Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite

pic byMatthewZinke

pic byMatthewZinke

You always hope and sort of expect bands to get better and more adventurous with each release, expectations becoming greedier and more demanding for the next offering after each success. Often wants are met and as often disappointed but few seem to make the size of a leap forward with each album as US melodic death metallers Allegaeon has. What is most impressive about the band is not so much the fact that they continue to evolve and push their sound to new plateaus with each release but the size of the steps between what have been quite stunning releases anyway. Releasing third album Elements of the Infinite, the Colorado quintet has again taken the seeds of a thoroughly impressive and highly acclaimed predecessor to another dramatically compelling and boundary stretching level. It is a glorious storm of technical voracity and virulent invention within an extreme metal tenacity which just ignites the imagination whilst feeding an appetite and hunger until now undiscovered. Last album Formshifter was a major incitement declaring Allegaeon as a prime protagonist but hindsight and Elements of the Infinite shows it was just the another step in a brewing game changer which has begun to redesign the landscape and future of melodic death metal.

The gap between the two albums has also seen the departure of band founder guitarist Ryan Glisan, who brought the project to life in Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite2008, and drummer Jordon Belfast. Whether coincidence or giving a previously unavailable opportunity to the band to explore new depths and adventures within its still distinct to Allegaeon sound, the departures seem to have opened up a startling new soundscape for the band to colour. The skilled presence of newcomers Brandon Park and Michael Stancel on drums and guitar respectively, alongside guitarist Greg Burgess, vocalist Ezra Haynes, and bassist Corey Archuleta has found a new depth to the ideation of the band. 2010 debut album Fragments of Form and Function put Allegaeon on the map and Formshifter brought a potent colour to the emerging scenery but the Dave Otero recorded Elements of the Infinite has not only reinforced the weight of the band’s presence but redefined the borders around its inventive terrain.

What immediately strikes as opener Threshold Of Perception engulfs ears and thoughts is not only the fluid and even stronger technical craft and impacting maturity to the songwriting and sound but the new ferociousness of aggression also challenging and seducing the senses. The track opens with a startling evocative web of expressive guitar within a dramatic and portentous yet welcoming atmosphere. It is a simultaneously intimidating and seducing coaxing which grows with epic breath as orchestrated hues and adventure soak the imagination, godly vocal harmonies and string manipulation a mesmeric charm and lure as the walls and heart of the track establish their demanding presence. The fearsome guttural growls of Haynes impress from the first spiteful syllable whilst Park cages the listener in a cauldron of rhythms and beats which without breaking sweat, break the back of emotional security. It is a tremendous entrance which expands into a masterful narrative of delicious sonic and melodic enterprise within an uncompromising intensity driven by Park and Archuleta. The song is a portent of things to come, swiftly confirmed by its successor.

   Tyrants Of Terrestrial Exodus entangles senses in a predacious stride of punishing rhythms and sonic enticement, crushing and seducing ears and emotions with equal vivacity. The track is hypnotic, bewitching the imagination from every angle. From the aggressive pungency of the drums and bass malice aligned to pleasingly diverse vocal causticity to the sonically bred melodic ingenuity which either sings loudly or with subtle kisses soaks every note, the encounter is a twisting tempting. It is a glorious wind in the new ‘dawning’ of Allegaeon within Elements of the Infinite, one complemented by the just as captivating Dyson Sphere. There is a core swing and groove to the song which infects emotions instantly and to which Burgess and Stancel layer imposing magnetic textures and mesmeric imagination. Spatial in its climate and tenacious in its invention, not forgetting hostile in its primal expulsions, the track ignites another wave of greed in the hunger and satisfaction already bred by the album.

Next The Phylogenesis Stretch takes thoughts into another fascinating realm of technical alchemy and sonic ingenuity within an exhausting and thrilling musical and lyrical narrative. As with all the tracks, the song has layers and corners which cannot be fully explored or often discovered on initial visits, ensuring that from an instantly stunning and mouthwatering premise, there is a constantly rewarding and impressive investigation perpetually unveiled with each taking of its body. This only makes a brilliant album on first embracing a growing leviathan of quality and scintillating inventive alchemy with ever emerging pinnacles like 1.618 which comes next. The track lovingly flirts and viciously riles the imagination from start to finish, a sonic and rhythmic provocateur which allows the listener to make assumptions before whipping away the floor for another inspiring fall into the rich enthralling depths of the encounter.

There is a darker rapacious feel to the album aligned with the aggression and inventive exploration, openly shown by that song and the next up Gravimetric Time Dilation, a carnivorous beauty and elegant vitriol soaking the careering rabidity and sonic endeavour enslaving ears. It beguiles and savages with irresistible resourcefulness and malicious enmity cored by a guitar enticement which binds it all together whilst reassuring the senses that the rancor is for their own good.

