Allegaeon - Apoptosis review



Reviewer:
8.1

160 users:
8.17
Band: Allegaeon
Album: Apoptosis
Release date: April 2019


01. Parthenogenesis
02. Interphase // Meiosis
03. Extremophiles (B)
04. The Secular Age
05. Exothermic Chemical Combustion
06. Extremophiles (A)
07. Metaphobia
08. Tsunami And Submergence
09. Colors Of The Currents
10. Stellar Tidal Disruption
11. Apoptosis


How can you restrain yourself and write distinctive, enjoyable songs when you wield the unfathomable instrumental prowess of a technical death metal band? Many artists struggle to escape the technical rut, and we wind up with a lot more Malmsteens than Morellos in the process. For Allegaeon, it's not such a chore.

Apoptosis might seem to contradict this praise I've already heaped on it, for it opens with a very tech death-sounding examination of the raw talent at the band's disposal, particularly that of newly arrived bassist Brandon Michael - but who doesn't enjoy a crisp run up and down the strings now and again? And besides, I don't mean to imply that the best way to play technical death metal is to escape it. Once "Interphase // Meiosis" gets roaring, the band begins dishing out the scientifically devised and inspired riffs that have long horded our acclaim. Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel's guitars swing back and forth from bone-shattering chugging to colorful solos at the drop of a hat, executing this with a level of distortion that is omnipresent, despite the clarity of the production, and that bends the most thrash- or death metal-oriented riffs in the direction of djent (as in "The Secular Age").

Allegaeon surely expend their energies no less than any other tech death band on the block when creating walls of complex noise, but the clean production allows for the more intricate riffs to stay audible in the midst of chaos, and the band's uniformity of direction and powerful backbone keep each song tight and together. Whispers of Devin Townsend creep into the scale-running and keyboard echoes of "Extremophiles (A)" and the closing epic "Apoptosis," which is very reminiscent of Strapping Young Lad's "Almost Again"; the dive-bombing riffs of "Metaphobia" create a comical big-top feeling that has me thinking of killer klowns while the song shreds away. "Colors Of The Currents" is a soothing, reflective way to break up what is otherwise a very dense and intense hour of screaming metal murder; I'd listen to a whole album in that style, and I do hope that Allegaeon continues to push in similarly colorful directions.

In fact, the relative lack of that sort of musical piece puts Apoptosis below Proponent For Sentience in my reckoning; the increased focus on complexity rather than variety in songwriting definitely makes Apoptosis more impressive as a refined work of extreme showmanship, but it leaves that much less room for the novel rhythmic and melodic touches that Proponent For Sentience offered. Moreover, these songs have been written from deeper within the band's wheelhouse, whereas Proponent For Sentience drew much from other genres and nonmetal sounds, even if just for transitions or intros; that album had a more global and exciting feeling, leaving Apoptosis sounding competent but unadventurous by comparison.

You may be able to tell that Proponent For Sentience is the album that really got me into Allegaeon. I'm not looking to get back out of Allegaeon - whatever complaints I have, Apoptosis is a strong album and likely a candidate for death metal album of the year. Frankly, there aren't a lot of bands out there that bear the burden of being so talented as well as Allegaeon.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


 



Written on 21.05.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 105 users
21.05.2019 - 12:28
gavdann
Good review. It's interesting that you praise the clarity of the production. That lot over on AMG have been complaining about the brick-walled mastering of this album.
Loading...
21.05.2019 - 14:26
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by gavdann on 21.05.2019 at 12:28

Good review. It's interesting that you praise the clarity of the production. That lot over on AMG have been complaining about the brick-walled mastering of this album.

They might well be right. I was listening with the hopes that I would get more pop-melodeath production than tech death production, which I guess is what this entails. Is it particularly dynamic? No, not really. But I can decipher the parts - and I guess that "brick wall" furthers the Devin Townsend comparison.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
Loading...
21.05.2019 - 14:52
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by gavdann on 21.05.2019 at 12:28

Good review. It's interesting that you praise the clarity of the production. That lot over on AMG have been complaining about the brick-walled mastering of this album.

AMG has a boatload of reviewers (and they recently introduced many new ones too) and most of them are pretty good I think. It's my go-to page to read reviews apart from here. In this particular instance the reviewer based his opinion on a 256 VBR mp3 format which is far from the best option available. To me the production sounds fine (based on flac files) and sits somewhere in the middle between the melodeath-pop that SSUS mentions and the often encountered in tech-death brickwalled sound.
----
Instagram
Loading...

Hits total: 1477 | This month: 119