The definition of DAMNUM is Latin for a loss or, hurt, harm or damage. This is a theme which is prevalent throughout Allegaeon‘s 6th studio album of the same name. The band are known for creating a densely textured sound so incredibly detailed that it’s actually quite difficult to attribute a singular description or genre. DAMNUM is absolutely their strongest and most detailed record to date, pushing the boundaries to the extreme. All five members were involved in the writing process for the first time, each bringing a personal and unique perspective, especially with the addition of new drummer Jeff Saltzman.
Guitarist Greg Burgess states about Saltzman:
“He practices all the time and truly loves it. With that passion comes a creativity we really haven’t had before. This is really the first record where the drummer has written all their parts instead of us guitar players programming a beat and having our drummer just write their fills.”
Vocalist Riley McShane states:
“With this album, it was more about knowing what we didn’t want. We didn’t want to keep knocking on the same creative door that wasn’t ever getting opened. We didn’t want to force ourselves to stay in a box that had been built for ourselves over the years.”
McShane also goes on to say:
“There was a lot of anger and sadness present when writing this record. Not with each other, but just as a by-product of the shape of things in the world around us, as well as some hard-hitting losses in our individual lives.“
We start off with a calming acoustic opening with ‘Bastards of the Earth,’ before descending in to blistering riffage and rapid, thunderous drumming designed to blast your face off followed by epic guitar solos. ‘Of Beasts and Worms‘ features both brutally heavy riffs, catchy hooks and melodic, ‘chant-along’ choruses guaranteed to get the crowd hyped.
‘To Carry My Grief Through Topor and Silence‘ is probably one of the most technically layered tracks on the record. With a very haunting Slayer-like opening, it then soars straight in to brutally gutteral lyrics, epic riffing solos and passionate drumming. Just after the midway point, it slows right down with an intricate classical guitar solo before picking up speed again towards the end.
Then we have ‘Vermin‘ which is one of the singles released from the record. It’s heavily brutal and brutally heavy. The gutteral vocals are relentless as is the deafening drumming and the heroically monumental guitar solos.
The thing that stands out for me the most in this record is the juxtaposition of both well enunciated gutteral growls and almost metalcore-esque clean vocals. Both of which compliment the intricate instrumentation throughout the record. The guitar work alternates between heavy, chugging riffage and soaring solos to classical/acoustic interludes to break up the aggression. The record is high energy throughout but maintains a smooth transition from heavy to acoustic and back again.
A new lease of life has been injected in to this record despite it being the darkest to date due to the intensely personal nature of the lyrics. Each track has a similar core but brings something different to the table with a balanced blend of aggression and melody; it certainly does not stagnate at any point and I predict that this will push the band violently to the forefront of the Technical Melo-Death world. I completely vibed with this record and give it 8.5/10.
Released By: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 25th February 2022
For Fans Of: Archspire, Fit For An Autopsy, Rivers of Nihil
Favourite Track(s): Of Beasts and Worms, Into Embers, Vermin, To Carry My Grief Through Torpor and Silence