It seems my reviews are becoming scarce, but when I do review something these days, it’s almost always an AOTY sleeper. It might be that I don’t spend time on anything unless I enjoy it. This is because I am typically doing one of three things; working, sleeping, or attending concerts, with the occasional opportunity to listen to new music.

I’ve taken several of those opportunities to listen to Tegmentum’s Evolvement. While not a new band, it’s new in this form with original, founding, and for a time only member Michael Ball recruiting Dawn of Ouroboros vocalist Chelsea Murphy, Fallujah’s Andrew Baird on drums, and Kenji Tsunami of Narcotic Wasteland on bass. Supergroup? Maybe in a sense. Super talented? Absolutely.

One of the shorter tracks starts after a brief intro. While “Moments Ago” is not as expansive as the rest of the album, it does set the stage appropriately for what’s to come. What’s coming is a combination of many different metal styles, sitting somewhere between Humanity’s Last Breath and Fallujah.

“Accolades” is the very next one. It’s nearly 7 minutes and starts with a minute of a jazz-influenced guitar lead, making way for Chelsea’s formidable vocals. If you were expecting prog, you’ll get it, but the leads, the djenty grooves, and vocals all paint a ‘Fallujah if they wrote better songs’ vibe. No disrespect to them because I do like the band, I just don’t seem to “get it” as much as others. There are certainly some deathcore elements in the section about 3 minutes in, but the song is immediately flipped into a clean vocals section.

“Genetic Assimilation,” track 6, starts with a scream that sounds like Chelsea hit her foot on the end of a coffee table. I know that scream. We’ve all been there. Otherwise, around 2 minutes in, there’s a hammering breakdown with an effective “BLEGH.” Shit, I hope I don’t upset that Architects guy who invented those. This track also nears 7 minutes, with an extended guitar solo section. I get it, dawg. I should just give up on the guitar. There’s another breakdown near the end of the track. I think both in this can be described perfectly as “space breakdowns.”

Well, god damn it if the last track isn’t the longest. “Gospel of Sand” is nearly 10 minutes. I’m not sure the last 3 count, though. Only a couple minutes in, there’s a brief clean section (not the vocals, just instruments), which leads into some deathcore moments/riffs. A little bit further, there’s an expectedly excellent solo section. Then, more rumbling deathcore. Some horrifying atmospherics end the track.

I am not meaning this to come off as salty or negative as it may, but this album is what I always thought Fallujah could be, yet they were always weighed down by production… choices. Luckily, I’ve seen them a few times live and they’re better than on record. I’m sure Tegmentum, if it ever happens will be great live as well, but until then, be satisfied with another, and say it with me; sleeper AOTY pick.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
September 7th, 2023


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