Well well. West Virginia's Karma To Burn win the coin toss today, and so these veterans of stoner metal start things off with their sixth album Arch Stanton. But to just dismiss the music here (or in the band's back catalogue) as simple stoner metal is to do it a gross disservice. Sure, the aesthetic is firmly in place, but the retro-inventive riffing and driving rhythm are deeply engrossing and engaging. It does however take a few songs for the band to hit their stride, however, but if you can make it to the album's high water mark, Fifty Five, you'll understand why K2B are in this fight.
To which, Long Island's very own Artificial Brain respond with the blistering debut album Labyrinth Constellation, a brooding and bruising 44 minutes of technodeath with all the sullenness of Gorguts, but with crisper precision. Tracks like Absorbing Black Ignition are just exotic enough to keep the listener off-balance, which only adds to the punch while still managing to be hooky enough to be memorable. This music offers a more fascinating and ultimately cathartic listening experience than K2B; if Arch Stanton is music to drive to, Labyrinth Constellation is the soundtrack to your next alien abduction. And so, Artificial Brain annihilate a bewildered Karma To Burn, and go on to the next round!
Tonight, the conventional meets the bizarre: it's supergroup Devil You Know vs Torrential Downpour!