The first cointoss of the year goes to Textures, who come out of the gate swinging with their ferocious Phenotype, the first of two albums they recorded simultaneously, and their first album in 5 years since their last successful Arsies contender. This one feels very much cut of the same complex cloth as its predecessor... a strong Arsies strategy, as they managed to make it into the Semifinals last time with that playbook. Textures manages to up their aggression a skosh while still retaining their frenetic post-djent progressivism.
Their challengers today, Primitive Weapons, choose a different tactic with their sophomore album The Future Of Death. This album, while not quite progressive, is every bit as clever (albeit in service of a darker sound). Each individual band member's musicality stands out as a bold component of the overall sound, which might make a lesser band lack coherence. But here, the fusion is compelling.
As you can see from our new scorecard, while both albums are well-matched in a lot of ways, Phenotype keeps its steam a bit better, is more technical, and more memorable. The first win goes to Textures!
Tomorrow: Buffalo mavericks ETID go up against Bay Area legends Testament.