Best of 2020: Chris’s List

Best of 2020

If you’re reading this there are two possibilities at play, either of which warrant a hearty congratulations:

  1. It’s the end of the year, and you found the strength, courage and forbearance to get through the infested muck that was 2020.  Congratulations!  I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but let’s put the future aside for a moment and just revel in survival, and talk about some great music.
  2. It’s an indeterminate time in the future, after the apocalypse, and the collective hive mind has integrated into the data streams and come across this post in a random search string query to ascertain various data points about the distant past.  Congratulations!  I’m not alive to know what the Time Lords have in mind for the future, but let’s put that aside for a moment and just revel in whatever constitutes life in your existence, and talk about some great music.

Either way, it’s list time…

Confession: if I learned anything about my relationship to music in 2020, it’s that the tag of “metalhead” is something that no longer fits me (this despite the fact I released my second album as Necrolytic Goat Converter a few weeks ago – check it out if you are so inclined!).  I spent as much time – if not significantly more – listening to non-metal than I did to metal.  And when I did listen to metal, often it was a retreat to the things that I grew up loving, which is why this list skews the way it does.  I still find surprises, and when I do they go into the forever rotation.  But after close to 40 years of absorbing dozens upon dozens of permutations of the genre, I find my bucket ever closer to being, well…full.  Much of what I hear is absolutely fine.  But fine is not what Im looking for anymore.  I really want to focus on the things that resonate, that hook their way into me and refuse to leave.  If that means some gems get lost along the way, so be it.  The number of amazing albums yet to be created is infinite, as the number of amazing albums already out are waiting to be discovered.  And the honest truth is I had a ball in 2020 digging into the latter bucket, finding my passion again in obscure soul, funk, and prog from the 60s and 70s…some really mainstream classic rock and pop I ignored back in the day, and yes…even some country.

The point: I followed my desires to wherever they took me, and was the happier for it.  I don’t think that invalidates any of my choices listed below, all of which I love; if you do the door is behind you and you’re welcome to leave at any time.

For those of you still here, thanks.  We’re at the finish line.  Let’s do this.

The Inner Circle

My Top 25 Albums of 2020, Part I: Albums 25-11

25. Dissident Aggressor – Death Beyond Darkness:  A few months back I did a Nine Circles ov… on Divebomb Records, which specializes in reissuing lost demos and obscure albums from early thrash and death metal bands.  The reason for that post was the utter delight in discovering the work of Dissident Aggressor.  Death Beyond Darkness collects the band’s discography, remastered and chock full of the kind of riffs and changes that instantly recall, madeleine-style, all the music that made me fall in love with metal as a kid.  The entire album is a retro thrash blast, but standout “Derelict” and opener “The Thrill Can Kill” nails the sound that stands as the archetype of “metal” in my head.  You can call this a cheat, since these demos were recorded back in 90-92, but this is my list and frankly these “demos” sound better than about 80% of the metal I heard this year.  Outstanding music that hasn’t left my car’s stereo because yes, I have a CD player in my car.  I’m old, what can you do?

24. Bedsore – Hypnagogic Hallucinations:  Folks are too quick to throw the tag “psychedelic” on metal to justify weird, progressive quirks in the songwriting or one too many ambient passages that recall 70s prog more than they do any real psychedelic touchpoints.  So I don’t want to use it here to describe Bedsore’s amazing debut; instead, let’s focus on the mix of old-school death metal that colors with brushes first picked up by Death and Morbid Angel, and more modern cavernous death metal production flourishes that don’t hide the technicality being touted by standard bearers like Blood Incantation right now.  If I had to direct you to a seating point look no further than mid-album highlight “At the Mountains of Madness” and languish in the bedlam.  And if you want to assign the “psychedelic” tag, go ahead: no one’s going to stop you.

23. Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville:  Within the first 30 seconds of opener “Rotted Futures” I’m convinced I made a mistake: Alphaville needs to be at the top of my list.  Everything that made Imperial Triumphant’s Vile Luxury an album I admired in 2018 has been ratcheted up to 11, making the chaotic collage of sounds a must-listen in 2020.  From the out of step piano in “City Swine” to the old-time barbershop that opens “Atomic Age” Imperial Triumphant have a way of taking all these disparate styles and not only making them work as a cohesive unit, but making a singular sound that sounds like nothing BUT Imperial Triumphant.  Rhythms stutter and lumber in shambles that reveal a deeper skill and care that once unlocked feels like an achievement to the listener, but it’s never bogged down in pretension.  Alphaville is a roiling assault of the senses, and a focal point to the kind of imagination and execution I’d love to hear more bands strive toward, in philosophy if not actual sonics.

