The 2014 Arsies: January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

Party time! Today, underdogs Scale The Summit win the coin flip, so we start with their fourth album, The Migration.
If you've got any hesitation about giving time to an instrumental progressive metal band from Texas, rest assured: this album is excellent. It starts with Odyssey, one of the more straightforward and metallic of the songs on here, but then proceeds to lead you down a path that is at turns jazzy and ferocious, gentle and bombastic. This is the kind of music that I feverishly wish Cynic was still making, and then some: without bizarre lyrics to distract me, the power of the music is channeled entirely through the exquisite musicianship. Listen to this album at least once, and then thank me later.
But first, listen to Everblack, the latest from The Black Dahlia Murder. I will admit that, as I listened to it immediately after Scale The Summit, BDM came across as coarse and amateurish. That sensation lasted exactly 78 seconds into In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me, at which point the full band began the tireless work of kicking my teeth in continuously. Every single song on this album is a study in death metal ferocity. But the album is more than just brutality in ten cities. It's also technical and imaginative. And there are surprisingly successful moments of harmonic loveliness on this album (thanks in no small part to just how brutal the rest of the album is by comparison). I never thought that BDM would be able to surpass their career-transformative Ritual, but Everblack does just that. The Black Dahlia Murder overrun Scale The Summit.
Tomorrow, Thy Art Is Murder compete against Extol. It's gonna get weird.

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