(TheMadIsraeli has cooked up a week-long series devoted to modern melodic death metal, featuring one band each day, beginning with Colorado’s Allegaeon.)
If you were alive, and in your early teens, in the 90’s, you more than likely found your entrance into metal via melodeath or melodic death metal. Like I or Islander did, you probably heard bands like In Flames, At The Gates, or Soilwork, and were absolutely floored by the musicianship on display and the idea that something could be both melodic and a total steamroller at the same time. This stuff was THE SHIT if you were a 90’s kid, or even an early 2000’s kid. I don’t think there is any disputing this one.
Melodeath, though, is now seen by many as the stagnant and lazy metal genre of choice. Thousands upon thousands of poor At The Gates and In Flames imitators and the advent of melodic metalcore have given melodeath a bad rap from which, quite frankly, it still doesn’t seem to have recovered. This is a real shame, because there have been some killer melodeath albums released, particularly in the last 5 years.
So it’s now melodeath week. I will review a recent/modern melodeath album for every day of the week if Islander can keep up that pace of editing. The criteria are as follows…
1: Must have been made in the last 10 years
2: I will TRY TO AVOID well known acts, although I am pre-emptively saying The Absence is getting an exception.
So with that said, let’s get started shall we?
Allegaeon have so far only offered us this debut — Fragments Of Form And Function — and it’s very hard to believe they hail from the city of Denver, Colorado, a place known for producing some exceptional bands (Cephalic Carnage, for example), but I can’t say I recall many melodic bands coming out of Colorado, making them stick out like a sore thumb. But enough fucking around, TIME FOR THE METAL!
Smart riffing and smarter composition is what sells Allegaeon as a tight, noteworthy unit. Once this album open with the furious thrashing and blasting fury of “The Cleansing”, you know it’s on. Once that song hits its waltz section and the ensuing solo follows, you understand these guys got the ear for captivating songs.
Allegaeon offer the darker side of melodeath, so the expected influences are here — At The Gates, early Arch Enemy, and early Soilwork — all produced into a top notch package that actually sounds original, mostly in the way the band combine the elements from these influences. There is also a huge does of Bay Area thrash here, preventing the music from falling wholly into the At The Gates sphere of influence. It should also be noted that the album reveals a HUGE Nevermore influence, which is apparent not only in the “Biomech” single featured in the above video, but also in songs like “A Cosmic Question…”.
Ezra Haynes offers up vocals with a wretched black metal feel, providing a unique voice that complements the music well. Guitar duo Greg Burgess and Ryan Gilsan may prove themselves to be up-and-coming MVP’s in the future if this level of quality continues. Generating tasteful riffs, inspiring guitar interplay, and some insane dual solo’s (see the video above, again), they prove their mettle. Corey Archuleta provides solid foundation with his bass, while drummer Jordon Belfast attacks the kit with a surgical precision that isn’t heard often. While Belfast doesn’t play quite like Van Williams (now ex-drummer of Nevermore), something about his performance nevertheless does very much remind me of Williams.
You may also enjoy the more science/technology-focused bent of the lyrics; it’s pretty cool stuff. The production is extremely clean, clear, and precise feeling. It fits the music well and brings out every nuanced detail, which is a necessity if you want to fully take in and appreciate this band’s music.
I am recommending this album to you if you want to hear technical melodeath delivered with taste and character. I hope these guys keep pumping out goodness like this.
I’ve grown a bit (only a bit) tired of melodeath in the last year or two, but these guys are pretty fucking good.
I particularly liked Biomech.
Also: COLORADO!!! W00T!!!
Also, who was the author on this post??
Damn, I knew I’d forgotten to do something, but I thought it was clipping the cat’s nails. I just identified the author. Now, where is that cat?
Seriously though, I wish I’d known how many awesome bands were from Colorado before I left.
Odd that I would only discover them AFTER I’m half way across the world…
Damn, my high school counselor was right: I suck at life.
Your counselor sounds like a douche.
I was joking, of course.
I think I talked to the counselor once though, and it was very brief. “I’m not going to college.”
Turned out I was wrong, but at least I did it on my own fucking terms.
dont get me wrong, but i actually thought these guys were from sweden! they are fucking amazing man
Sweden is not actually a real place, but a state of mind.
so i went to their facebook page and the name is actually pronounced uh-lee-juhn, i dont even know how to say it
Well, I’ve been pronouncing it wrong then, but that sounds better than al-la-GAE-on. Apart from the pronunciation, the name’s a bitch to spell, too.
I’m with Vinter on the pronunciation of their name, it’s like “a-legion”. Also the same info is on their Metalblade page as well.
They have their self-titled EP on their Facebook page as a free download for liking their page.
Everyone I know agrees that it’s Al-Leh-Gay-On
I’ve always liked Allegaeon. Though I have to confess that I was a tad disappointed with the debut album. Now don’t get me wrong, I LIKE it, alot. I don’t think it has a single song that is in any way worse than the other. I just feel that given their great EP, I could’ve waited for something more from the actual album. Oh and one thing I like about this band is their lyrical themes and lyrics in overall, they just appeal to me in a incomprehensible way.
They’re from Fort Collins. Fuck Denver.
Heh heh. There’s a lot of people in Denver, but if you start now, you might be able to fuck all of them before you die.
Just wait until you hear the new material. Colorado has a bunchi of talented metal bands. The metal worls will soon know.
I’ve had “Fragments Of Form And Function” for a while, and this thing does not get old. These guys along with bands like The Arcane Order and Darkane are really bringing the technicality and brutality to the melodeath scene, and are doing so masterfully.