Today's fight is very close, for a battle between two bands who couldn't be less alike. Representing the thrash tradition, Byzantine blend the familiar guitar-oriented modalities of Machine Head and Testament. The result is an album's worth of straightforward headbanging, with just enough novelty to keep things interesting. On the other hand, The Armed take a more percussive hardcore approach, but turn their collective influences on their heads. What really decides this match is the replayability of both albums, and the relative ambitions of same. While the excellent Byzantine album To Release Is To Resolve gives you a lot of what you want, The Armed's Untitled does all that and expands the band's genre possibilities at the same time.
The Armed lock up the second Semifinal berth, and will take on Mutoid Man on Thursday! Tomorrow, it's Intronaut versus Lamb Of God.