Get ready for another mythical tournament review of the best and brightest metal of the previous year! This is the sixth year of the Arsies, and we've decided to do a few things a bit differently this time around. More about that in a minute.
If you're new to the Arsies, here's how things work. Arranged around the bracket are the best of the best, the most promising metal albums released over the past 12 months. Over the course of the next several weeks, those albums will face off in daily battle. During each match, we'll listen to those two albums, to determine which is superior. Using the hallowed sudden death format, we'll arrive at an ultimate winner. And while it's still a subjective determination, that choice will at least harder to argue against.
As in all other years, I've tasked myself with the job of culling the herd and finding the initial contenders. I've limited myself to streaming sources, with entirely new music releases of at least 20 minutes in length. Even with those limitations, I went a little nuts this year, auditioning 244 albums -- a 78% increase in raw metal.
Which brings us to the first of two massive changes for 2015. First, the field of play is expanded from 32 to 64 contestants. We'll be running two contests every weekday, and even then we'll take 7 weeks versus the usual 6. Holy crap.
Also, I keep saying 'we.' For the first time, I will have some help with the Arsies: my metal compadres Zig and JaPaBo will be running some of the contests as well. I'm excited to hear their take on things. And their judgments will be as final and inviolable as mine. (But don't let that stop you from disagreeing vocally with any of us; your comments are always welcome.)
We'll get started on Friday, January 2nd, with Triptykon and Nervosa.