The 2019 Arsies: January 18, 2019

January 18, 2019 arse

Listen to today's competitors on Spotify

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Y'all don't understand. For a long time, these two bands were my top two favorites... but it took ten years for them to finally show up in the same match at the same time. In the interest of transparency, I'd have ranked Meshuggah as my #1. As it so happens, they also win the cointoss (honest), so let the aural abuse begin!
The Violent Sleep Of Reason is the consummation of everything that Meshuggah have spent the last 25 years building toward. It is pioneering in its acrobatic punishment, mindbending yet primal. It's a refinement of the bigger experiments that the band had been learning from in their more recent past, first in rhythmic complexities, then in songwriting sublimity. It's also somewhat of a summarization of and by the band, conspicuously coinciding with their 25th anniversary. You can hear them mining their back catalog, revisiting and refreshing old motifs into the present day. Fun for them, although The Violent Sleep Of Reason does feel like it has one more track than it needs to. Still, this album is among their best work, if not the top of the heap.
By comparison, The Direction Of Last Things is the best thing that Intronaut has yet done. It's not always (ever?) as boot-to-the-face ferocious as the Meshuggah; this works in Intronaut's favor, as it apparently takes a band this content to play with dynamics to highlight just how unrelenting (and ultimately how homogenous) the Meshuggah is. At the same time, Intronaut are not about to shy away from a battle of musical ability from anyone. And for what it's worth, the side-action drum battle today goes to Danny Walker's performance over Tomas Haake's. Much as it hurts me to admit, we have say goodbye to Meshuggah today, and give the nod to Intronaut! Let's will see what they can do against Isis in three weeks.
That's it for our second week of tournament mayhem! Come back on Monday, when Glassjaw and Harms Way grapple for metal superiority.

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