This was a difficult call for me personally, largely because of my historically difficult time with metalcore... and Frenchmen.
I have to give As I Lay Dying a lot of credit: they came very, very close to going all the way to the final match. Theirs was easily the best metalcore album of 2012, in a year of veteran acts putting out solid work. The AILD is some classy metal, its well-crafted ruggedness tempered with occasional, tasteful melody.
The battle really came down to memorability. Awakened is one of those albums that, with rare exception, is easy to forget. Sure, as soon as you start hearing one of its many awesome tracks, you'll think, "Oh yeah, I remember this tune. This is gonna be good." But, aside from Cauterize, the tunes are slippery, and tend to fade from memory. The middle third of the Gojira suffers from this same problem a bit, but otherwise you have (by my count) at least half a dozen instant classics, earworms from the first listen. Even Born In Winter, the tenth song on the album, is memorable. And so, Gojira edges out AILD and survives all four qualifying rounds of the Arsies. Slow claps indeed, Froggies.
Tomorrow, The Faceless and Between The Buried And Me compete. The winner of that contest will take on Gojira on Monday, and at least we will know who reigns supreme!