ScoopMeister's Almostopster: Allegaeon - Elements of the Infinite

by ScoopMeister

Mon, 3 Jun 2024

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It would have been weird if we didn't have some tech death

Despite both having their fair share of excellent albums, melodic and technical death metal aren’t easy subgenres to do well, with attempts at both often getting stuck in bland mediocrity and failing to really stand out from a packed crowd. Combining the two is, in theory, even harder, with the need to find the balance between virtuosity and memorability being paramount.

Enter my almostopster pick: 2014’s Elements of the Infinite by Allegaeon. Unlike some of the previous entries in this project, I don’t have any moving personal anecdotes or formative childhood memories attached to this album, but it’s nevertheless one I’ve come back to often in the years since its release. Packed with blistering grooves, sweeping solos, and some of the catchiest choruses you’ll ever hear in the genre, this thing is a great showcase for the band’s chops - and they are all extremely talented musicians - without ever feeling like an exercise in pure technical wankery. The sci-fi themed lyrics are consistently enjoyable too and help the album further distinguish itself from its competition.

The reaction when you have to listen to an other tech death album that scoop overrated on the yearly sheet

There are plenty of memorable moments scattered throughout, like the iconic noodly chorus riff on lead single “1.618” or the GOD DAMN YOUs and infectious energy of late-album highlight “Biomech II”. The album ends very strongly, in fact, with the whirlwind of solos on the (mostly) instrumental “Through Ages of Ice” leading into what might be the most impressive song on the whole thing, the almost 13-minute closer “Genocide for Praise”. The symphonic elements that pop up from time to time in previous tracks really come to the fore on this one, and it feels like an appropriately epic conclusion to the album.

Unfortunately, the songwriting on Elements of the Infinite sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. Tracks often rely on sheer forcefulness and the memorability of their solos and choruses to keep things exciting, which means they can start to feel a little stale when these elements don’t live up to expectations and the relatively predictable songwriting becomes more apparent. It can be very rewarding when Allegaeon do try to switch things up - like with the breakdown before the final verse and chorus on “1.618” - so it’s a shame there aren’t more moments like this on the album (closer aside). The main suspects are “Gravimetric Time Dilation” and “Our Cosmic Casket”, which, while not bad songs, come at a point where it feels like Allegaeon are starting to run out of tricks - you’ve heard all this before, and better, on previous tracks.

Allegaeon – Page 2 – The Metalist

Show me your war face

This problem is compounded by a familiar complaint: at 58 minutes, the album ends up being a pretty exhausting listen despite its strong finish, and I do think it could have benefitted from some trimming - an issue that has plagued this band throughout their career. Even so, none of this is a deal-breaker for me. Allegaeon put together one hell of a fun ride with this one, and it does stand out from the crowd despite some minor flaws. Maybe it will never find itself in my reliquary, but it keeps calling me back all the same.


8 / 10