22. Haken – Virus:  We don’t talk much about some of the more mainstream hard rock/metal that gets released, but Haken have been putting their unique spin on Dream Theater-ish progressive metal for years now, and each release gets better and better.  Virus feels appropriately epic and monsterous in the riff department, but where the album really shines is in how songs like “Prosthetic” and the five-part suite “Messiah Complex” are able to marry massive sing-along hooks while maintaining a level of heaviness that is  truly righteous and fist pump worthy.  The production is ridiculously crisp, letting each palm-muted stutter and electronic nuance break through clearly and without any suffocating side effects.  At once completely modern and classic to the progressive metal style, Virus is an album I’m shocked I haven’t seen talked about more in the community.   

21. Wayfarer – A Romance With Violence:  And so it happens again.  With that opening riff on “The Crimson Rider (Gallows Frontier, Part 1)” I have the overwhelming need to put A Romance With Violence much, much higher up on my list.  Blending black metal and folk elements are nothing new, but the injection of western blues and just utterly massive hooks brings Wayfarer up from “band I kinda knew and forgot about” to “band I have had on constant repeat for most of this year”  Like a lot of my favorite records this year, the key here is the stunningly crisp production and the regular appearance of barbed hooks that refuse to leave your head.  The two-part “Gallows Frontier” and the epic mid-album highlight “Masquerade of the Gunslingers” show the band adamantly sticking to their guns (ha) when it comes to the western theme, and it all works to paint a dusty yet modern black metal picture that firmly places Wayfarer on a higher level.  I would say I can’t wait to hear what they do next, but the truth is I can because I can’t see myself turning A Romance With Violence off anytime soon.

20. Hail Spirit Noir – Eden in Reverse:  Maybe a bit divisive?  It seems like this was the year progressive/avant grade black metal outfit Hail Spirit Noir put both feet on the prog ground, and while Eden in Reverse may not rock with the heaviness of their previous – and outstanding – output, it still gives me chills each time I listen to it.  Think of the proggier side of Enslaved but with an almost industrial, electronic edge on tracks like “Incense Swirls” and “Alien Lip Reading.”  Those electronic elements are pushed even further to the forefront by the time we get to “The Devil’s Blind Spot” with swirling synths replacing guitars as the primary instrument.  And then there’s the closer:  “Automata 1980” is admittedly a bit much to take in if you’re not already fully invested in what hail Spirit Noir are trying to do, but I am, and the mix of krautrock a la Neu!, dark synthwave and 70s prog create a mesmerizing blend I can fall into for days.

19. Inexorum – Moonlit Navigation:  Resident scream fan and Evcharist chalice-holder Vincent beat me to the punch when it came to reviewing rights for Inexorum’s latest, but I can’t be too mad: he nails what makes the sophomore effort from Carl Skildum superior in every way to debut Lore of the Lakes, a debut I am on record liking very much.  The constraints of the icy second wave black metal influence are very much loosened, and combined with new partner in crime Matthew Kirkwold Moonlit Navigation revels in meaty, anthemic refrains and soaring leads to feel larger and more bombastic.  I hope to God it makes the purists cringe, and that Inexorum ride this beast further and further into the future.  We need more songs like “Ouroboric State” and “Dream of Memory” in this world…

18. Rebel Wizard – Magikal Mystical Indifference:  Sometimes all you want are guitars that blow your mind.  There is nothing wrong with that, and NKSV, aka Bob Nekrosov, aka the man behind Rebel Wizard knows this, and delights in it.  Allow me to shamelessly rip off Charles’s review of Magikal Mystical Indifference, where in talking about “heavy negative wizard metal” in reference to the opening track that it’s a perfect label for the music: an alloy formed of black metal and golden thrash. I’d also throw in copious amounts of 80s guitar hero worship, because there are some absolutely RIPPING leads on this thing.  The intentional raw production and buried black metal vocals can’t hide how joyful and engaging the guitar work is, from the whiplash ideas on display on “Raiseth up All Those That Be Bowed Down” to the more somber doom work on “Not Rain but the Wizards Tears.”  This thing is just a beast, and probably my favorite guitar work of the year.

