The 2012 Arsies: January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012

If yesterday's battle was a little light on the metal mayhem, today's makes up for it, with Protest The Hero's “Scurrilous” and American Heritage's “Sedentary”.
Let's start with PTH. “Scurrilous” is, unsurprisingly, an instrumental tour de force. If anything, the band is even more virtuosic here than they were on their last album, “Fortress”. And then there's the vocals. Even by metal's often-insipid standards, this album's lyrics are re-tard. As near as I can tell, they're mostly about tweenagers at the mall. The lyrical content is distracting enough as it is, but Rody Walker's over-the-top vocal stylings only make things worse. It's a dilemma, especially for a band whose mainstay is flashy freneticism instead of simple riffs and hooks. Even so, this album is an undeniable contender, warts and all.
American Heritage's “Sedentary” has the antidote to all that ails “Scurrilous”. It's heavier than Tad, and about as muddy-sounding. From its screechy opening, the album rips relentlessly. It's just so enjoyably punk rock. It's Brujeria and “Leviathan”-era Mastodon and Melvins and so many other pieces of gristle that you can't help but get pumped, and maybe you're going to break some plate glass while you listen to it at volume as you swagger down the street. Are there lyrics? I remember about four words in total, and two of them are “FUCK” and “GO”.
And yet....
I've been listening to both of these albums for months now, and what I've discovered is that “Sedentary” just doesn't stick with you. It'll take you on a meandering journey, but once it's done, you'll forgot how you got there. (And your wallet might be missing.) “Scurrilous” is just the opposite; it burrows into your brain, those goddamned vocals included, but it refuses to let go of you. And that's what ultimately makes it a better album. Protest The Hero takes this round... barely. They'll face off against TesseracT in a few weeks.
You know what's next? DevilDriver versus Obsidian, that's what.

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