Allegaeon, Damnum (Metal Blade 2022)

Melodic death metal purveyors Allegaeon release a new album, their sixth long-player, Damnum.

Allegaeon is a band from Colorado that came together under the current name in 2008. I have read their music described as “technical melodic death metal.” That sounds like a lot of ground to cover. It is, and they do it expertly. Damnum is there sixth full-length album, and I think it is their best one so far. The band is Greg Burgess (guitar), Michael Stancel (guitar), Riley McShane (vocals), Brandon Michael (bass), and Jeff Saltzman (drums).

The first song is “Bastards of the Earth.” It begins acoustically but it doesn’t stay that way very long. The metal is technically proficient, superbly so. That is the first defining characteristic of the band and of this album. The second is the vocalizations, which present in singularity and harmony, medium- and most-gruff death metal-like, and lyrically, beautifully melodic. There are other bands that do this as well, but none are as effective at it, and the others do not stretch the edges quite so much. Allegaeon is unique.

“Of Beasts and Worms” is next. It has identifiable recurring elements yet still the song is completely different from any of the others and is one of the stand-out tracks for me on the album. The end points of quiet and of raging are so far apart you can’t see one when you are standing at the other. In the louder moments the passion is undeniable and when the music goes softer there is an earnest yearning that throws an invisible cloak around you. The lead guitar parts are incredible, delivered with stunning speed and unswerving surety. It is a rager with a catchy chorus and monstrous rhythm.

There are no low points on this album. Every song is a new discovery. “Vermin” just kills it. “The Dopamine Void” is presented in two parts and is a showcase for the band’s musical ingenuity. The final song is “Only Loss,” and here the music delivers on the promise of the title – elegant, sorrowful, intense. Excellent on every front. Highly recommended.

Damnum is out this Friday, February 25th, through Metal Blade Records. More info at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://allegaeon.bandcamp.com/album/damnum

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Allegaeon/

Metal Blade Records, https://metalblade.com/allegaeon/

Allegaeon, Damnum (Metal Blade 2022)

Allegaeon, Concerto in Dm (Metal Blade 2020)

If J. S. Bach had had an electric guitar to work with, his music might have sounded something like this.

Last year’s Apoptosis was a major event in the evolution of Allegaeon, and in heavy music, really. The superlative musicianship combined with cunning composition established a primary marker in the band’s canon.

It might have been overlooked by the casual fan that the vinyl release of Apoptosis included two tracks not available on the digital download. Those tracks have now been released as a digital single for the greater enjoyment of the public at large.

“Concerto in Dm.” When the Roundabout single came out earlier this year, I suggested that you listen to the original Yes song first in order to appreciate better the new version by Allegaeon. Same thing here. The Bach music is Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052 allegro, to be precise. Typically executed on harpsicord and bowed string instruments, it sounds amazing on electric guitar with modern accompaniment. After all, it is not just the guitar – Bach didn’t have this percussion, either. This is not a note-for-note replication. Rather, this is an interpretation necessarily requiring some alterations. The resulting music is superb.

Side B is “In Flanders Fields,” a beautiful piece featuring acoustic guitar. Here it serves as a peaceful wind down from its energetic companion. The two seem very much like they go together, even lifted as they are out of the context of the larger album.

Concerto in Dm is available now at Bandcamp and other fine establishments. If you did not get these songs on the vinyl last year, now is the time to pick them up. Recommended.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://allegaeon.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/allegaeon

YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/ALLEGAEON

Roudabout review, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/04/04/allegaeon-roundabout-single-review/

Allegaeon, Concerto in Dm (Metal Blade 2020)

Allegaeon “Roundabout” Single Review

What happens when a death metal band covers a prog classic? The creation of a new standard, that’s what. Allegaeon has just released a cover version of the Yes song “Roundabout” from their classic 1971 album, Fragile. If you just say “death covering prog” it sounds like a train wreck, but if you are an Allegaeon fan you know in advance this is going to work out. The hyper-technical musical abilities showcased in their latest full-length album, Apoptosis, make it abundantly clear that Allegaeon can handle the statistical density of Yes’s complicated composition.

The first two and a half minutes of the song sound like if Emerson, Lake, and Palmer had covered “Roundabout” – musical perfection with a slightly harder edge than the original. But then you start to hear the differences. The guitars start to kick in even bigger with a power not evident in the original. The vocals initially are clear like the way Yes did it, but they start to get a growling layer about halfway through that works an harmonic magic. In the last two minutes, the lead guitars take off on a wild ride, always in the context of the Yeswork but colored Allegaeon. The song ends in the same harmonic fashion as the original, down to the da-das. Eight minutes and twenty-one seconds.

Here’s how you maximize your experience: listen the Yes original first, then immediately crank the Allegaeon version. It’s fantastic. And after that, give Apoptosis a listen if you haven’t already (or do it again if you have). Great stuff. Recommended.

Links.

Allegaeon Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Allegaeon

Allegaeon Video, https://www.youtube.com/ALLEGAEON

Allegaeon  Twitter, https://twitter.com/allegaeon

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/

Allegaeon “Roundabout” Single Review