Allegaeon - Damnum
Metal Blade
Melodic Death Metal
12 songs (1:00:08)
Release year: 2022
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

Written as a way of dealing with the loss of two friends to suicide, Damnum is another fine outing for this underappreciated Coloradan unit. And although the Opeth comparisons are always sure to dog Allegaeon, perhaps inevitable for any "classy" death metal band that leans towards the progressive and makes heavy use of acoustic guitars, they've always felt closer to the melodic death world than the prog, as opener Bastards of the Earth quickly proves here with a thrashy gallop and headbangable breakdown after the initial acoustic strums. The only real criticism of Allegaeon present on this album is perhaps a touch too heavy a hand with the catchy clean vocalled-section of a song - a critic's criticism if ever there was one. Regular readers will know of this particular critic's love of Scar Symmetry and Soilwork and treat that with the contempt it deserves, of course!

You can hardly blame a melodic death metal band for enjoying a good chorus, after all, and Allegaeon are more than discerning enough in their songwriting to ensure the quality remains high across Damnum. And in the band's defence they do make real effort to provide variety - the deep vocals on the intro to Of Beasts and Worms is a solid, and not-repeated, example, even if the clean-sung chorus is repeated one too many times later in the song. And instrumentally, they are never less than superb; the guitarwork on the likes of Into Embers alone is worth the price of admission, the expert mixture of widdly leads and groovy riffs seemingly honed to please ears. There are plenty of moments like the piano interlude of Blight or the bass/flamenco guitar interplay of To Carry My Grief Through Torpor and Silence that are excellently-judged, providing a dose of prog complexity and personality alongside the catchier hooks, and the combination remains potent and interesting throughout the album, even with its length of just over an hour.

And that's ultimately what matters, how good at this Allegaeon are, six albums in with no notable loss in quality. Even the most Opeth-like moment here, the heavy chugs and dramatic acoustic breaks of Called Home coming close to a Ghost Reveries tribute at points, is still a fantastic piece of melodic death metal and does enough to retain the band's own identity, particularly in the second half. Elsewhere, the dips into tech-death on The Dopamine Void pt II are convincingly skilled, the doomy touch to Only Loss feels as grandiose and epic as it should, and there's even a touch of atmospheric black to the riffing on Saturnine. A consistently enjoyable album that will please fans and bend the ears of those as yet uninitiated into fandom.

Killing Songs :
Into Embers, To Carry My Grief Through Torpor and Silence, Called Home, The Dopamine Void pt II, Only Loss
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Allegaeon that we have reviewed:
Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite reviewed by Corbs and quoted 85 / 100
Allegaeon - Formshifter reviewed by Milan and quoted 84 / 100
Allegaeon - Fragments of Form and Function reviewed by Steve and quoted 96 / 100
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