>Hardcore pioneer Converge helped invent metalcore, combining punishing rhythms, sludgy Slayer breakdowns, and arrangements that spasm between chest-pounding churn and terse guitar angularity. The writhing guitars, quaking bottom end, and stop-start dynamics morph in quicker succession nowadays, and the production has been beefier since the band signed with Epitaph for 2004's You Fail Me
. But Frontman Jacob Bannon still rages like a demon, and the music shreds like broken glass.
Mastodon's monstrous throb makes it an ideal tourmate. Its visceral blend of prog and extreme metal earned it a major-label deal with Warner Bros. While the group grinds as hard as Converge does, the songs digress frequently into intricate jams that spiral up like plumes of marijuana smoke. Their combination of hard and billowy produces a good buzz. Look for the third album, Blood Mountain, in late October.