The Calydonian Hunt
For contemporary metal, this is both protean and meaty stuff. Arrangements take surprising turns but don't outwear their welcome: Four (of nine) tracks clock in under three minutes. And the rhythmic throb often retains a whiff of the blues, a la certain nuclear-caveman thrash bands (Carnivore, early Voivod) from the mid-'80s. The vocals, nearly as tough to decipher when howling as when grunting, can be an Achilles Heel; too bad, since these Stockholmers' alleged obsession with mythical beasts is a new twist. But cuts like chugging closer "The Sword in the Stone" hook you regardless.