We welcome February with one meaty slab of music. Set And Setting go first, and quickly establish a very deliberate tone for the day. Their take on black metal is most compelling when it's maudlin; conversely, there are a couple of awkward moments on Reflectionless which are mercifully offset by the album's overall excellence. But I'd argue that each of the hallmarks of this album (torpor, patience, impact through repetition) are matched by a darker, nastier analogue on Bison's You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient. By the second set of playthroughs, it's clear that Set And Setting are simply out-heavied by Bison today, and so are pummeled out of the competition.
And just like that, the start of the month brings the Round of 16 to a close. Tomorrow, we start the Quarterfinals: Ayreon vs All Pigs Must Die. My word!