Winning the chance to go first today, Massachussetts hardcore supergroup Death Ray Vision gets us off to a solid start. Their album We Ain't Leavin' Till You're Bleedin' is irrefutably fun. It's comprised of a half-hour set of songs that have at their core a simplistic, punkish kind of metalcore. You'd be forgiven for listening to the first few seconds of any track on here and writing off the whole enterprise, but I promise that, despite their seemingly dogged attempt to get you to underestimate them, there's more to Death Ray Vision than the mosh. The band is constantly looking explore beyond safe territory; songs end in a different subgenre than they started (for example, Barfly starts like Prong-core... but finishes more like a Slayer song). And it all works, leading to a boisterous and energectic exercise in heady headbanging.
Darkane fire back with their sixth album, The Sinister Supremacy, a strange yet strangely compelling odyssey. It's equal parts old school thrash, prog intricacy, and Gothenburg sensibility, with vocalist Lawrency Mackory doing an excellent job spanning those seemingly disparate worlds without resorting to clean vocals anywhere. (Tell me it doesn't sound like he's imitating James Hetfield and Chuck Billy on songs like Insurrection Is Imminent.) The songs on this album are layered, surprising, but most of all heavy. Perhaps the best thing I can say about Darkane is that they sound like a bunch of bands... and at the same time, like no one you've ever heard before. Case in point: Collapse Of Illusions. Death Ray Vision is more accessible and therefore more bankably headbangy, but Darkane's The Sinister Supremacy is superior in every other way. Congrats, ya boys: we'll hear you again in a few weeks when you go up against the mighty Revocation.
That's it for this week! Check out the Arsies on Monday, when we evaluate two kinds of aural unfriendliness: Protest The Hero and All Pigs Must Die!