The pair of Our Cosmic Casket and Biomech II set new fires within the passions, the first a slowly unveiling intrusion of mystique washed melodics and insatiable predation courted by celestial temptation and virulent loathing whilst the second is sheer vindictive brilliance. An uncompromising, merciless stomp of addictive hostility and psyche twisting grooves with a melodic toxicity which again reassures in the face of the corrosive tempest, the track is a riveting sonically plumaged predator.

Through Ages Of Ice – Otzi’s Curse and Genocide For Praise – Vals For The Vintruvian Man, the album comes to a powerfully absorbing conclusion, each in their distinct ways singular journeys through bracing and frightening lands. The first is an energetic mouthwatering stomp of melodic enchantment and sonic tenaciousness within noxious malevolence and rhythmic testing whilst the final song near on thirteen minutes of just enthralling exploration. Peaceful searches and vigorously aggressive examinations are offered in varying creative degrees and colours across the gripping premise of the breath-taking flight. It is a mighty end to a sensational album, one showing you can take nothing for granted with Allegaeon and that expectations are redundant when it comes to their skills and imagination, though Elements of the Infinite does show that you can expect a proposition which will leave senses and emotions truly alive.

Elements of the Infinite is available via Metal Blade Records now!

http://www.facebook.com/allegaeon

10/10

RingMaster 25/06/2014

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Allegaeon: Formshifter

Formshifter the new album from Colorado melodic death metallers Allegaeon is just one of those beasts that you can only be impressed by no matter which metallic flavour lines your heart most. It is quite simply a masterpiece of defence splitting aggression, mesmeric technical prowess, and blistering scorched melodies, that is not to mention the deeply manipulative grooves and tumultuous numbing riffage which drives each and every track. The album is immense, a ruthless incursion of ear and heart which leaves one in no doubt they have just experienced the mightiest and most invigorating storm.

    Formshifter is the follow up to 2010 debut album Fragments of Form and Function, an album that put them on the metal map with force. Formed in 2008 by founding member and guitarist Ryan Glisan and soon completed with the addition of classically trained guitarist Greg Burgess, vocalist Ezra Haynes, and bassist Corey Archuleta, Allegaeon (pronounced: uh-lee-juhn) drew attention with their four tracked self-titled EP of the same year. 2009 saw them sign with Metal Blade Records and the eventual release of their critically acclaimed first album the year after. Following up such an impressive introduction to the wider world is always testing but they make it look easy as they return with an album that puts even that mighty debut in the shade.

Recorded at Lambesis Studios with Daniel Castleman (As I Lay Dying, Impending Doom, Carnifex, Winds of Plague), Formshifter splatters the senses against the cranium from the start with not only brutal intensity and insatiable grooves but also from the sheer class of their melodic invention. It never leaves one alone for a moment persistently barracking, provoking and captivating. It retains the core sound that made its predecessor so dominant but brings a fuller depth and uses a wider palate to create with. The band adds in multi sourced flavours to their melodic death metal spine without diminishing the tight powerful structure and strengths that make them Allegaeon; in fact they have simply just made them even more formidable.

The opening melodic beckoning of first song Behold (God I Am) sets one up majestically for the soon to follow wall of destructive intensity, and riffs that cripple the senses within seconds. It is a rampant muscular assault that leaves no avenue twisted and escape route blocked with its mountainous intensity. With solos which leave flesh as cinders the track is a stunning start to the album and yet not even close to be the best track on the album.

The following Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst explores inner corners you did not know existed as its grooves search out every shadow for the stunning guitar invention to glow within. Not one for over blown guitar play or constant solos it is still impossible not to be blown away from the imaginative and glorious creations from Glisan and Burgess, the latter one of the finest guitarists around and with the discipline and skill to stay well away from indulgence.  Throughout the vocals of Haynes growl and crawl all over the emotions with authority, emotion and venomous spite veining every track with a harsh intensity.

Every song on the album is a ravenous predator upon the ear mauling with titanic riffs and melodic ingenuity that lights every pore. The likes of the unrelenting bruising Iconic Images, the viciously clawed The Azrael Trigger a track which twists and torments the senses until you have no idea what day it is, and the infection spewing From The Stars Death Came, all leave one a breathless husk as they devour every synapse and feeling.  It is with Twelve – Vals For The Legions though that the band ignites the most ravenous fire within.  It immediately consumes with a groove which tantalises and excites whilst wrapping it in a fury of rhythms and riffs to bring any stiff kneed recipient to the floor. Contagious and intimidating the song prowls the ear as the guitars eagerly offer a mesmeric sonic intrusion with a final captivation coming from the brief Latin classical guitar insertions which invite nothing but the deepest affection. As the track drops its final colossal note it transforms into a wonderful guitar instrumental, the classical heart and skill of Burgess irresistible, and though the piece feels unrelated to the song it aligns itself to it is a deeply satisfying moment on the album to match the song itself.

Formshifter is immense and Allegaeon a metal giant, the album is the proof so now is the time to go and be impressed.

RingMaster 16/05/2012

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