ALBUM REVIEW: Damnum – Allegaeon
It shouldn’t be too surprising that ALLEGEON have added so many metalcore-isms to their new album. It’s a move they’ve been telegraphing for a while now, and their latest album Shit sees these “essentials” buy even more shares in the Colorado natives’ tech death empire. Known and revered for their intricate playing and a discography littered with explosive beats, they opted to mix things up more with this release and, for the most part, it works out pretty well.
The kind of detail-oriented tech death we’re used to from the band was never going to be easy to mix with more melodic, soaring choruses and long sections of clean vocals – something that’s largely new to the group. ALLEGEONThe willingness to attempt this is probably as impressive as anything. They could have opted for a safe shot and played by their own rulebook, but instead chose to broaden their horizons and try something new. This is an admirable trait in any group; you run the risk of agitating the section of your fanbase that just wants to see you write the same album over and over again, all the while hoping that you can attract a wider pool of listeners by adding depth and versatility to your sound .
One thing is sure, Shit seems to position itself ALLEGEON a little more marketable than before. That’s not to say they weren’t already amazing musicians, but there’s a sense of accessibility this time around that will put them in good stead among a wider pool of listeners. The clean vocals offer a break from the crushing gutturals that sit amid blackened growls and more traditional death metal vocals. Both ends of the spectrum are pretty good, but hearing that kind of adjustment in a ALLEGEON the album requires a little mental adjustment on the part of the listener.
There are more riffs, often heavy and driving, that blow and shred while adding classical and flamenco influences that we have already heard on previous albums. This attention to detail has always been one of the band’s strengths, but now the complexity fights alongside more expansive, almost singing choirs that memorably cling to our eardrums. Whether this is for better or for worse will depend on personal interpretation.
The consensus is likely to be a little mixed for Shit. There are plenty of positives to take away – largely in the incredible musical talent – but there is always the risk of it falling through the cracks of two radically different styles of metal that they may not have. – not be perfectly assembled. It’s a solid effort and a record worth more than anyone’s time, and time will tell if it’s a direction that ALLEGEON continue to pursue.
Damnum is available now through Metal Blade Records.
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