This morning's contest was bound to upset some, regardless of the outcome. To those of you who are gnashing your teeth, all I can say is: brütal üpset! Both bands stepped it up in 2014, and delivered special albums that stand out at the pinnacles of their respective careers. But I've only got room for one winner this morning.
A flip of the coin says that we start with Cannibal Corpse. By now, it's no secret that A Skeletal Domain ain't your father's Cannibal Corpse. Sure, the band's trademark predilection for the ensanguined is still very much in effect, but that's simply the guiding principle behind some very compelling metal that in all honesty is closer to blackened thrash than the old-style death metal that CC helped make famous. The riffs here are monstrous, but they're also wickedly clever, tightly played, and consistently (and joyfully) surprising. The Triptykon is many things -- moody, weighty, hypnotic, layered, catchy, emotional -- but anyone who uses words like "tight" or "clever" to describe Melana Chasmata is shitting you and themselves.
Tonight, Fallujah and Black Crown Initiate clash once and for all.