JFAC won the cointoss and went first, setting a very high bar with their dark tour de force Sun Eater. On any other day, the band's execution, songwriting, mood setting, and pacing would likely have been enough to get them into the Quarterfinals. (Special props go to bassist bassist Nick Schendzielos and guest drummer Danny Walker, moonlighting from his very active duty in Intronaut.) I thought for sure this was going to cause me anguish.
And then The Parallax Part 2 came along and dulled the memory of Sun Eater. The level of self-assured sublimity perfected here by BTBAM has not been matched since, by them or anyone else. That's not to say that Parallax is without flaws, or that its victory was a foregone conclusion; I can't help but wonder what would have happened if the cointoss had gone the other way. Nevertheless, the Fates have given BTBAM a narrower victory over JFAC than I would have thought going into today. On to the Quarterfinals, BTBAM2012!
(Incidentally, I'd been hoping for a proper drumming showdown between Danny Walker and BTBAM's Blake Richardson for years. It almost happened in 2016, but BTBAM cashed in their chips earlier than expected when faced with the irrepressible Mutoid Man. Today, that dream has finally been made real... although I'd still love to see BTBAM and Intronaut go at it in one last American prog metal grudge match. It could still happen, but we won't know for sure about that until next week.)
As for tomorrow, we finish the Round Of 16 with Decapitated and Textures!