Adkins has always been a fiend for pure skronk.
Heavy Winged came out in December and were widely slept on (though not by Ned Raggett!), so I'm gonna count 'em as a 2011 release. Let the games begin! Excerpts below, but there's plenty more at PopMatters.
Heavy Winged: Sunspotted [8/10]
You can’t call ‘em “hooks”, but Sunspotted certainly has landmarks, memorable sonic areas that you can recognize and bask in with every listen. The guitar riffs tend to be simple, built on fourths; the bass is a monstrous looming beast; the drums rock. (At one point, Bindeman sounds like he’s smashing melons with a club.) This is accessible noise that delivers the goods. Four minutes into “Breathe Life”, the low end achieves a sound that resembles the moon bouncing off a tarpaulin made of whale skin. Before hearing this CD, I wasn’t even sure what a tarpaulin was! This shit will expand your mind.
Trace Adkins: The Definitive Greatest Hits: Til the Last Shot's Fired [6/10]
Ultimately, Adkins is a master of the Throw-It-At-the-Charts-and-See-What-Sticks school of country singing. He’s a master because most of his stuff sticks and he sings it with ease, even when he picks the most boilerplate ditties offered him. (Adkins co-wrote only two of these 28 songs.) His non-novelties range from forgettable (“Big Time”) to maudlin (“All I Ask For Anymore”) to actually pretty good (“Every Light In the House”). Your tolerance for this stuff may vary. Depending on your mood, generic country songs can be as satisfying or as boring as generic John Wayne movies, but they’re shorter and they create a good ambiance for getting your bake on. (Pies, smart aleck: this isn’t a Willie Nelson album.)