The 2012 Arsies: January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012

Today's fight, between Scar Symmetry's “The Unseen Empire” and Amon Amarth's “Surtur Rising”, is perhaps the closest battle of this round. Both albums are strong, and represent the rockingest of white metal, with Scar Symmetry veering a little more into cheese, and Amon Amarth ever-so-slightly preferring growly doom metal. But good god, their strengths are so well-matched. As a random example, compare the third track from each album: “Extinction Mantra” and “Destroyer Of The Universe”. I'm hard-pressed to pick one over the other. What to do....
Well, there are two things that give Amon Amarth the edge. First, the production values are a little sharper on “Surtur Rising” (“The Unseen Empire” is a bit drenched in reverb, which is appropriate for the amount of keys on the album, but dulls the knife's edge). Second, there's an uplifting bouyancy in the middle of the album that help propel the listener all the way through, most notably in “Slaves Of Fear” and the oddly empowering “Live Without Regrets”. This is just enough of an edge to give Amon Amarth the win over their very worthy opponents. But will they have what it takes to unseat The Human Abstract? We'll find out at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, come back tomorrow, and listen to old favorites The Haunted and new favorites Decapitated or else!

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