“This is great, but maybe a little too long” is a phrase that comes to mind when describing Allegaeon’s new album Damnum. Not when it comes to describing my penis, though. Kind of the opposite. That’s not why we’re here. If you are, though… Call me. I’ll leave my phone number coded in this review, so if you’re meant to call me, you’ll find it.

I’ll get this out of the way immediately. I’ve listened to a lot of music so far in 2022 and this is perhaps the first true album of the year contender. How it holds up for the rest of the year, being released so early, will be the true test, but this is a true expansion of their sound without abandoning it. It’s the kind of achievement most bands aspire to attain.

So, I’m going to start with the highlights, of which there are many, then talk about the very few missteps. The very first of these highlights is the second track “Of Beasts and Worms,” which is taking nothing away from the first. There are some spoken word vocals before this track explodes into death metal ecstasy. Then, the chorus hits, and I swear those vocals sound like Bjorn Strid of Soilwork fame, but despite my online searching, I have found no evidence to say it is indeed him. Regardless of the vocalist, this is my chorus and therefore song of the year so far.

While I certainly don’t consider it a misstep, I do certainly question the reasoning behind breaking up “The Dopamine Void, Pt. I” and “The Dopamine Void, Pt. II.” The first part is mostly clean guitars with clean, stellar vocals from Riley McShane, and seems more like an interlude, but the second part is immediately full speed ahead, with some stellar bass playing. If you were thinking those clean vocals were only going to be in Pt. I, that would be incorrect. For the most part, though, it’s harsh vocals all the way, continuing Mr. McShane’s outstanding performance.

The closing track, “Loss,” is another scorcher. I found myself asking if there was another guest vocalist here because of the soaring melodies in the chorus. It sounds like Christian Alvestam of Scar Symmetry fame (as well as a thousand current bands). However, maybe I just need to give my dude, McShane, some credit here. This song, and the album itself are both stellar. The chorus melody here sticks out just as well, if not more than the one in “Of Beasts and Worms” earlier. If you want a better description of this song, think Meshuggah meets Soilwork. That could apply for several tracks here.

Overall, I know I said this in the beginning, but this album is likely going to be high on my list. I’ve enjoyed this band for many years, dating all the way back to their debut, but they honestly kind of lost me for a couple albums in that “I enjoyed them, but they didn’t stick with me” way, so I didn’t see this banger coming. It’s an hour long, but at the end, I find myself asking what tracks or sections I would remove to make the runtime more palatable. If the answer is “none,” then the band has done their job. The length of the album is the only “con” here. In other words; a standing ovation from me, lads. If you’ve even passively enjoyed this band in the past, experience the growth they’ve cultivated here. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
February 21st, 2022


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