17. Today is the Day – No Good to Anyone:  This might be the hardest record to explain why it’s on my list.  I really haven’t had much of a connection to Today is the Day, but the second I put on No Good to Anyone the harrowing intensity and despair Steve Austin projects just overwhelmed me.  “Son of Man” has this just bludgeoning Sabbath attack that feels like the choking cloak of humanity will never be lifted, and then it somehow manages to get darker even as the rock and roll element peek out on stomper “Burn in Hell.”  The bass that opens “Cocobolo” is the very definition of music suffocation, and by the album’s end with “Rockets and Dreams” I’m left feeling like I’ve been put through an emotional wringer I didn’t know I needed.  There’s a catharsis to getting through No Good to Anyone, and it has me excited to dig deeper in Austin’s work and find more of those piercing connections.

16. -(16)- – Dream Squasher:  First off, I SWEAR it was chance that the latest from -(16)- came in at #16 on my list.  I didn’t even realize it until just now.  Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how huge and heavy Dream Squasher sounds: six months after I first reviewed it nothing has changed; if anything, the tunes have only gotten stronger.  From the crushing attack of “Candy in Spanish” to the all-out assault of “Harvester of Fabrication” there is nothing that is not geared to put you in the dirt.  But Dream Squasher is far from a one-trick pony; “Sadlands” is a crushing analog doom anthem that lives and breathes 70s fire.  And closer “Kissing the Choir Boy” amps up the riff attack to 11.  -(16)- have made the album of their career here, and it’s the rare album that works no matter the mood I’m in.

15. Sepultura – Quadra:  Are there still people who write off Sepultura’s post-Max Cavalera work?  Do yourself a solid and stay away from those people.  If 2017’s Machine Messiah wasn’t enough to get you back on the bus, I guarantee Quadra will.  Eloy Casagrande doesn’t play the drums on this: he brutalizes them, using more appendages than an octopus to wrangle rhythms that dance and lock with Andreas Kisser’s guitar.  A guitar, I might add, that feels as sharp and deadly as anything they did in their celebrated 80s output.  From the thrash attack of “Isolation” and “Means to an End” to the more rock stomp of closer “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering” everyone is firing on all cylinders, and Derrick Green sounds like he can swallow the world with that voice.  

14. Garganjua – Toward the Sun:  Garganjua are proudly carrying the banner left by Baroness after their first two albums, and “The New Sun” remains a standout track for 2020, full of post-rock passion and fire.  As Toward the Sun continues, the shifts and turns from more mellow, melodic fare to the frenzied attack of something like “Light Bearer” become an undulating wave of heaviness that crashes over the listener, but rather than droning them, leaves them cleansed and alive.  I find it incredibly heavy, incredibly moving, and seismic in its approach to progressive, sludge, and doomy post-metal.

13. Elder – Omens:  You’re going to see this crop up again and again as a kind of theme: bands that have crossed the line and removed themselves from the more extreme element of their origins and just laying down the rock.  I don’t think you can call Elder metal anymore after the sinewy twists and turns Omens travels toward, and I am perfectly fine with that.  Reflections of a Floating World felt too much like a non-committal effort; the songs tried too hard to straddle a line the band no longer felt comfortable pursuing.  From the opening of the title track Omens feels committed to its course 1000% – and that course is progressive rock, with detours into Anathema-ish doom and the sludge pop mentality of bands like Torche.  Songs like “In Procession” hit that pop hook hard, and it sounds brilliant.  With an average length of over 10 minutes, it’s a wonder Omens sound as joyous as it does, but by the closing of “One Light Retreating” I’m ready to dive back in for another round.

12. Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night:  Realizing your longest album today almost 40 years into your career is the move of kings, and I’ve made no secret of my utter devotion to Fates Warning and their epic, signature progressive metal/rock style.  Long Day Good Night came out recently enough that I still feel like I’m working my way through it, finding the small, personal moments that I know will make this an all-timer for me.  In the meantime, “The Destination Onward” continues the band’s trend of absolutely killer openers, and “Shuttered World” and “Scars” show their ability to get fast and heavy remain intact.  Between this and his work on Arch/Matheos, Jim Matheos has been positively inspired as of late.  And Ray Alder?  He proves why he remains, for me, the definitive Fates Warning vocalist, and one of my favorite singers in any genre.  Here’s hoping closing track “The Last Song” isn’t the last we hear from this band, because they have been on an incredible roll of great albums lately, and I for one don’t want it to stop. 

11. The Ocean – Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic:  Mouthful of a title aside, the post-everything collective known as The Ocean have fulfilled the promise of a second part of the Phanerozoic series and for my money this one blows the previous one out of the water. The band has always been progressive, but listening to the subtle electronic touches and the superb clean vocal hooks on “Triassic” gives the impression of the band turning a corner and firmly looking to a new horizon, even as the heavy riffing is completely in keeping with their history.  The 14 minutes that make up “Jurassic | Cretaceous” is just a grand slam of stuttering djenty riffs, horns (yeah…HORNS) and some straight up 90s alt rock mixed together in a potent blast that would awaken the dinosaurs.   

The Ninth Circle

My Top 25 Albums of 2020, Part II: Albums 10-1

all them witches - nothing as the ideal

10. All Them Witches – Nothing as the Ideal:  The opening riff on “Saturnine & Iron Jaw” just makes the latest from All Them Witches heavy enough for me to include on this list.  The immediate parallel I had when first listening to Nothing as the Ideal was Lo-Pan if they time travelled back to the early 70s.  Psychedelia, blues, doom, and just kick ass rock and roll with an emphasis on the “rock” – meaning reverb drenched solos, great harmonies in the vocals, and a wicked lock=step between bass and drums.  My love for this groove-infested rock should not come as a surprise when past EOY lists had bands like Earthless and Biblical in the top spots, but what brings all these groups to my (ostensibly) metal end of year list year after year is their ability to be heavy without being extreme.  There’s some great syncopation in the drive of “Enemy of My Enemy,” some massive low end throbbing in “See Ya Next Fall,” and beautiful layers upon layers of guitar throughout Nothing as the Ideal.  It’s what my ears craved in 2020 the most, I think.

kadavar - the isolation tapes

9. Kadavar – The Isolation Tapes:  I love it when a band, particular one I traditionally had very little interest in, comes and knocks an album out of the park.  Everyone and their brother is playing on that Pink Floyd 70s vibe, including Kadavar for most of their career, blending it with some BÖC arena rock to middling results.  So I wasn’t expecting much of anything when I spun The Isolation Tapes for the first time.  Rather than try a different approach, Kadavar threw up a huge middle finger and leaned into the influence…HARD.  Tell me “I-The Lonely Child” doesn’t sound exactly like something Gilmour and company (I’m excluding Roger Waters, who would be suitably pissed if he heard this) would put out.  Funny thing is, while my initial enjoyment of the record amounted to “hey this sounds like Pink Floyd” I eventually came around to the spacey weirdness the band put into tracks like “IV – (I Won’t Leave You) Rosi” which moves from ambient electronic noodling to 80s pop/punk peer chord shuffles, or the odd U2 leanings of “Eternal Light (We Will Be OK)”.  Every track is a grab bag of delights, one whose depth I’m still plumbing. 

Thy Catafalque - Naiv

8. Thy Catafalque – Naiv:  It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly Tamás Kátai under the guise of Thy Catafalque is doing musically (our own Ian tried and succeeded better than I could) but whatever you want to classify it as, I love it.  There’s certainly an element of “metal ” on Naiv, but it’s never the primary point, bouncing and jostling against industrial, electronica, dance, funk, jazz…there’s no end to the influences woven together throughout the record.  Throughout the songs in fact: just check out everything that is going on in “Tsitsushka” and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect throughout Naiv, and indeed throughout Thy Catafalque’s entire discography.  This is the kind of music I’m talking about when a band breaks away from the norm and truly reaches for something unique – it can’t help but grab your attention.  This one has stayed with me the entire year, and feels like an all-timer in terms of record I go to when I just need to break out from the crushing weight of life.  Truly inspiring.

