We’re witnessing greatness as Allegaeon releases their 6th album, titled DAMNUM. Forming in 2007, Allegaeon has been a staple of the extreme metal scene and with their latest offering they’ve pulled out all the stops. This album is a masterpiece, there’s no other way to describe it. It has it all: it’s heavy, it’s melodic, it’s dark, it’s beautiful. Mark my words, DAMNUM will be front of mind during “album of the year” discussions. Allegaeon has taken their sound to a whole other level here, a maturation that’s beyond the capability of most. Allegaeon is Greg Burgess (lead guitar), Michael Stancel (lead and rhythm guitar), Riley McShane (vocals), Brandon Michael (bass), and Jeff Saltzman (drums). They’re signed to Metal Blade Records.
I’ve followed Allegaeon since they released Proponent of Sentience and they consistently release high-quality music. However, with the release of DAMNUM the band has taken their craft to another level. This album is greatness personified, and if you don’t enjoy this album then you should probably get your hearing checked. Honestly.
The album starts with a beautiful acoustic section reminiscent of flamenco guitars. There are these beautiful moments throughout the album, but there’s also the hallmark brutality that you’d expect from Allegaeon. This is a progressive album through and through which takes the listener on a journey. You should absolutely listen to the album on headphones, or at least good-quality speakers, to get the full immersive experience. The album is complex and multi-layered, but with these gentle parts that complement the complexity.
My favorite track on the album is Of Beasts and Worms – though honestly, every song on the album is killer. This track just really brings the energy for me and demonstrates the themes that occur through the entire album. It’s a good representation of the entire album, and if you want a quick peek at what DAMNUM brings, this is the track to listen to. The Dopamine Void, Pt. 1, and The Dopamine Void, Pt. 2 are amazing musically and work very well as a continued theme. Sometimes the one song over multiple parts thing doesn’t work, but it does here. There’s a genuinely continued feel between the two tracks.
Called Home brings distinct Opeth vibes. In fact, I checked multiple times to see if it were indeed Akerfeldt on vocals. Riley just has an incredible range that allows him to flawlessly pull off low, mid and high tones. In fact, sometimes it’s so high that it threw me a little – at the risk of backlash, there are elements that sound almost… pop? It works though to contrast the heaviness throughout the album in a way that accentuates the heavy. Don’t believe me? Just listen!
The album is 12 tracks long and it’s just spectacular from start the finish. This album is very much up my alley and not only is this my first review to give full marks for, it’s also my album of the month for February 2022. Well done, Allegaeon. You’ve released an instant classic that I’ll be listening to for many years to come.
- Bastards of the Earth
- Of Beasts and Worms
- Into Embers
- To Carry My Grief Through Torpor and Silence
- Called Home
- The Dopamine Void, Pt. I
- The Dopamine Void, Pt. II
- In Mourning
- Only Loss
Release Year: 2022
Label: Metal Blade Records
Reviewed by Phil Bergersen