The week ends with another tough battle. Fit For An Autopsy go first, and from the onset, it's clear that the band aren't fucking around on Absolute Hope Absolute Hell. This Acacia Strain/Gojira/Norma Jean hybrid is snarling and surefooted. It's a crowdpleaser for sure.
But not as much as The Armed. This collection is a multilayered work, more ferocious on its surface with its tireless hardcore energy... and yet more thoughtful and nuanced upon deeper study. It's an album that bestows its most stunning effects upon the patient repeat listener. Also, it's inventively catchy, if you can call Ministry shoved through the meat grinder of the Circle Jerks "catchy." And just when you think you've got the album's number, you're hit with Dead Actress, the four-minute calm at the album's eye that presages the equally violent second half in true. The F2A2 is really good, and you can't go wrong listening to them. But if you listen to the otherworldly Untitled all the way through, you won't remember Absolute Hope Absolute Hell when you're done. And that's as much a credit to The Armed as anyone else's fault.
Next week, we start the second half of the second round, with Intronaut and Minsk.