Melodic & progressive death metal act Allegaeon have had a relationship with Metal Blade Records since 2009, and the Colorado band have dished out a few strong releases since, with their latest Proponents for Sentience perhaps also being their best. The band, comprised of Riley McShane (Vocals), Greg Burgess (Guitar), Michael Stancel (Guitar), Corey Archuleta (Bass), and Brandon Park (Drums), have taken their sci-fi themed lyrical ideas and housed them within a framework of crushing death metal with a healthy dose of prog. Quite technical in spots with plenty of shredding guitar solos, intricate riffs and dynamic rhythms, Proponent for Sentience though isn't a non-stop assault of uber technicality, as the songs are indeed quite memorable and consistently 'metal'. "From Nothing" grabs the listener with fantastic riffs and McShane's mix of guttural growls & maniacal screams, while "Gray Matter Mechanics - Appassonata Ex Machinea" tosses up some gorgeous acoustic guitars & atmosphere before the sizzling lead guitars and acrobatic drumming kick in for a wild progressive metal party. "Of Mind and Matrix" is wonderfully melodic, and the huge, sweeping keyboard orchestrations on the three-part title track sections bring to mind Emperor as well as Dimmu Borgir at their most cinematic.
Epic and quite adventurous, Proponent for Sentience is quite the achievement for Allegaeon, and one of the better progressive death metal albums I've heard here in 2016. Kudos to the band for also tackling the classic Rush track "Subdivisions" on the album, their rendition packed with power, staying true to the original arrangement but also giving it their own spin, with McShane showing off his potent clean vocals. Well done!
- Proponent For Sentience I - The Conception
- All Hail Science
- From Nothing
- Gray Matter Mechanics - Appassonata Ex Machinea
- Of Mind and Matrix
- Proponent For Sentience II - The Algorithm
- Demons of an Intricate Design
- Terrathaw and the Quake
- Cognitive Computations
- The Arbiters
- Proponent For Sentience III - The Extermination