Rise and shine, hessians! The second week of the Arsies starts with immediate brütality. FFAA taks the coin toss, and so we plummet headlong into The Great Collapse, an expertly delivered slab of nasty deathcore. By now, the band's sound seems to have coalesced into a surprisingly potent mix of Gojira and The Acacia Strain. And yet, binding this together is a knack for dynamics and melody, all the more surprising for issuing forth from an otherwise Neanderthalic penchant for bludgeonry.
Meanwhile, something must have happened to ABR on their way to making Phantom Anthem; their always dependable metalcore now features a decidedly prog leaning, with hints of BTBAM or The Human Abstract. Everyone in this band pulls off their individual virtuosities with aplomb and ease, and the songwriting does a great job not just of letting the boys show off, but truly using their gifts for good. Phantom Anthem feels much longer than it needs to be, but that is quibbling in the face of a ceaselessly interesting album.
The pity here is that there are no ties in the Arsies, and much as I'd like to see both albums move forward, the day narrowly goes to ABR. They'll meet up with Cannabis Corpse in two weeks, and I for one have no idea who's going to win that one. As for tomorrow, it's bound to be heartbreaking, one way or the other: Glassjaw versus The Contortionist!