Epic is a pretty serious word. It can be casually defined as something particularly impressive or remarkable. Epic is not a word that I use loosely because of its grand connotations. Something extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope is not something you come upon every day. “Paradise Lost” by John Milton – epic, Michael Jordan’s game 5 performance in 1997 NBA finals– epic, The Grand Canyon – epic. Music can be defined as epic also. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen; definitely epic. Now, I’m not saying that Denver’s Allegaeon is the next Queen, but for some reason when I listen to their new Metal Blade Records release “Elements of the Infinite,” the word epic comes to mind.
“Elements of the Infinite” opens with the Dimmu Borgir-like ‘Threshold of Perception.’ It starts with a symphonic intro and front man Ezra Haynes mixes some black metally snarls in with his bellowing growl. ‘Tyrants of the Terrestrial Exodus’ continues his vocal mix, this time with less strings, but with a haunting chorus backing Ezra up. ‘Dyson Sphere’ builds upon the previous track. Its Symphony X guitar/keyboard leads and female backing vocal make for another interesting twist. Allegaeon put some tech back in their death on ‘The Phylogenesis Stretch’ with guitar noodling and blast beats abound. They again build off the previous track with ‘1.618,’ ramping up the aggression and dropping in a djenty breakdown for good measure. ‘Gravimetric Time Dilation’ continues the punishment. New drummer Brandon Park supplies the hammer. Guitarists Michael Stancel and Greg Burgess buzz saw riffs are the foundation for the next two tracks, ‘Our Cosmic Casket’ and ‘Biomech II.’ The mostly instrumental ‘Through Ages of Ice – Otzi’s Curse’ sounds Rushified when it ends with dark synths and jungle drums. This leads into the dramatic strings and keyboards that open the final track, ‘Genocide For Praise – Vals for the Vitruvian Man,’ a nearly 13 minute opus about the ten plagues of Egypt from the perspective of God being a self-serving deity.
Allegaeon have progressively progressed their blend of technical death metal since their 2010 debut album “Fragments of Form and Function” and through 2012’s “Formshifter,” gaining more popularity and prowess along the way. Like I said earlier, I’m not saying Allegaeon is the next Queen, but “Elements of the Infinite” is a bold statement from them. One that is particularly impressive and beyond the usual or ordinary tech-death metal.