Happy Monday, and welcome to the final day of the first round of this metal tournament. We get off to a decidedly unmetal start with Ghost (nee Ghost B.C.) and their finest album ever, Meliora. The album has a total of two standout thrashy tunes: Cirice and Absolution. And by "thrashy," I of course mean Metallica circa Black Album, laced with some Shaun Cassidy overtones. Damning as that sounds, the album works so much better when the band aren't quite so yoked to their metal obligation. The further the music ventures into purer rock, the more it resonates. Indeed, the majority of Meliora is a sweet pastiche of classic rock in one manifestation or another (Rush, B.O.C., Mountain).
Closer to the mark, Scale The Summit's V clearly have more metal to offer, pound by pound. But Scale The Summit also seem to be of two minds on this subject, vacillating between thunderous pummelling and Windham-Hill-style noodling. Virtually every track from opener The Winged Bull on down demonstrates this indecision. The band comes close a couple of times to achieving true synergy between Berklee shred tendencies and moshpit inspiration, but this is at its core a modern jazz album played on 8-string guitars. As enjoyable as this is for prog fans, the fun is all fleeting, and not much sticks with you after the music stops. As much as it pains me to say it, Scale The Summit lose points for indecision and lack of memorability, and this is enough to give Ghost the win.
The first round is over! Tomorrow, the Round of 16 begins with BTBAM and Panopticon.