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Allegaeon - "Elements Of The Infinite" (CD)

Allegaeon - "Elements Of The Infinite" CD cover image

"Elements Of The Infinite" track listing:

1. Threshold Of Perception
2. Tyrants Of The Terrestrial Exodus
3. Dyson Sphere
4. The Phylogenesis Stretch
5. 1.618
6. Gravimetric Time Dilation
7. Our Cosmic Casket
8. Biomech II
9. Through Ages Of Ice - Otzi's Curse
10. Genocide For Praise - Vals For The Vitruvian Man

Reviewed by on June 11, 2014

"A new, cutting-edge kind of death metal: aggressive yet accessible, technical yet memorable, menacing yet endearing."

In this age of forced excessive superlatives, where calling an Allegaeon album simply “good” prompts suspicious “I’ll bet that poser only listens to Linkin Park and considers it metal” brow-furrowing from fellow fans, it falls upon me to protest the rampant language abuse and call “Elements Of The Infinite” Good. Forget “epic,” “most awesomest favoritest,” or “superduperbrootalest.” This is Good. Pure, unadulterated metal Goodness. It’s time to take back Good.

It seems like yesterday that this Coloradan outfit made a gradual, humble entry to the American death metal scene with debut “Fragments Of Form And Function,” [2010] and the buzz that transformed them into beloved underground darlings on the waves of sophomore effort “Formshifter” [2012] seems five minutes ago. With this new slab of ear candy, Allegaeon has firmly asserted an unmistakable identity - that elusive pot of priceless gold - in American metal. This is a new, cutting-edge kind of death; aggressive yet accessible, technical yet memorable, menacing yet endearing.

Despite a couple lineup changes, guitarist and lead songwriter Greg Burgess has wisely elected not to fix what isn’t broken; the overall sound is unchanged and intact. Instead, he, along with vocalist/lyricist Ezra Haynes, bassist Corey Archuleta, and newcomers Brandon Park (drums) and Michael Stancel (guitar) have once again tweaked slyly away at the established formula to keep it well-oiled and thundering along. “Threshold Of Perception” introduces itself more spectacularly than either previous Allegaeon album opener, thanks to a stirring blend of acoustics and symphonic orchestrations. Once the song hits high gear, we’re off to the races: a furious, lightning-paced groove machine of rhythmic precision and madness, the perfect soundtrack to a high-octane stock car video game.

Infused therein are constant flourishes of lead guitar melodic genius, the kind that will embed itself in your brain for days. The neoclassical shred on tracks such as “Dyson Sphere” and “1.618” is a stronger (and healthier) pick-me-up than a can of Red Bull and a line of blow, and intertwines beautifully with the technical outrageousness of “The Phylogenesis Stretch” and the slower, grinding fury of “Our Cosmic Casket.” The whirlwind of inspired melody on “Gravimetric Time Dilation” (don’t you just love those “Big Bang Theory” song titles?) approaches orgasmic levels without sacrificing harshness, and the relatively straightforward “Biomech II,” while solid, is the only cut that feels like a step backward rather than forward, though granted, it’s a sequel to a track off the debut, so cut ‘em some slack.

“Elements Of The Infinite” marks Allegaeon’s third consecutive drummer per album, and Brandon Park proves himself a key understated ingredient in the mix: a cross between the seat-of-the-pants fluidity of Jordon Belfast (“Fragments”) and the blastbeating insanity of JP Andrade (“Formshifter”). Michael Stancel replaced guitarist and band founder Ryan Glisan, and seems to have instantly gelled with Burgess without missing a step, and thank Goodness for that. Much gratitude is also due the band’s noted sense of silly humor offstage and off-record, which, while not literally represented in the music, seeps through nonetheless, reminding us that a band satisfied with being merely Good while having some fun is the band history will call truly Great.

Highs: "Threshold Of Perception" and "Gravimetric Time Dilation"

Lows: "Biomech II"

Bottom line: Another splendid effort from Allegaeon, and another refreshing reminder of death metal's potential after all these years.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)