We begin with two competitors who could not be more different from each other.
Triptykon's second studio album, Melana Chasmata, starts off oddly, channeling 4AD bands like Dead Can Dance as much as it adheres to its black metal roots, but by the third track it comes into its own. What follows is a moody, progressive, and powerful album, full of dark ambition and atmosphere. It has missteps and issues with pacing, but it works far more often than not. Even if you're not a fan of Tom G. Warrior, Celtic Frost, or doom, this Triptykon album is beyond commendable.
And then there's Nervosa's Victim of Yourself. Utterly devoid of pretense, this album has just one mood: old-fashioned thrash. You've heard this album before, in some form, and you know what? It still feels good. In fact, it's hard to find fault with Nervosa, as all their rough edges and blemishes can reasonably be heard as virtues, adding to the authenticity of the pure rock fury. And still, after all is said and done, Victim of Yourself succeeds in part because its aspirations are small. Better to swing for the fences and miss sometimes, which is why I'm giving the first win to Triptykon. (But really, the Nervosa is super good, and you should listen to it, and maybe break some stuff.)
We've got another contest tonight: Nero Di Marte vs Lo-Pan!