It’s incredibly easy for a metal band to show off how technical they can possibly be. Some bands get lucky and can make a career out of their musicianship, and some are even able to write songs consisting entirely of sweeps and blast beats. But to contrast this, there are many bands that do the exact opposite and focus on what simply works for each song and putting technicality and other elements of their sound where it fits.
manages to find the medium in all of that on their third album, Elements of the Infinite
, by successfully combining impressive musicianship with strong songwriting and an awareness of what works. Seemingly taking notes from all over the metal spectrum, Allegaeon
’s sound is dominantly focused in their tech death, melo death, and groove metal influences with a few exceptions here and there. Punishing and relentless from start to finish, Allegaeon
will treat you with Elements
by delivering infectious grooves under soaring lead guitar work, only to punch you in the face and knock you down with fiendishly technical riffs and machine gun-emulating blast beats with little room to breathe.
But the suffocation is enjoyable, as the technicality and melodies blend perfectly together in each song. On the lead single “1.618,” Allegaeon
show off their chops in both technical and melodic ways. The entire band is on adrenaline in this song as everyone manages to keep up with drummer Brandon Park, who is constantly switching up the grooves and beats to keep things interesting. The bridge is extremely impressive as all the musicians get a chance to shine while incorporating a surprisingly welcome breakdown in the midst of it. Greg Burgess and Mike Stancel have an excellent part with bassist Corey Archuleta after the breakdown where the all match up tapping patterns and make way for vocalist Ezra Hayes to come back in.
Opening tracks “Threshold
of Perception” and “Tyrants
of the Terrestrial Exodus
” also show some symphonic elements in the band, primarily in the opening of the album. This inclusion is especially welcome at the end of “Tyrants
” where the band starts delivering some heavy, slowed down riffs with a massive downbeat that will demand their crowds to head bang and pound their fists in the air to.
It becomes evident by the second song that Allegaeon
are playing 8 string guitars, with a low E string being the basis of their riffs. Rest assured, Allegaeon
isn’t another band trying to incorporate a B-rate “djent” influence into their music are are actually using the lower notes to their advantage to make some sadistic riffs. “Gravimetric Time Dilation” comes along and shows that an 8 string guitar can be used to its fullest outside of the djent scene, and the result is excellent.
It seems all different directions the band dips into through the album come together near the end of the album on the hulking, 12-minute “Genocide
for Praise - Vals for the Vitruvian Man.” Returning with the symphonic intro, the rest of the band is reintroduced with a punch to the face, accompanied by a furious, heavy riff over the drums alternating between blasts beats and tight, unbreakable grooves.The song continues to progress into a massive chorus that continues to grow each time the band comes back into it, dividing it up with some of the best lead guitar work the entire on the album in the bridge. By the time the band fades out and the choirs in the back are the only thing remaining, ten minutes will have flown by, leaving the acoustic guitar to take it away. Allegaeon
’s songwriting ability is unquestionably impressive, but the real gem is here at the end of the album.
While there is a lot of good things to say, by around the seventh track one might become impatient for a change in the formula. It’s always nice to be surprised by an interesting tempo shift, but Allegaeon
never gives anything of the sort. Instead, they offer a mostly instrumental song, “Through Ages
of Ice - Otzi’s Curse
,” that (If one was actually questioning their ability to write a song while being technical this late in the album) focuses on the instrumentalists’ abilities as metal musicians. It’s a great warm up for the closing track, but comes a little late unfortunately.
aside, however, Elements of the Infinite
does not disappoint. Allegaeon
surely are one of a kind and demand you keep them on their radar, especially with the amount of punishment they dish out on every track. With their strong sense of melody blending perfectly with their ability to write technical music,, Elements
is definitely one of the stronger death metal releases of the year and one that will hopefully get Allegaeon
the attention they deserve.