Tech Death Thursday: Allegaeon and Hath
Aw yeah, TDT is back. New jams from Allegaeon and Hath have consumed my listening the past week, and you’re getting a taste of them now whether you like it or not.
- Flub, featuring former members of Alterbeast, Vale of Pnath, and The User Lives (and one current member of Rivers of Nihil), has a new album coming on June 7th through The Artisan Era. They also have a very, uh, interesting teaser up for it.
- The Artisan Era is also releasing the next Inanimate Existence album, from which you can hear a new song right here. Clockwork comes out on May 10th.
- The new Fleshgod Apocalypse tune has some good riffs, but those orchestral bits are getting dangerously close to top hat territory. Guess we’ll see when Veleno lands on May 24th.
Allegaeon is my tech death comfort food, and I don’t say that to downplay their skill. They’re one of the best bands around at putting together smart tunes with impressive musicianship that don’t sacrifice memorability or rely on wank. While not all their output over the years has landed perfectly, they’ve consistently grown and experimented throughout their time as a band in spite of numerous lineup changes. I’ve been a fan of their distinctive, heavy take on melodic tech death (largely owed to their use of eight-string guitars) since 2012’s Formshifter, and their science-focused lyrics are a nice break from your typical death metal conventions. Despite falling from my normal listening rotation the past year or so, I was excited to see a new album on the horizon.
I’m happy to say that Apoptosis is very likely going to get them back into my typical rotation, because this album rules. While I appreciated the band’s last album for its concept and unified musical themes, Proponent for Sentience felt a little too theatrical for its own good, clogging up otherwise good songs with needless orchestral parts. Apoptosis strips that away, reserving string sections for supplemental parts much in the same way as Formshifter. Moreover, the lack of concept this time around seems to have been creatively liberating for the band, because the variety in riffs here is crazy. They’re no longer attempting to replicate former guitarist Ryan Glisan’s writing style, either; everyone in the band is playing to their strengths, and the album is all the better for it. Michael Stancel’s writing and guitar work has really come into its own here, and Riley McShane gets to put his full range of vocals on display.
Apoptosis the Allegaeon album I’ve been waiting for. It’s a big step up for the band in terms of songwriting, and it feels like their most complete album to date. I very much look forward to seeing them continue to evolve after this. Apoptosis hits on April 19th on Metal Blade.
This is probably going to seem a little tacked-on after the last review, and I know I just talked about this one on Toilet Tuesday, but rarely do I discover a band that kicks my ass this hard. Not that it’s particularly surprising in this case- Hath shares members with Cognitive and Ophidius– but it’s always a pleasant surprise when a band you’ve never heard of hits you with something that immediately ticks all the boxes for you. Of Rot and Ruin goes super hard, and I think a lot of you are going to dig this.
As stated this past Tuesday, the band most reminds me of that first Rivers of Nihil album: the guitars are tuned super low, and the dark, imposing atmosphere feels very reminiscent of Conscious Seed. The riffs batter and pummel, but not mechanically. The Opeth-like clean guitar sections and smart chording have an earthy feel that offsets the overall super-polished sound, and the band knows when to back off the assault for a nuanced and emotional melody. The bulk of the music is disgustingly heavy, but it’s never mindless or tasteless; it’s right in that sweet spot of headbanging and brain-swelling that makes this style of tech death so appealing.
Hopefully at least one of today’s bands tickles your fancy. If you like what you heard, you can follow Allegaeon and Hath on Facebook for more updates. That’s all I’ve got for now, but things should be back in full swing, and you’ll hear again from me next week. Until then,