7. Boris – Refrain/No!/2R0I2P0:  It seems like every year a band just goes for it.  They hit that sweet spot and the well of creativity erupts.  Boris have never been a stranger to that well, but 2020 defined their efforts and output like never before.  Things kicked off with Refrain, a 33-minute single track collaboration between the band and Z.O.A., a short-lived experimental noise unit that arrived in the 90s around the same time as Boris and was an inspiration to the formulation of the band’s sound.  Segueing between ambient drones and collisions of sound, it’s an experiential piece that traverses multiple moods and styles.  Couple that with the unexpected late arrival of 2R0I2P0, their latest dustup with noise legend Merzbow, this time crafting a remix of last year’s stellar Love & Evol, as well as selected earlier works.  The twitchy glitches that are Merzbow’s specialty fit right into all aspects of Love & Evol’s sound, from the gorgeous shoegaze of “Away From You” to heavier fare like the brutal remix of “Absolutego.”  But the centerpiece of Boris’s output is the phenomenal and crushing No!  which channels all the anger and rage that came in a year where the worst of humanity reared its ugly head into their heaviest and best album in years.  Even at their heaviest the band never sounded as pissed as they do on tracks like “Genesis” and the hardcore rager “Anti-Gone.”  “Temple of Hatred” is the sound of a band with no more fucks to give, and it’s truly one of the most cathartic albums of the year.  From beginning to end every track just runs right over you.  Boris were completely unstoppable this year, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

molasses - through the hollow

6. Molassess – Through the Hollow:  I don’t know if people were expecting a simple clone or continuation of The Devil’s Blood when Molassess formed out of the ashes following the tragic death of founder Selim Lemouchi.  Originally put together for a one-off performance at Roadburn, the chemistry was just too good; Through the Hollow is, in their words, “…not a continuation of a buried past, nor a celebration of a cherished collaborator, but a culmination of heartache, requisite resolution, a rediscovery of rage and the relighting of a fire that never really burned out.”  It also leans way into the prog side of psychedelic doom, with Farida Lemouchi’s vocals spring boarding off the band’s performances into the atmosphere.  Is there anything “metal” here?  Not really, but that seems to be the theme of my listening habits in 2020, and I’d argue that superb songs like the 11-minute title track and the towering “Formless Hands” with its undulating synths lurking below are heavier than much of what was released that caters to more expected sonics.  And speaking of sonics, the production on Through the Hollow is amazing – the clarity and space of the instruments is impeccable, and you feel folded into the music.  From any perspective, this is a standout for the year.

Sweven - The Eternal Resonance

5.  Sweven – The Eternal Resonance:  Quite possibly the greatest progressive death metal release of the year where it (almost) makes no sense to label it “Death Metal.”  What Robert Andersson has done is taken the threads and corners his former band Morbus Chron were following and weaved them into a unique, clanging, and emotional ride that never lacks for depth and innovation.  There are so many moments on The Eternal Resonance musically that harken back to Perfect Symmetry-era Fates Warning (now and forever my favorite Fates Warning record) it feels like a spiritual brother, but Andersson ties it together with some modern Opeth vibes that serve to make it sound like no other record in 2020.  Everything comes together on the perfect “By Virtue of a Promise” with its expressive solos and clean breaks, but each track offers more mysteries to plumb, whether it’s the more aggressive push of “Reduced to an Ember” to the sweeping epic of “Solemn Retreat” – you can listen to the same song ten times and each time focus on another aspect or discover a passage you didn’t pick up before.  I’m starting to get used to the fact that each album in this top 10 makes me want to push it to the top as I re-listen to it, so just accept at this point that rankings have no meaning.  Oh, and make sure you absorb everything The Eternal Resonance has to offer.

Svalbard - When I Die Will I Get Better

4. Svalbard – When I Die, Will I Get Better?:  A better question might be how can music this angry also be this beautiful.  The opening of When I Die, Will I Get Better? is “Open Wound” and from the first second those vocals drift over the toms and shoegaze guitars it’s sublime, almost a ruse, and a stark contradiction to the song’s lyrical anguish over an abusive relationship.  But that’s been the calling card of Svalbard for some time – the marriage of the beautiful and the painful.  But never has that marriage been as seamless and flawlessly executed as it has on When I Die, Will I Get Better?.  Out of the many hats Serena Cherry wears for the band, the most impressive here is how she works the vocals into the mix, both on her own and with Liam Phelan.  The pair also up their guitar game as well, mixing a variety of layers and styles that allow the songs to breathe out, making songs like the aforementioned “Open Wound” and “Listen to Someone” feel large and expansive while others like “Click Bait” and “Silent Restraint” feel like you can’t squeeze another molecule between the fibers of the song.  

