I'm not sure it would be possible for Throwdown to sound any more like Pantera without actually earning themselves a cease-and-desist letter from Phil Anselmo's lawyers.
Is there anybody out there who can tell they're listening to As I Lay Dying, and not Darkest Hour or Every Time I Die or...or...or? An Ocean Between Us is so generic it should come in a plain white jewel case labeled "Metalcore Album."
On the other hand, the new Black Dahlia Murder disc, Nocturnal, is great. A major recovery from the half-assed sham that was Miasma. (Once you've come up with a title as good as "Statutory Ape," you've set yourself a high bar, songwriting-wise. They never came close to clearing it.)
The album as a whole ain't metal by a long stretch, but Circle's Sunrise, from 2001, is about to come out in the States on No Quarter, and it's worth the purchase price just for the opening track, "Nopekunigas," and the closer, "Loki." The former is seven minutes of howling Judas Priest-meets-Can madness, and the latter is a 15-minute proggy drone that'll make your limbic system very, very happy at high volume. (Their new album, Katapult, is notable mostly for "Four Points Of The Compass," which sounds like a lost Tangerine Dream soundtrack to some early '80s Michael Mann project. Put your sunglasses on and drive a rain-slick, midnight highway with this one blaring.)