Well, this is one very good, intense skirmish. Canadian grindcore maniacs Fuck The Facts waste no time with Desire Will Rot. Clocking in at a girthy-for-today's-standards 38 minutes, the album starts out strong as a masterclass in the genre, evoking early Napalm Death as often as Pig Destroyer. There's a lot lurking beneath the surface, though, with the back half of the album showing more of its progressive leanings (especially the twin assault of Solitude and False Hope]. And then the pace of the album hits an ill-advised slow patch with the eight-minute Circle suite; while I admire the band's ambition here, the listener really has to want to treat this departure as a meta-metal move. The band recover nicely with the sludgey closer, and perhaps that's the point of Nothing Changes (hint hint), but in my humble opinion, the album skews too traditional for this kind of protest to resonate. The good news is that, even with these quibbles, Desire Will Rot is potent as a motherfucker.
No strangers to brief flurries of hatred, Call Of The Void's latest Ageless. The album starts with eight minutes of vintage COTV: noisy, frantic, raw. But starting with their third track The Sun Chaser, the band start to show signs of diversification. I wouldn't call it finesse per se, but today isn't a day for such frilly things, and in fact the more lofty aesthetic that COTV continue to sling throughout the rest of the album is the perfect antidote to Fuck The Facts' brand of subversion.
This is, so far, the closest call to make in this year's tournament. Both bands are going for the same goals, and in their own fashions have succeeded. Both albums reward the patient listener and open up on multiple listens. But in the final analysis, Call Of The Void are heartbreakingly oh-so-marginally better this time around.
Let's end the week with Ufomammut versus Melechesh, shall we?