Spirit Adrift - Enlightened In Eternity

3. Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity:  Mark 2020 as the year Nate Garrett just said “fuck it” and charged his mighty six-stringed steed straight into heavy metal history.  Enlightened in Eternity throws off the shackles of expectation and luxuriates in traditional metal quite like nothing else did for me this year.  Chalk half of it up to the songwriting on this beast, which doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “restraint” when it comes to delicious solos and harmonies, or artwork for that matter.  “Ride into the Light” is my favorite opener of a record this year, and when you follow it up with the Dio-inspired riffs of “Astral Levitation” you not only have my curiosity, but my attention as well.  You can chalk the other half to the explosive production – every song sounds like it weighs a metric ton, and if you’ve only heard this digitally, then holy crap find some way to hear it on vinyl.  I’m not a “VINYL OVER ALL” nut by any measure, but the difference between streaming this (even lossless) and the way the record was mastered for vinyl is a revelation.  Plus you get that sweet, sweet artwork to show off.  There is so much to be had on Enlightened in Eternity it makes me think the band has indeed unlocked some seismic secret, and if I listen enough times I’ll be enlightened, too.

howling giant sergeant thunder hoof - turned to stone chapter 2

2. Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof – Turned to Stone Chapter 2: Masamune & Muramasa:  How did a split with only two songs make it all the way to #2 on my list?  Easy – just listen to the first 1:30 of “Masamune,” the 20 minute contribution from Nashville’s Howling Giant.  This is the music that makes my heart beat: heavy, melodic, groovy with ridiculous clean vocals.  I’ve been a fan of Howling Giant’s specific brand of space-age SF stoner/desert rock for a while, and this single track, named after Japan’s greatest swordsmith never falters or loses step during its runtime.  There are enough hooks, solos, and breaks to make an entire album that would have made my list.  The fact that it all sits on one supremely rocking song blew my mind the first time I heard it.  And the second.  And the third…  And the beauty is, that’s only half the story.    This was my first exposure to the UK’s Sergeant Thunderhoof, and their contribution “Muramasa” after an equally famous Japanese swordsmith does the same thing, albeit with a slightly different frame of reference.  More open and delicate, the 21 minutes that make up their track moves all over the open skies, letting flowing solos move in and out of shimmering chords that ripple into chugging riffs.  It also gives me a moment to point out that Sergeant Thunderhoof didn’t stop with this mammoth track; a few months later they released the sumptuous Delicate Sound of Thunderhoof which made my non-metal end of year list.  Despite it only sitting at #2 on my list, make no mistake: this was the album I listened to most in 2020.

Napalm Death - Throes of Joy In the Jaws of Defeatism

1. Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism:  In the end, there can be only one.  Only one album that defined the year for me: the disgust, the rage, and the despair of a world gone mad.  But at the same time, by exposing those wounds in so brazen a fashion it also served to move past them.  Simply put, Napalm Death have done it again.  I don’t know that there’s anything this band can’t do, and do it in such a punishing fashion.  I think we all know something great was coming when they released the “Logic Ravaged By Brute Force” single earlier in the year. Sonically it’s a bit of an outlier from what I’ve come to expect from the band, but it hit all the right buttons, and served as the perfect appetizer to Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.  Which again, simply put, is the best thing Napalm Death has done in 20 years…and there wasn’t a bad album in those 20 years!  While they may not be specifically speaking to events in 2020, songs like “Fuck the Factoid,” “Backlash Just Because,” and “The Curse of Being in Thrall” seem tailored made for this past year.  And those are just the first three songs on an album chock full of blazing fast and inventive riffs.

I loved every record on this list for many different reasons.  Some helped to distract me, some helped to focus me.  But nothing represented my life in all its chaos, confusion, despair, and hope quite like Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism did.  Which is just par for the course for the boys in the band, but is a life raft and saving grace for me.

– Chris


6 thoughts on “Best of 2020: Chris’s List

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