Allegaeon - Fragments of Form and Function
Metal Blade
Technical Melodeath
10 songs (53:41)
Release year: 2010
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Steve
Album of the year

Arsis’ 2008 record, We Are The Nightmare, was reviewed on Metalreviews.com by Ben, who said this about the album: “We Are The Nightmare is the type of album that fans of the genre will eat up, but still isn’t so over the top that newbies couldn’t be converted.” And this: “The musical abilities of the band are nothing short of jaw dropping. But instead of falling into the trap of mindless self indulgence, Arsis has made sure to include simpler moments that are meant to headbang to.” Kyle’s review of the band’s follow up album, Starve For the Devil, claimed they had “dropped much of the technical baggage that weighed down We are the Nightmare (a rather poor and soulless album, in my opinion) and instead decided to focus more on the melodeath aspect of their sound this time around.” The dynamic surrounding these two albums’ reception among fans is thereby neatly exposed by Metalreviews’ own staff and stands thus:

Pro-We Are the Nightmare: This album is a singular achievement in melodic death metal. It is hard to imagine a record being so amazingly technical, brutally heavy, and yet this melodic.
Anti-We Are the Nightmare: The songwriting here fails to shine through the excessive blasting and shredding.

Pro-Starve for the Devil: A fun, thrashy, accessible record which nonetheless showcases the band’s outstanding musicianship.
Anti-Starve for the Devil: WTF? Not a single blast beat!? Arsis has gone from a first-rate melodeath band to a second-rate “modern thrash” band.

Does a middle ground exist? Would it be any good if it did? Yes! And hell yes! It is Allegaeon’s Fragments of Form and Function and it is a fantastic record. What the band have done is dial back the brutality and technicality of WANT without completely neutering it as happened on STFD. It is a spectacularly successful effort and one that deserves a lot of credit for hitting a sweet spot that many other talented bands have missed, even though it is obviously derivative.

Fragments of Form and Function also features intelligent, introspective lyrics that range over philosophical, sociopolitical, and cosmological issues. Actually, “introspective” doesn’t quite do these lyrics justice. “Existential” is more like it. The God Particle, a groovy, thrashy tour de force which somehow manages to give the listener short intervals to catch up, asks “can electro-mechanic conditions determine our creation?” and A Cosmic Question wonders “what defines reality? What defines a soul?” It doesn’t get any deeper than that. On top of the fascinating subject matter, these lyrics are delivered by Ezra Haynes in a rich and aggressive yet surprisingly understandable voice; a terrific performance.

Lead guitar man Greg Burgess’ prowess is on display throughout the album and From Seed to Throne sees him lay down an absolutely scorching solo. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and his chops shine all over Fragments. The only small complaint that can be registered about Fragments is that Burgess’ tone can wear on the ear just a tad at points and that he is probably a smidge more frenetic than necessary at times. Jordan Belfast’s drumming is marked most clearly by its discretion. He seems to know just when to blast and when to roll the kicks.

Fragments of Form and Function is the kind of album metalheads live for and the fact that it is a debut record is stunning. The only unfortunate thing about these kinds of records is that they come around so infrequently. You might not notice that for a while, though, as you’ll have this one on “repeat.”

Killing Songs :
The God Particle, Biomech-Vals no. 666, From Seed to Throne, Accelerated Evolution
Steve quoted 96 / 100
Milan quoted 90 / 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
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