This morning, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, thus prognosticating that Pennsylvania will see Spring come early. This prediction has only happened 14 other times in recorded history, proving once again that miserably cold people will often do foolish things.
More importantly, we had a hard-fought metal battle today, featuring two interesting and challenging albums. Neither one is perfect, and in particular they both take time away from bread-and-butter aggression for (frankly) some less-than-genuine passages of emotion. As a result, they both suffer from going on a bit at the mouth (although, at 67 minutes, Norma Jean's "Meridional" definitely feels like more of a marathon). But if we're going to be honest here, The Ocean constantly makes you aware that "Heliocentric" deserves to be thought about. It's a sumptuous sonic feast, to be sure, but at its best, the album justifies your preconception that you're supposed to be impressed. Norma Jean, on the other hand, takes your admiration from you, whether you're willing or not. That difference is just enough of an edge to give the day to Norma Jean.
Tomorrow, we wrap up the quarterfinals, with Overkill going up against The Sword.