The 2012 Arsies: January 12, 2012

January 12, 2012

Welcome back to the second half of the first fourth of the Arsies! And speaking of second halves... well, you'll see what I mean.
Today's coin toss goes to prog metal upstarts Obsidian and their latest album, “Point Of Infinity”. Make no mistake: this is a progressive metal album... and yet, the band does a remarkable job of dressing down the mathy riffs and djenty elements in lo-fi, dark-roasted malice. You can hear this dichotomy most clearly in the first track, “Illuminate”, but in fact, the first three tracks by themselves are an immaculate slab of musical styles, delicate and ferocious, artfully blended together. And then, right around the halfway mark, the album veers into Isis territory, and not in a particularly compelling way. The last few tracks do much to reverse the boredom, however.
DevilDriver sees Obsidian's play, and raises it with the appropriately named “Beast”. This album is a nasty piece of work, like the best parts of Machine Head and Lamb Of God slammed together, and I love it. It's not uncommon for bands to have a buildup partway through a particularly powerful song. But what the songs on “Beast” do is start already built up, and then they kick in with even more powerful afterburners. There's a noticeable slowdown toward the second half of this album, perhaps as an inevitable price to pay for burning so bright to begin with. But then songs like “Lost” show that there's still plenty of gas in the tank, and the album ends almost as brutally as it started.
Much as I hate to not give it to a strong prog metal band, I've gotta be honest: DevilDriver crushed it today. You win, you fancy bastards! We'll find out tomorrow who you're going up against next. No matter what, it's gonna be hard to pronounce: Vildhjarta or Omnium Gatherum.

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