Allegaeon - Formshifter
Metal Blade
Melodic/Technical Death Metal
10 songs (53'13)
Release year: 2012
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Milan

Fragments of Form and Function, Allegaeon's debut album which was released two years ago, was an album that put the band on a lot of people's radar, mine included. I've been following them ever since -they're very active on facebook, always keeping in touch with their fans- so when a new album was announced the height of my expectations was only equaled by my insane anticipation for the album to be released. But while my anticipation was releived by the release of the album this May, my expectations did not have the pleasure of being met to the fullest. Formshifter, as this follow-up appropriately is called, showcases Allegaeon building on the sound which made their debut one of my favourites of 2010 although it seems that something has been lost during the formshifting process. The guys have clearly practised a lot with their instruments, despite not having toured a lot, as there's a definite increase in technicality and virtuosity noticable. The problem is that it seems this has been at the expense of the infectious hooks that were so ever-present on their debut.

Things start off very promising with Behold (God I Am), beginning with quiet guitarwork before unleashing a groovetastic riff, pounding drumwork and Ezra Haynes' roaring growls which also have clearly improved over the past two years. He's not the most talented nor the most versatile vocalist in the death metal field and nowhere on the album does he reach the virtuosity of his bandmates but there's something commanding about his voice which I love. The song scorches its way through a few more grooving riffs and a bunch of mindboggling solo's, curtosy of Greg Burgess, coming to a close with an anthemic ending which should get fists pumping at every show.

This is followed by two of the strongest tracks on the album, Tartessos: The Hidden Xenocryst and A Path Disclosed respectively. Both showcase Allegaeon's knack for mixing groove, catchiness and technicality. Tartessos storms out of the gate with another potent, man-handling riff backed by a tasty melody and features yet again more solo's than you'd find on most full-lengths. A Path Disclosed employs the same recipe and features a bridge you'll be shouting along within moments as well as a little breakdown which leads into, you guessed it, a solo, ending with Burgess pulling another fantastic riff out of his seemingly bottomless bag of tricks.

I could go on and describe every single song on the album but that's where the problem lies: while every single song on its own varies from being great to jaw-dropping fantastic, they do employ the same recipe over and over again. Except for Twelve: Vals for the Legions' classical guitar ending, there's little to no variation on display here. The overabundance of soloing doesn't help either, at times it does feel as if you're listening to fifty minutes of soloing with an actual song thrown in now and then, instead of the other way around.

Don't let the previous paragraph prevent you from checking this out though. Yes, this gets a little repetitive, even exhausting at times. But isn't that something commonly associated with technical death metal? This is an insanely groovy and virtuosic album that proudly stands on its two mechanical feet and proves that Allegaeon are a band that can hold their own against their peers. It's not the masterpiece I know they have in them and I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed after being so overwhelmed by their debut. But this is an extremely solid technical death metal album, one of the best of 2012 for sure.

Killing Songs :
Behold (God I Am), Tartessos; The Hidden Xenocryst, A Path Disclosed, Iconic Images, Formshifter
Milan quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Allegaeon that we have reviewed:
Allegaeon - Damnum reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite reviewed by Corbs and quoted 85 / 100
Allegaeon - Fragments of Form and Function reviewed by Steve and quoted 96 / 100
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