The 2015 Arsies: January 7, 2015

January 7, 2015 arse

Oh man, is this an interesting matchup! Not only are these two very different kinds of death metal, but the men at the center of each album also happen to have a side project on the side (Blotted Science).
Hannes Grossmann won the coin toss, so his debut solo album Radial Covenant starts the metal mayhem this evening. This album is at its core a showcase for a collection of veteran technodeath musicians, and you're rarely given a chance to forget that fact during 45 very proggy minutes. The album's highlights -- the powerful opener Aeon Illuminate, the title track, and the goofy-on-paper song The Sorcerer -- also give Grossmann a chance to show off his compositional prowess. On the relatively rare occasions when the album fails to deliver, you're left with fairly predictable soloist fodder... and if we're being perfectly honest, there are worse ways to fall short.
With a well-earned reputation for living in the decidedly less pristine side of the death metal aisle, we have Cannibal Corpse and their 97th studio album A Skeletal Domain. And while CC are not known to innovate their sound much from album to album, this latest work is a step up for the band in virtually every measurable way. The production has never been crisper or more brutal. The technicality and musicianship are locked in, without being too showy. The overall sound is muscular and dark. And the combination of radio hit Kill Or Become leading directly into the savagely detuned title track is just lethal. A Skeletal Domain is meat-and-fucking-potatoes death metal with a modern flair, and a vitality that's all the more impressive for coming from a band as seasoned as Cannibal Corpse. The boys from Buffalo take the round. Let's see how they do in 3 weeks, when they go up against Overkill. It's an upstate-versus-NYC battle royale!

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