Fragments of Form and Function

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Geographically, things have a way of coming full circle in the music world. Rock & roll started in the United States, but after the British Invasion of the 1960s, countless Americans were influenced by the Beatles, the Kinks, and the Who. Afro-Cuban music started in Cuba, but when New York City became a salsa/Afro-Cuban hotbed, salseros in Havana were influenced by Tito Puente, Héctor LaVoe, Willie Colón, and other Big Apple residents. And in death metal -- which didn't start in Scandinavia but has had a ton of Scandinavian bands -- you know that things have come full circle geographically when Colorado-based death metallers like Allegaeon sound like they could be from Stockholm or Oslo. Many of the early death metal bands came out of Florida, but that was before Continental Europe (Scandinavia especially) became so dominant in death metal -- and on Allegaeon's first full-length album, Fragments of Form and Function, one hears mostly Swedish and Norwegian influences. One could describe this 2010 release as blackened death metal, although the blackening has to do with the vocals rather than the music itself. From the blistering guitar solos to the ferocious drumming, Allegaeon are essentially a Nordic-style death metal band. But the extreme vocals consist of both a death metal-style Cookie Monster growl and a black metal-style rasp, and those two vocal styles are equally prominent on Fragments of Form and Function -- which members of Allegaeon have described as "melodic death metal." To be sure, this 53-minute CD has its relatively melodic parts. But when all is said and done, Fragments of Form and Function has more to do with bombast than it does with melody or nuance. Allegaeon aren't melody-minded to the degree that, say, Callenish Circle, In Flames, or At the Gates are melody-minded -- and the more melodic parts of this 53-minute CD indicate that Allegaeon would probably do well to move more in that direction. Although uneven, Fragments of Form and Function definitely has its moments and indicates that these Colorado residents are worth keeping an eye on.

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