Of the many idiosyncracies that are part of the Arsies landscape, one of the most painful is that occasionally you'll get a qualifying-round matchup between two albums that are rightfully worthy of a semifinal berth. That's the case right now, in the contest between Belphegor and Job For A Cowboy.
Belphegor's Conjuring The Dead is phenomenal, ferocious, a punch to the bread basket... everything you could possibly expect from a blackened death metal band. And them winning the cointoss sets a very high bar for any contender. To be honest, Job For A Cowboy's Sun Eater doesn't immediately take the bait, opening with the slow burner Eating The Visions Of God. But by the second track, it's clear that the band has been seriously chugging from the BTBAM fountain (hello, Sun Of Nihility? Sun Of Nothing?!). And then, track after track, they keep topping themselves, expanding on the previous song's high watermarks for originality, musicianship, and dark riffs and rhythms. The end of Sun Eater brings something relatively rare: chills and a sadness that it has to end. The Belphegor is great, but the JFAC is absolutely stunning.
That's it for the second wave of battles in the Arsies! Tomorrow morning, we start the Round of 16, and from here on out, every single band elimination is going to be a bittersweet decision, because any of these sixteen albums are worthy of serious praise and multiple listens. So let the regrets begin in the morning, when Triptykon face Soreption.