Album Review: Allegaeon – Formshifter

For the longest time emerging metal acts looked up to the Big 4. They either had the speed of Slayer, the technicality of Megadeth, the aggression of Anthrax, or the mainstream appeal of Metallica. These days, the best of the fresh meat are looking elsewhere for inspiration and thank God they are, because ‘Formshifter’ is one hell of an album influenced by the heaviness of Meshuggah and the groove of Machine Head.

The tech-metal on display manages to never wander into self-indulgent territory which plagues the genre, and it never becomes too left-field to alienate more casual listeners of the melodic death-metal scene. The downtuned guitars are complimented at various intervals by extended acoustic outAllegaeon Formshifter Artworkros, largely thanks to classically trained guitarist Greg Burgess.

But make no mistake – across 10 tracks and 50 minutes, this is a heavy metal record for the 21st century. The complex riffery, the destruction of the band’s drum kit and the guttural vocals are all a sign of where modern metal is right now, and Allegaeon, with ‘Formshifter’, deserve to be one of the main players.

They pride themselves in approaching varied topics with their lyrics, such as the “stupidity and unfariness of the judicial system” and songs about Atlantis. While no one can detract them for doing something different within the genre, when the vocals are delivered in such a way, it is tough to know exactly what’s being said (though, it’s easy enough to work out lead singer Ezra Haynes is bloody angry).

I would be hard pushed to pick a standout track, but the title track just before the album’s climax is a strong 5 minute encapsulation of what Allegaeon are about: there are multiple twists and turns traded between guitars, both complex and groovy, over a metal-as-fuck rhythm section which combines influences from all eras of the genre we know and love. With ‘Formshifter’ Allegaeon deserve to be main contenders in the metal landscape.

Rating – 8


About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

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