Yup, you heard me. For the first time in years, I've found some quality releases under Metal Blade's moniker, and none of it happens to be Gothenburg tripe. 2011 has got to be Metal Blade's year because their obsession with overproduced melodic death metal is finally paying off with bands like The Absence and The Black Dahlia Murder releasing albums. However, the most notable of these recent releases is Allegaeon's debut LP Fragments Of Form And Function, a 2010 release.
Don't let the lame album cover fool you: Allegaeon's Fragments Of Form And Function is killer melodic death metal with an obvious technical twist. Their style is very comparable to Arsis' on their debut album A Celebration Of Guilt, if it was put into a blender with German technical death metallers Obscura, or Canadian techsters Beyond Creation. It's sleek, clean, and wonderfully catchy despite using odd time signatures and the occasional offbeat.
Despite the squeaky-clean production, the album still retains a pretense of extremity. On the opening track "The Cleansing" Ezra Haynes mid-ranged rasp echoes of those aforementioned bands, and you're treated to a brief glimpse at Allegaeon's take on their style despite it being one of the worst songs on the album. "Across The Folded Line" and "The Renewal" amp up the hooks with memorable (if not cheesy) lyrics and solid melody. Although these songs are quality, they're by no means original or incredible.
However it's not until "The God Particle" that the listener is really treated to what I'm raving about. This is the first track where technicality, melody, hooks, blastbeats, and Haynes' dorky lyrics about theoretical physics come together to really immerse the listener. The trend only continues with "Biomech - Vals No. 666" and "A Cosmic Question." The second half of the album is far more memorable than the first, with "Point Of Disfigurement" being the only somewhat disappointing track, although it still delivers in the melody and hooks department.
If you want an album that'll have you singing (growling?) along and playing through melodies in your head, don't look any further than Allegaeon's debut. Sure, there's some similarities to other melodic technical death bands out there but goddamn Fragments Of Form And Function is so catchy it blows most of it's competition out of the water. Easily one of the better albums released in the last year for melodic death metal and one of the best from Metal Blade in who knows how long.
5.5 out of 10 (Re-scored)
Honestly this album loses momentum after 10+ spins. It's not worth anymore spins solely because the music is so blatant that it leaves no room for atmospheric or emotional development. A huge blunder on my part.
|3.||Across the Folded Line|
|4.||The God Particle|
|5.||Biomech - Vals No. 666|
|6.||From Seed to Throne|
|7.||Atrophy of Hippocrates|
|8.||Point of Disfigurement|
|9.||A Cosmic Question|