Allegaeon - Formshifter (Metal Blade/Riot)

Bored of melodic death metal? You won't be.
Release Date: 
8 May 2012 (All day)

Allegaeon are relative newcomers to the metal world but the 2010 debut Fragments of Form and Function was reasonably well received and showed a band with much promise and as a result, expectations are high with Formshifter. With a typically heavy, melodic death sound, the band's latest offering shows that they have not only improved on their debut; they've absolutely smashed melodic death metal's face in.

Opening with the 7-minute epic Behold (God I Am) is a brave but educated decision. There isn't the immediate frying-pan-to-the-head insanity that you may expect; instead the song builds up layer after layer, before the blast beats and guttural vocal from Ezra Haynes kick in and get the ball rolling. This opening song is indicative of the whole album; there's so much more to it than pace and ferocity, although both of these exist in abundance.
Although melodic death is clearly the genre to put Allegaeon into, The Azrael Trigger goes off on a Lamb of God tangent and is one of the finest head bangers on the album. Corey Archuleta on bass is stunning throughout, often getting a chance to tackle the fretboard just as much as dual guitarists Ryan Gilsan and Greg Burgess who do, on occasion, get a bit lazy and generic with the solos.
Overall, Formshifter is a stunning album. It sounds much bigger than Allegaeon actually are and it's very difficult to see this band remaining in the background. I doubt there will be a better melodic death metal album  released this year.