Album Review: Allegaeon – Fragments Of Form And Function

It is always refreshing to encounter a fairly new band whose unquestionable skill and talent is one of the standout components of their sound. This is certainly applicable to Colorado’s Allegaeon, an extreme melodic death metal five-piece who, having only formed in the summer of 2008, are already making notable progress towards considerable success within their genre. The band’s debut album ‘Fragments Of Form And Function’ is a consistently impressive, moderately diverse affair permeated by a somewhat majestic quality, which is the by-product of the aforementioned technical prowess on display. It is not an album without its faults, but taking into consideration the sheer boldness of the release and the abilities of each member of the band, it is nothing less than a very impressive debut.

It goes without saying that the standard of musicianship within any band aiming to adopt a style as elaborate as melodic death metal must be reasonably high, but even so, Allegaeon appear more proficient in their playing than most, and this ultimately allows for a more expansive musiallegaeon fragments of form and function artworkcal approach. Opening track ‘The Cleansing’, for instance, is representative of Allegaeon using their technical abilities to great advantage, capturing the pace and precision of Jordon Belfast’s excellent drumming, the inspired methodical harmonies and riffs of guitar duo Ryan Glisan and Greg Burgess, and the delightfully haunting vocals of Ezra Haynes, all of which are very effective. Drummer Belfast also particularly shines on the threateningly heavy ‘Across The Folded Line’, combining well with bassist Corey Archuleta to form a rhythm section so overpowering that it almost becomes the main focal point of the song. Haynes’s superb delivery, which seemingly amalgamates the finest traits of many great death metal vocalists, really comes to the fore on the explosive ‘From Seed To Throne’, but there is little doubt that guitarists Burgess and Glisan are the album’s outstanding performers, providing constant supremacy both in terms of virtuoso soloing and increasingly inventive riffing. The galvanising, In Flames-esque ‘The God Particle’ is arguably the guitarists’ finest hour, although the impact of their ingenuity and vision on each of the ten tracks is momentous.

Allegaeon’s class, however, is not only restricted to the area of individual flair. The way in which a number of the songs on ‘Fragments Of Form And Function’ are crafted is another contributing factor to the album’s overall quality, and this is also indicative of the potential that the band possess. ‘The Renewal’, for example, contains a number of dramatic pace changes as well as a well-executed sequence involving climactic interchanges between riffs and lead guitar bursts, while ‘Accelerated Evolution’ is an eight-minute epic structured to perfection. ‘Biomech Vals No. 666’ perhaps marks the peak of Allegaeon’s songwriting capabilities, and is one of the album’s overall highlights; a forceful combination of unrelenting speed, melodic dissonance, superb thrash riffs and chilling vocals eventually descends into a serene, cello-accompanied section with sublime acoustic guitars. This is the only occasion where the band venture outside of their supposed remit of melodic death metal, and judging by the remarkable beauty of this particular section, a heightened eagerness to explore other styles on Allegaeon’s part would not go amiss.

If ‘Fragments Of Form And Function’ is anything to go by, there is no denying that Allegaeon are well-equipped in certain areas to succeed where many melodic death metal bands have failed. There is, however, a huge sticking point with this band which could prevent such success: a severe lack of originality. Only a fool would cast doubt on the performing and writing abilities of each of the members of Allegaeon; in fact, they are perhaps stronger than a lot of their peers with regard to the capabilities of individual musicians. The problem is that there are countless bands that have embarked down the same musical path as Allegaeon, and in a metal scene which is becoming ever more corrupted by mimicry, it really is essential for a band to be able to stand out from the crowd and offer a brand new take on whichever style they perform. The silver lining for Allegaeon, though, is that they have proved with ‘Fragments Of Form And Function’ that they possess the raw materials to create something potentially extraordinary in future releases, but this can only be achieved if they are willing to marry their striking skills with a more distinctive approach. If they are prepared to make this transition, the future looks bright for Allegaeon.

Rating – 7

     

About JJPorter

JJ is a 20-year-old student hailing from Scotland, who lives and breathes music. His favourite genres include a variety of styles of metal, as well as hardcore, punk, and just about everything in between. Contact JJPorter on Twitter or via Email.

One Response to “Album Review: Allegaeon – Fragments Of Form And Function”

  1. Nice Review. I like that you talked about the bands technical capabilities. In my opinion Metal needed this band to release this album. I haven’t heard anything released recently that sounds quite like this and Allegaeon have earned a new fan.