(If you missed yesterday's match, be sure to go check it out; it was quality metal from end to end.)
The scorecard for today's contest reveals the difficulty in judging the two combatants today: they're entirely different beasts, with strengths that don't overlap.
Mutoid Man set the stage with War Moans, a rollicking celebration of something we sometimes lose sight of in our varied listenings: the primacy of the Riff. This metal-in-rock's-clothing is nostalgic yet novel, somewhere between The Jesus Lizard and Slayer. Front and center in this glorious rumpus are Steve Brodsky's plaintive vocals and twisted, pitchshifted guitars, with Nick Cageao's sludgey bass and Ben Koller's driving drums providing meaty support. This is gutteral, infectious, and above all fun.
Persefone's Aathma is everything that War Moans isn't: if the Mutoid Man is a heavy metal cover drawn in a high school notebook, this Persefone is an architectural blueprint. It's unfailingly technical, cerebral, soaring. It also shows that you don't have to sacrifice aggression for your virtuosity. I would have been stoked to see this, unquestionably one of the best progressive death metal albums released in the past year, fare better in its first round. But while I'll vouch for Persefone to anyone who'd hear me, I'd personally rather listen to War Moans again.
Tomorrow, two beloved veterans enter the area. Will it be The Haunted or Overkill who emerges victorious?