The final introductory round of the Arsies is comprised of two bands who show contempt for our bracket with their pointlessly long album titles. Fortunately for our contenders, their simultaneous gaffes cancel each other out. Just know that I'm abbreviating that shit from here on out.
Junius's Eternal Rituals... is one of the most difficult competitors to quantify in this entire tournament. Its tracks are dirgelike and atmospheric, but also laced with minimalistic yet poppy flourishes. It's like an 80s goth grew up and got an office job, but never stopped listening to 4AD records. You can tell that there are big, ponderous gears turning at the center of this band, and when their material comes together successfully, it's stunning. But it doesn't always come together, and worse, that's pretty much the full extent of what passes for dynamics and range on this album.
On the other hand, Bison's You Are Not The Ocean... is full of some dirty, grungy headbang fodder, both modern (like Converge) and vintage (remember Tad?). They may not be swinging for the same fences in the same way that Junius does, but these fuckers don't miss. Listening to both albums once gives Bison a slight edge over Bison. Listening to both albums twice makes the choice inescapable. Bison slams the door on Junius, and closes the first round of this year's Arsies tournament!
From here on out, everyone we listen to will have at least one fresh win under their belts. That goes to you as well, for making it this far; give yourselves a pat on the back! Tomorrow, the Round Of 16 starts with Ayreon vs Ufomammut!