Quite possibly the Metal album you've been waiting for.
In my opinion, this is the best album of 2016 thus far, and there is very little chance that it'll be beaten by the end of December. Strong words, perhaps, but true on virtually every level. The sheer amount of talent these guys have just bursts from each and every song included within. The only real complaints anyone could possibly muster (and there are some reviews that have validated this claim), is that it is too in-your-face the entire time. To many, that's the exact opposite of a detraction. A different way of looking at it is that this album is simply too awesome for some people to handle. Period. Proponent for Sentience has some of the most beautiful and elegant performances ever put to recording, some of the most off-the-wall crazy and lightning fast riffs the band invented yet, and the madness doesn't stop for a whole 72 minutes straight!
Let's begin with the biggest change from the band's third album album, Elements of the Infinite, to this one: the vocalist. Riley McShane of Son of Aurelius fame doesn't simply carry over his signature style from one band to the other. Instead, he mimics his predecessor, allowing for the smoothest transition possible. What's more, he does it perfectly. You can't even tell there has been a change.
While there are very few changes or stylistic adjustments to the band's sound, there are a couple that tend to stand out. The first one worth mentioning is the addition of symphonic elements, which are put right to the forefront of the first track to build the atmosphere with ambience and impending chaos. The second neat little addition is the short Spanish guitar segments, which are beautifully composed and serve surprisingly well as transitionary bridges.
Most fans will struggle in choosing their favorites off of this beast of an album. Usually, Allegaeon have two or three that really stand out from the rest, but the ante has been upped here to the point where it's all on pretty much the same level of perfection. However, Of Mind and Matrix is perhaps the grooviest effort, with a chorus that you'll wish would just keep going and going. Terrathaw and the Quake also impresses with its avante-garde guitar execution as well. The most stand-out track is Proponent for Sentience III – The Extermination, which features all of the band's greatest tricks as well as a guest performance by Soilwork's amazing vocalist, the one and only Björn Speed Strid.
Allegaeon has faced some harsh scrutiny over the past few days due to their Patreon profile, where fans can contribute funds to help the band get out of debt. It's really a huge shame that rather than listening to this new masterpiece and recognizing the band for the geniuses that they are, many Metal fans have instead decided to bash them and condemn them for being the starving artists that they are. What's more, even despite the financial difficulties they've had over the years, they've still managed to keep a great sense of humour (their Facebook posts are often pretty hilarious too). If nothing else, Proponent for Sentience is a testament to how much we need these guys to keep on doing what they're doing, and it deserves to be given a chance by Metal music lovers of all types.
Images courtesy of Metal Blade Records.