Released: 2014, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Anyone who dismisses death metal as inherently dumb and crass should check out Colorado tech-death brainiacs Allegaeon. The lead track from this their third album “1.618” deals with “the golden ratio,” the “divine proportion” in art, architecture and music, etc., believed to be the most aesthetically pleasing. The accompanying video’s hilarious send-up of the cheap, go-to theatrics metal’s various sub-genres often employ to achieve the same end shows they have a wicked wit as well.
Other tracks, like “Our Cosmic Casket,” theorize about the effects a black hole would have as it approached Earth, while “Tyrants of the Terrestrial Exodus” posits humanity’s eventual departure from the planet after “we have exhausted our existence here.” “Dyson Sphere” explores the concept of building a structure to encircle a star and harvest its power – and not the super expensive vacuums you see advertised TV all the time – “The Phylogenesis Stretch” describes the inevitability of alien life and “Biomech II” pits medical science against religious conviction.
So yeah, these guys are pretty deep – or at least frontman/lyricist Ezra Haynes is. Yet Allegaeon are also smart enough to know not to be too smart for their own good. Despite being their most ambitious effort yet, Elements Of The Infinite is also Allegaeon's most immediate and easiest to dive right into.
“Tyrants of the Terrestrial Exodus” captures the ominous tone of the lyrics in its death march pace and crashing riffs. “Dyson Sphere” has a great sweeping hook accompanying its chorus. The lead break in “1.618” boasts a hint of tech-death funk in its bassline and shuffling beat, while the djenty bottom end and thick groove of “Gravimetric Time Dilation” deliver an almost brown sound heaviness.
With new guitarist Michael Stancel and Brandon Park in the fold, the band’s virtuosity has been honed and tempered a bit here. So even though there are more elements at play – orchestration being the most notable, and right off the bat too as the lead in to the titanic album opener “Threshold of Perception – and plenty of dexterity on display, there is also less extraneous flash and busy work. Bigger, badder, meaner riffs and more focused arrangements make Elements a true force to be reckoned with. And the compelling, inventive lyrics will give you something to think about – even if Haynes’ ursine growl make them a bit tough to understand.