Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite - (9.5/10)
Published on June 20, 2014
HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!
Apologies for being so crass right off the mark but the above exclamation is the only appropriate response to Allegaeon’s godlike, third record, Elements Of The Infinite.
Coming off the back of 2012’s equally monstrous Formshifter, Elements Of The Infinite departs that record’s slow, unstoppable groove, opting instead to speed things up and apply their patented melodic technicality to a more thrash-inclined sound. Indeed, much of Elements Of The Infinite recalls the likes of Machine Head’s recent output – especially the opening riff of “Threshold Of Perception,” which drops in after its ominous, symphonic build-up – and it’s no difficult feat, at times, to mentally substitute Robb Flynn’s gruff bark for the menacing death growls of vocalist; think a more melodically inclined and far better constructed version of The Blackening.
This promo-picture looks silly.
The output of guitarists Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel comfortably shifts between the harmonized, thrash trade-offs of Flynn and Demmel (Machine Head), the dazzling, arpeggio-based noodling of Origin and the soulful melodicism of Arch Enemy’s Michael Amott, while bassist Corey Archuleta–who, once again, boasts a perfect tone and level – gets his fair share of moments in the spotlight to boot. Vocalist, Ezra Haynes shows perhaps the least evolution from Allegaeon’s last album but that’s not to say his science-riddled discharge is any less effective, (and whose non-departing yet variable melodic death delivery is the perfect example of what I recently felt was lacking in the performance of Deep In Hate’s Matthieu Renaud).
However, it is new-addition, drummer, Brandon Park (ex-Suffer The Wrath) who shines brightest on Elements Of The Infinite – his unrelenting, rolling, percussive assault is literally staggering and his numerous, odd-timed, progressive flourishes bring to mind those of Kerim “Krimh” Lechner on the most-recent Decapitated record. Along with Park (and Stancel for that matter), other notable new additions include the tasteful and persistent incorporation of symphonic elements in the vein – but not to the extent – of Italian, modern death lords Fleshgod Apocalypse, and a higher, refined propensity toward a high-octane, melodic death metal delivery, akin to that Soilwork – most noticeable in the track “1.168,” which also happens to boast the all-time greatest death metal video clip of all time, ever.
No one’s sweeps are as good as Allegaeon’s. Not one’s.
My only slight criticisms of Elements Of The Infinite are that, in the sheer onslaught of Elements Of The Infinite, there aren’t as many distinctive moments that get a chance to stick out, individually, as on their last record; and that Allegaeon could be a tad more sparing in their use of the fade-out, which criticisms are hardly all that worrying.
For all my gushing, you’ll have noticed I’ve (barely) refrained from awarding Elements Of The Infinite a perfect 10, and this has been done on two counts; firstly, that I still retain a slight preference for Formshifter, which album has simply the “bigger” riffs of the two; and, secondly, there are a few albums this year that I have enjoyed on an objectively higher level than Elements Of The Infinite, (perhaps on a more emotionally engaging level). Still, when the wider metal world wakes up and recognizes Alllegaeon as the big deal they most certainly are, then Elements Of The Infinite is the album by which they will be measured.
If you enjoy any of the many bands I’ve used as reference points in this review then you owe it to yourself to check out Elements Of The Infinite. If (like me) you enjoy them all, then you may as well treat it as the second coming.
For fans of:
Fleshgod Apocalypse, Decapitated, Machine Head
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