Canadian tech death favo(u)rites Beyond Creation win the cointoss today, and start us off with their finest work, Algorythm. It's ambitious, cribbing the best parts of a lot of disparate influences like Scale The Summit, Cynic, Gojira, and SikTh, while still managing to sound distinct and unique. They do however tend to lay on the fretless bass a bit thick (and that's saying something, coming from me). That small quibble aside, this is without a doubt one of the most satisfying and noteworthy metal releases of 2018.
Meanwhile: Norma Jean released Meridional almost nine years ago, and my god... the production does not hold up one bit. I remember feeling that the album traded cleanliness for emotion, but that was back in the simpler times before the ubiquitous Kurt Ballou developed and standardized a sonic language for that kind of thing. After a few minutes of not listening to Beyond Creation, I can more clearly hear and appreciate the noisy chaos that is Norma Jean's wheelhouse. And undergirding that maelstrom is a collection of generally catchy tunes. But here in 2019, I'd rather listen to Algorythm any day of the week.
Two days in, and we've already eliminated two veteran albums from past tournaments. I did not see that coming. Does this signal a trend for the rest of the Arsies?
Tomorrow: The Human Abstract's 2011 presumptive swan song goes up against Revocation's 2013 eponymous album. This one is going to hurt me more than it hurts you, I just know it!