From this point on, a prog contest always seem to fly by until it reaches its conclusion. For each of the eight first round match-ups, we were given a week in which to give each album multiple listens. But by the time of the Elimination Round, Friday assumes that we are now already familiar with each of the contestants. So where up until now, we've been getting a full week to decide on one contest, here we received half a week to decide on four contests.
Although I gave each album another listen anyway, three of the four contests were pretty clear to me.
The first pitted Wallenstein against Pulsar. Wallenstein is, in many ways, traditional prog. It was OK, but the songs didn't really stand out for me, and I never really took to the lead vocalist's voice. Pulsar, on the other hand, I found to be a laid back LP with many subtle charms. I voted for Pulsar.
The second contest found The Mercury Tree facing off against Unreal City. This one wasn't even close for me (although, as you'll see, it was the closest contest in terms of the overall vote.) I didn't really like Mercury Tree at all. It's well done, and clever. However, I just didn't enjoy listening to it. Unreal City, on the other hand, was more a traditional prog album, and had a number of things going in its favor. I voted for Unreal City.
The third match-up was a battle between Wobbler and Trettioariga Kriget. This one was also clear cut to me. I had listened to the Wobbler album when it was first released two years ago, and if anything, I find that it has grown on me. I don't know if it's an album for the ages, like, say, Close to the Edge. It's still too soon to say. It is, however, a fine example of modern prog. The Trettioariga Kriget LP was another one that I just didn't enjoy that much. It had one or two moments, but there were also a couple of moments where I wanted to ask them, "What the hell were you thinking here?" I voted for Wobbler.
The fourth challenge was between Evership and Tako. This, for me, was the closest match. I liked each album somewhat, but neither completely blew me away. In the end, the thing that made the difference was the first song on the Evership LP, "The Serious Room". I felt strongly that it was by far the most memorable song on either album. I therefore voted for Evership.
Unlike the Discovery Round, where I think that my picks triumphed in only two of the eight contests, here, my choices won a clean a sweep.
The Final results were:
Pulsar 13 votes, Wallenstein 4 votes
Unreal City 9 votes, The Mercury Tree 8 votes
Wobbler 17 votes, Trettioariga Kriget 1 vote
Evership 10 votes, Tako 5 votes
The winners: Pulsar, Unreal City, Wobbler and Evership.
On to the semi-finals!