Now this is an interesting bout, purely from a scientific standpoint, mind you. Wink.
What you have here is a wholly uneven playing field, although it's unclear to me who has the high ground. Norma Jean, never as mathrocky as some of their metalcore compadres, don't try very hard to compete with technical prowess, although you do have some quick flourishes here and there. Instead, they bet it all on mood and emotion. And it really works for them; this is one spooky album. Everything from the pacing of the songs to the Lincolnshire Poacher interlude, combines to evince a feeling of hopeless modern nihilism.
If Norma Jean's imagery tends toward David Fincher, Meshuggah's palette is downright Giger-esque by comparison. The biomechanical perversion that is The Violent Sleep Of Reason is a beautifully confusing experience. It's also a smokescreen, belying the album's true core: a brutal, dynamic, muscular rhythm and groove. Does it resonate like the Norma Jean? Not quite. But it's so good at maintaining its own erratic onslaught, the emotional hollowness is only a fleeting infliction. Meshuggah advances once again, getting ready to stare down Anciients.
Two Quarterfinals down, two to go! Tomorrow, it's Ihsahn versus Painted Wives.