Today's challenge lived up to its name... for the judges! By dint of pure dumb luck, the thoroughly-boring Hatebreed faced off against the gross musical stylings of Coalesce. And I've gotta be honest with you: it was rough. On the one hand, Coalesce's "OX" verges on the unlistenable. Compelling, yes, but brutal on the ears. On the other hand, the eponymous album from Hatebreed certainly represents; unfortunately, it seems to largely represent bands like Biohazard and Sick Of It All. To be sure, both albums have moments of excellence; nevertheless, it's a stretch to call them growers OR showers. After two (forced) listens of each today, the panel weakly admitted that Coalesce's music was somehow more interesting. Or something; it was all said with a halting, shifty-eyed mumble.
Anyway, Coalesce wins! They will go on to compete against Shadows Fall, who will undoubtedly crush them with heavy excellence. But let's leave that for two weeks from now; the Arsies certainly has proven its ability to surprise us all!