Allegaeon is a five piece outfit hailing from the Rocky Mountains specifically Denver area. These gentlemen set the world on its ear with their debut LP “Fragments of Form and Function”. Their new brutal truth, “Formshifter”, is set to descend upon the globe in early May and with it the world will tilt on its axis a bit as all ears turn to Denver. These Mountaineers are destined to join the like of Abysmal Dawn and Obscura as leaders of technical death metal.
Lets fast forward to ‘Iconic Images’ on “Formshifter” and let’s just establish right from the start the incredible musicality of all members. This track is rich blend of melodic and death metal ingredients with sprinkles heard from all members. The guitars are just insane, and the clever way that classical guitars are blended into the song results in an classical guitar clinic at the end of the track is sheer brilliance. The glimpse of acoustic parts here and there fit so well, with the follow up being sweeps of leads perfectly executed. Behind this flair are vocals in perfect scream tone, not over screamed to the point of screeching but that perfect amount of death metal scream to add that thread of brutal emotion to the track. The bass and drumming are in beat with their flares being sprinkled in where needed. The beauty of these two instruments is that the flairs blend so well with the music that you hardly notice them but when you close your eyes, the brilliance of the beat with all its nuances resonates throughout the track.
If we backtrack to the opening soundscape that is ‘Behold (God I Am)’, it drops in as rolling thunder does on the open prairie. As with storm cells on that prairie this song continues to build and rotate gathering strength through driving riffs, beats, and that perfect vocal inflection. What soon reveals is a perfectly executed metal tapestry not the whirling out of control flail and battering of debris from a storm. I liken this collection of notes and beats to skiing moguls; where perfect balance, hills and valleys all have to be coordinated in the right order and then in between the hills one has to collect themselves and get ready to do it all over again. Consider that this sequence of events happens at rapid fire pace going down in insanely graded hill. The fury of the solos and drums coupled with bass and vocals are delivered in exactly this manner. Ascending parts, descending parts and flat lands blended into a dance of notes with so many different parts and texture it may take more than a few plays to grasp all that is going on.
‘Formshifter’ and ‘Timeline Dissonance’ are yet another examples that really encompass everything that has been mentioned before. Lyrically there is a maturity that is not expected on a second album. Bands are often just starting to hit their stride lyrically in their second and third albums. The content and writing of the lyrics is well thought out and blending so well with the music and at times refreshing to see this level of ability to come forth so soon in Allegaeon‘s development.
In short, this is a brilliant display of technical death/melodic metal. It has the flair of guitars, the creative drumming and bass work that is essential to complement the guitars for a really great release. The vocals in both execution and lyrical content are the last but certainly not least ingredient in this the perfect storm that is “Formshifter”. This is the finest technical metal that I personally have heard this year, I am so excited for this release I can hardly wait for the next one. Brilliant job!