Allegaeon – Damnum (Review)

Allegaeon - DamnumAllegaeon are a death metal band from the US and this is their sixth album.

There’s something about Allegaeon’s music that’s very satisfying and moreish. The band have discovered a blending of technicality, progressive flourish, and melodic might that simply works, and works well. Both 2016’s Proponent for Sentience and 2019’s Apoptosis were both great records, ably showcasing Allegaeon’s style of music. Now, in 2022, what does Damnum hold for us?

Unheralded delights and unexpectedly dark depths of emotive treasures, that’s what.

On this album Allegaeon have taken their component parts and taken them further. The heaviness is more brutal and intense. The technicality is more involved and evenly spread among all of the instruments, (most notably the drums of their new drummer, of Aversed and Unflesh fame). The progressive elements are more embedded and diverse, (we’ll come across this latter word again many times). The melody is given centre stage, shoved hard into the listener’s face, with the resulting lacerations only serving to drive their impact home all that harder. Yes, Damnum takes the Allegaeon machine to the next level of extremity, but somehow does this without sacrificing the strong songs that the band are known for, while also providing some of the softest and most emotive content the band have produced.

This new material is the band’s most diverse; this is a 60-minute journey into an extreme metal soundscape that’s definitely worth getting beaten around a bit for. The songs are well-crafted and see the band exploring different territories than previously, building on their strengths and adding several new ones. Despite the brutal aggression, there’s also moments of real beauty, emotive weight, and a shocking number of catchy hooks. Allegaeon have clearly pushed themselves into new waters on Damnum, enriching their technical heaviness with greater light and shade, enhanced atmospheres and textures, and more varied songwriting.

The band’s singer is in very strong form, and his growls sound simply monstrous. His very capable clean singing voice, which we have rarely heard in the past, is used much more frequently on Damnum, and I can’t say that’s a bad thing. Taken as a whole this is his widest ranging and best performance to date.

On Damnum Allegaeon sound dynamic, vibrant, and refreshed. Freeing themselves from any prior restrictions and following a more collaborative and organic approach to songwriting seems to have done them wonders. Allegaeon have always been a band notable for their skill, but on Damnum the band have ascended to something new.

It’s hard to express just how much Allegaeon have grown and how impressive Damnum is.

Essential listening.

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