This, the tenth year of the original, chimerical tournament of metal, is a culmination of everything that has come before it. To celebrate ten years of tournament-style competition, this year we'll be doing something bigger: the top releases of 2018 will compete against proven champions from the previous 9 years. Not only will this tournament determine the best metal of the year, but it will also show which album was the best metal of the last decade.
Longtime viewers of the Arsies will notice something new in the bracket rendering this time around: each contestant will be marked with a Roman numeral, indicating which year the album originally represented. This year's entries are marked with an X.
The tournament will otherwise proceed as normal. Arranged around the bracket are the contestants, selected largely by quantitative scores based on past performance. (As always, only entirely new music releases were eligible—no live albums, no splits, no remixes—and releases had to be at least 20 minutes in length.) (We've also created a separate playlist that only contains the 32 finalists, and we'll be posting a playlist for each contest, so you can listen along and judge for yourself.)
Over the course of the next six weeks, those albums will square off in pairs. For each match, we'll listen to those two albums, to determine the daily winner. Many of this year's new releases were ranked with our exclusive multivariate scoring system. Previous winners were retroactively ranked with the same system, and with a little extra computational sauce we've arrived at the final bracket.
I say "the final bracket," because in addition to being the most audacious Arsies ever, this will also be the last one. There are reasons; perhaps I'll elaborate in a special blog post at Metalligentsia. Regardless, know that this has been quite the honor and undertaking, and has grown into something far grander than I had ever envisioned. Thank you for being a part of it, and for being a comrade in metal.
Arsies X will begin on Monday, January 7, 2019. The first contestants: this year's double album from Between The Buried And Me, and 2014's Cannibal Corpse. This tournament is going to be bananas.