A contest between a black metal act and a prog/techno supergroup? Sure, why not?! Abbath win the coin toss, and get things going today instead of their upticket rivals.
Abbath's eponymous debut after Abbath Doom Occulta's departure from Immortal is undeniably winsome. Its black metal, leavened with equal parts Rigor Mortis and Black Sabbath, is dynamic and driving, and the album's 48 minutes goes by almost too quickly (something I rarely say about any albums in this genre). Abbath is likely my favorite black metal album of the last two years, and it would take something remarkable to top it.
Which is exactly the response from Entheos, a djent-informed progdeath supergroup featuring former members of Animosity (also by way of Animals As Leaders and The Faceless). The music on their debut album The Infinite Nothing sounds like a mixture of all those bands... plus a dozen others. It's a dizzying array of influences at first blush, but listen to the opening track a few times, and you start to realize that the music isn't crowded, just meticulously alien. Not the singular vision that you often get with a band helmed by one or two songwriters, but a quartet of top-tier musicians trusting each other to swing for any fences they individually and/or collectively choose. This is a fascinating album, and while Abbath are great, Entheos wipe the floor with them.
Tomorrow, we'll find out who Entheos' next challengers will be: Anciients or Destrage.