Welcome back, metalheads! Week Two of the Arsies begins with newcomers Parius winning the cointoss. Their sophomore album, The Eldritch Realm, is a delightful (if at 29 minutes short) collection of very progressive, yet very dark, Twilight Zone-inspired technical death metal. The album's only relevant flaw today is that it leaves you wanting more.
Alas, TesseracT's magnum opus Altered State is just flawless. While the Parius is heavier, TesseracT makes up for that with another kind of devastating emotional intensity, thanks in no small part to the haunting vocals of Ashe O'Hara, in his only recording with the band. This is lightning in a bottle, not heard since. Altered State erases the memory of The Eldritch Realm (although Parius are on my short list of bands I really, really want to play with in the future).
And just like that, we have a re-re-match! In three weeks, DEP and TesseracT will join horns one last time. In the meantime, we move on with the first-round action, with Alkaloid and Gojira fighting it out tomorrow.