Trivium, The Sword, Protest the Hero, Seemless

Good metal is hard to come by these days. For a while, the fallout from the late-'90s rap-rock explosion threatened to undo forever all that is good and metal in the universe. Luckily, new blood continues to flow. Orlando's Trivium unleashes faithful metal epics that channel late-'80s Anthrax and Cliff Burton-era Metallica, like any good Floridian metal outfit should. They may throw in some, dare we say, emo-esque interludes to soften the blow every now and then, but not too soft. These dudes ain't opening for Maiden just 'cause their B.C. Rich axes have dangerously sharp edges. Alternately, Austin's The Sword takes a fuzzier, sludgy approach, creating heavy-as-Lemmy pseudo-stoner metal with riffs that could slay a dragon being ridden by a barbarian chick in an iron brassiere. Designate a driver, rustle up your friends and drive 'em out to Fort Worth in your uncle's van. Ya know, the van with the barbarian chick in an iron bra riding a dragon airbrushed on the side of it.

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