” by The Dear Hunter (#10 in 2020’s Top Ten)

Blessed are the bands and musicians who release instrumental versions of their albums, for they shall receive further joy from fans who want to sing along (terribly) to their favorite songs. It is a tragedy that albums with excellent music rarely get instrumental releases unless the band goes out of their way to do it … Continue reading In Praise of “The Fox & the Hunt” by The Dear Hunter (#10 in 2020’s Top Ten)