This is, without a doubt, the toughest match to judge in the entire Arsies tournament. Looking at the scorecard, Ayreon are objectively and quantifiably the clear winner. While Glassjaw's Material Control scratches the post-metal itch, Ayreon's The Source does the same for beerhall metal, prog, 80s hair metal, Gothenburg metal, German thrash, etc. It's the most over-the-top metal album of the year, cashing in on some of the most beloved and established motifs of the genre(s). But it's also a tough playthrough, and you've got to be open to The Source for it to be satisfying. Also, listening to it as much as I have over the past 6 weeks is exhausting. The Source and Material Control are both remarkable, and truly deserve to be in the Finals. But I'm not gonna lie: I'd rather crank up the Glassjaw next week and beyond. Surprise!
Tomorrow closes the week with the penultimate battle: Fleshkiller versus The Haunted.