The Faceless actually showed up an hour late to the contest. Very embarrassing. While we wait, here are a couple of fun facts:
1. Both albums feature saxophone solos!
2. Former Faceless guitarist Justin McKinney makes an appearance today, but not with The Faceless.
Rivers Of Nihil go first today, and take the opportunity to launch into Where Owls Know My Name, one of the most surprising and acclaimed albums of 2018. Previously, the band had been known as a solid if not jawdropping technical death metal outfit. But 2018 saw no band leveling up more clearly than on Where Owls Know My Name. What you have here is an achievement on many levels: technical ability, musical ambition, emotionality, inventiveness. Above all, Owls is surprising. Every time you think you've got a bead on what Rivers Of Nihil are up to, they pull a Crazy Ivan. I certainly didn't start 2018 thinking that the latest Rivers Of Nihil would be a must-listen, but I sure ended the year that way.
Meanwhile, Autotheism is still a gem of an album. But if I'm being honest, 70% of the album's success comes down to the three-song eponymous suite that kicks it off. The rest of the album has high points here and there, but not with as much consistency or vigor as the first third. Worse news for The Faceless: the moments here where they really shine have direct and more exciting analogues on Owls.
In a stunning upset, Rivers Of Nihil deliver the coup de grace and finish off The Faceless, who disappeared as mysteriously and problematically as their arrived. We'll see how Rivers Of Nihil fare against Glassjaw in two weeks! As for tomorrow, it's Ihsahn's chance at redemption! How will he do against... oh dear.