As opposed to yesterday's one-sided skirmish, today's contest is surprising.
Stomach Earth gets the honors for starting us off, and so the contemplative dirge goes. This is a special album, with its own compelling mood... and if you've been playing along, you know it's at least twice as heavy as the TesseracT. But none of that matters once the Stomach Earth album ends and Altered State begins. In the context of the latter, everything admirable about the former feels hollow. While that's due in no small part to some meticulous production, TesseracT's real achievement with Altered State is abandoning any attempt at harder-than-thou metal. Instead, they turn to a much more difficult emotion to pull off convincingly: pathos. And they nail it.
And that's the end of the Round of 16. Tomorrow, we end the week as we, at long last, start the Quarterfinals. And we start with a doozy of a showdown: Gorguts versus Sevendust!