So much for easing into the tournament. Today's opening skirmish is a bloody one, and may just set the tone for many of the other days of the competition: two very different bands, with no immediately clear winner.
We start with "Collisions and Castaways," the latest and very tasty album from 36 Crazyfists. This is a grower of a record, a subtle and compelling metallic tour de force that wheels from vintage thrash to screamo to Voivod to SYL to sludge and back again. Satisfying head-nodding is all but guaranteed. I could listen to this album all day (as I proved this afternoon).
And then there's The Acacia Strain, who show up and drop disastrous heaviness on our Alaskan friends. "Wormwood" has very little time for things like subtlety or nuance, opting instead for delightful ugliness, tuned down by at least an octave. It sounds like Lamb Of God and Meshuggah had a love child together, just so they could abuse it. Also, they've got the Breakdown Of The Year.
I'll be very honest here: I really wanted to give today to 36 Crazyfists. Maybe it's 36CF's relative underdog status. Maybe it's the undeniable fact that listening to TAS repeatedly is a bit exhausting. Also, after two back-to-back listens to "Wormwood", I found myself thinking sentences like, "TAS is too heavy for their own good." And then I did myself a kindness, and listened a third time. Fuck it. The Acacia Strain goes on to the next round!
(But really, 36CF put out a great album last year. You should hear it if you haven't. And here's something I'm sure I'll be saying again in the next few weeks: if I could bring both bands forward, I would.)
Tomorrow, another fun battle: As I Lay Dying vs. All The Remains. Prepare yourself for pure Band Name Acronym Mayhem (BNAM)!