APMD start off our day in unsurprisingly nasty form, and even from Hostage Animal's first blast beats, you know you're in for a raw and brutal album. But as the album hurls out its malevolence, it also unearths an unexpected wellspring of emotion. This comes largely in the form of stoney slowdowns, which pay off slightly more often than they trip up the band. And yet, with 35 scant minutes, APMD traverse a lot of musical ground, even if it isn't entirely easy to remember where you've been at the end of the journey.
Sepultura rise to the challenge with Machine Messiah, their unfortunately-named 14th album. This is unquestionably one of the best albums Sep have released in at least a decade. The opener's old-school thrash intro belies the fresh and satisfying way that the band weave together all their various influences and styles. And while the musicianship here is uniformly solid, Eloy Casagrande deserves special praise for some truly innovative drumming. Where the album stumbles, however, is in its pacing and triteness. This has been a recurring theme for Sepultura, and it dogs them now. And two things you need to have locked down when competing against APMD are emotionality and concision.
Congrats to APMD, who edge out the mighty Sepultura! Tomorrow, who will triumph: He Is Legend or Ne Obliviscaris?