The 2014 Arsies: January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014

You guys, it's time for the Round of 16! For the next two weeks, we pare down the survivors of the first elimination round. And remember, there are no losers in the Arsies... just non-winners.
Gorguts officially kick things off today, and lawdamercy are they dissonant and fierce and twisted and holy shit now I wanna break stuff. It's not all discordant dystopia though, as the band demonstrate a musicality and finesse to anyone still standing. While the less-than-pristine production quality of Colored Sands is objectively a liability, it also serves to reinforce the feeling that you're in alien territory with this band. Then again, we've got Misery Signals. Absent Light replaces Gorguts's muddy cacophony with digitally-perfected adrenaline.
But you know what? Discounting the differences in genre and production, the two albums are very similar. Both wear their unpredictability on their sleeves. Both aspire to a warped beauty at times. Both represent a return to form for their respective bands; these are certainly the best albums either band has produced in years, but their die-hard fans aren't all that shocked. The only thing to do then, given all that the albums share, is to focus solely on the differences. And to be perfectly honest, while I'm not quite as tolerant of substandard production anymore (more on this later), the songs on Colored Sands stick with you much longer than the hook-laden Absent Light. That memorability is enough to nudge Gorguts to a triumph over Misery Signals.
Tomorrow, it's Soilwork versus Sevendust.

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