Allegaeon (pronounced: uh-lee-juhn) are everything that a great modern metal band should be: they’re heavy¸ they’re memorable and they’re innovative. Formed in 2008 by founding member and guitar player Ryan Glisan¸ Allegaeon’s line-up is completed by vocalist Ezra Haynes¸ Corey Archutela on bass and the classically trained¸ Greg Burgess¸ on guitar. Part Fear Factory¸ part Scar Symmetry¸ Allegaeon have been described by Metal Hammer magazine as “the new face of ruthless modern death metal” and it’s not hard to see why.
Snapped up quickly by Metal Blade Records following the release of their self-titled EP in 2009¸ the “Colorado Kings of Melodic Metal” (or so they are called) made their international debut with the critically praised ‘Fragments of Form and Function’ in 2010¸ and now¸ have returned with the Godzilla-trumping¸ world-crushing¸ metallic colossus that is ‘Formshifter’ An album that takes the best of what the melodic death metal scene has to offer¸ and throws in a couple of surprises along the way.
Opening with possibly one of the best album openers to come out this year thus far¸ first track on the album ‘Behold (God I Am)’ lures you in with some soulful guitar work before smashing your cranium into pieces with a musical onslaught that even bands as heavy as Gojira would struggle to outdo. Moreover¸ the lead work is quite frankly¸ mind-blowing. Swooping in and out between rhythmically crushing sections¸ Greg Burgess blazes up and down the fret board with astonishing virtuosic flair¸ leaving a path of never-ending destruction in his wake. And it’s not just once that he does this. Indeed¸ the album is full of it¸ and it’s this star quality that truly elevates Allegaeon above their peers.
‘Formshifter’ is top-notch modern metal. It nails the genre in anthemic fashion on tracks such as ‘Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst’ and ‘Iconic Images’ yet has the balls to play around with it a bit on track ‘Twelve’ and throw in some tasteful classical-inspired acoustic sections¸ adding a different flavour to the overall sound of the album. Whilst some other tracks fall short of this mark¸ the majority of the album is compelling and gripping stuff.
The world of metal needs a band like Allegaeon. Although ‘Formshifter’ is by no means a perfect album¸ there are moments on it¸ which most definitely come close. If anything¸ what this album does is remind people of what guitar-based music is capable of. Allaegaeon are on their way up and with ‘Formshifter’ 2012 may well just be theirs for the taking.