On this wonderful day Gorod’s A Perfect Absolution was FINALLY available for digital purchase from my preferred music vendors, which I have been waiting months for. On this same day the new Allegaeon album Formshifter AND Weight of Oceans by In Mourning were also made available. All three albums were MUST-PURCHASE-IMMEDIATELY sort of affairs for me (here Amazon, please take my money). I revisited my appreciation of these bands on Technical Tuesday by spending some quality metal time with each band’s back catalog. I chose to focus on one album each.
Allegaeon – Fragments of Form and Function (2010)
Allegaeon, whose name is apparently pronounced “uh-lee-juhn,” was a band that I expected not to like. Something about the name, the album cover… and a review I read was even throwing around the “metalcore” word. But then, prior to my days as a writer for TDM, I read on a review on this particular site that convinced me to give the band an actual listen. In this way I learned not to judge an album by a cover, because Fragments of Form and Function has maintained a continual rotation on my technical playlist for the past few months. In a previous write-up I observed that this album is honestly bad for my hearing because I get excited whenever I listened to it and turn the volume to unhealthy levels, a problem which continues to plague my health.
Fragments is a melodic technical masterpiece, a colossal, world-crunching machine that aliens listen to when they build vehicles to travel through space and time and the galaxies. Its filled with constantly changing technical riffs, unrelenting drum fills, and blood-pumping guitar leads. Yet, at the same time, the songs feature underlying melody that make Allegaeon’s songs so very memorable. As a major plus, the songs are about topics such as physics, evolution, and the definitions of reality. Now THAT is appropriate subject matter for technical metal! Fragments features the tiniest dash of metalcore in the vocal delivery (mixed with death growls aplenty), atop an intricately constructed vessel of technical and melodic death metal in absolute expert form. My favorite songs are evolutionary anthem “From Seed to Throne,” the commentary on the power of knowledge in “Atrophy of Hippocrates,” reality questioning “A Cosmic Question…,” and titanic, Darwinistic album closer “Accelerated Evolution.”
Gorod – Process of a New Decline (2009)
Gorod’s third full length was a major progression for the band. And by progression, I mean progression in the progressive death metal sense, as well as artistic growth. Process of a New Decline is very aptly titled since it shows the band beginning a process of movement into the progressive-technical realm of technical death metal, done in an a intricate and free-flowing fashion. The songs flow more fluidly than water, change like a gust of wind, and math out with Stephen Hawking. It’s like combining Brain Drill with Cynic. It sounds impossible, but Gorod not only make it work, they make it positively glow. These Frenchmen are unquestionably a band at the top of the genre – hence why I so eagerly awaited the release of 2012’s A Perfect Absolution. What makes Process so great to me is the constantly changing yet extremely memorable riffs – check out “Programmers of Decline” for technical expertise in airy riffery, “Diverted Logic” for an instructional manual to stay on top of the modern technical death metal world, or “Watershed” for a lesson of how proggy instrumental passages fit with mathematic drumming and guitarring in progressive technical death metal. This one is not to be missed.
In Mourning – Monolith (2010)
In Mourning plays melodic progressive death metal often likened to the heavier moments of Opeth. These guys are kind of on the edge of material in the TDM laboratories, but I have been listening to them a lot lately, AND, most importantly, I purchased their latest album at the same time as the newest albums by Gorod and Allegaeon. Hence, I thought a brief mentioned wouldn’t mean the end of the world.
I’m not one to dig on clean vocals, or much in the way of melody in general, but In Mourning bring the perfect concoction of a). jackhammer riffs and barked vocals and b). soaring melodies and captivating clean passages. In Mourning seems constantly aware that this is death metal; the vast majority of Monolith is delivered in shrieks, growls, grunts, and shouts. Monolith showed the band utilizing only the smallest portions of their roots in gothic metal (I know, this sounds out of place in the TDM labs, but trust me, its REALLY good) to build extremely dynamic songs. Like Opeth’s 15 minute epics, In Mourning songs move and twist and change, yet the band always remembers the tough-guy bouncer standing outside a death metal bar with a permanently disapproving glare. Monolith also showed the band adding the tiniest hint of metalcore, mixed in just for the tough guy aspect (and not in a cheesy, good cop/bad cop way). Although In Mourning may not sound much like Cattle Decapitation or Origin or Spawn of Possession, the band definitely deserves recognition for their progressive leaning death.