Allegaeon - Proponent for Sentience (Metalblade Records)

Allegaeon have put themselves in the running for album of the year with their latest gift to humanity, Proponent for Sentience.
Release Date: 
23 Sep 2016 (All day)

I have a confession to make.

I've been listening to Allegaeon's new album, Proponent for Sentience almost exclusively for close to a month. Metal as Fuck gave me the chance to review one of my more recent favourite bands (understand that most of my top bands have been around for an average of 30 years each), and I've been struggling to find words that will do it justice. So bear with me, as I try to share my incredible experience with this album.

For me, a good album has to entertain. A great album has to garner a reaction. An amazing album has to move me. And Proponent for Sentience has done exactly that. 

The scope of the story: Humanity reaches a scientific nexus, creating artificial intelligence, observing its independent evolution. The album covers scientific accomplishments, neurological advancements, even the ability to rewire one’s own brain through meditation (Gray Matter Mechanics). But that's just the lyrics. Musically, this album is a masterpiece. From film score level introductions to songs like Proponent for Sentience I, and II, to a classical/flamenco intro/outro to Gray Matter Mechanics, all the while remembering their technical, melodic death metal roots; Allegaeon have really thought of it all. When I spoke with vocalist Riley McShane recently, he observed Allegaeon's musical progression throughout their career: "As a fan, I loved that from album to album you can hear a noticeable progression. I feel that margin has gotten wider... With Proponent for Sentience, I feel musically the guys have outdone themselves..."

 

I agree with Riley's statement. By the time the listener gets to the second part of the trilogy, Proponent for Sentience II, the sonic journey has already been a tumultuous experience. There is a lure to every song that has the listener waiting for the next chapter of the story. One of my personal highlights is the opening to Terrathaw and the Quake: the gentle strum of an acoustic guitar and a croon from a soft voice, then turns into a rumble of riffs, finally throwing into a full out Allegaeon assault of guitars, drums and vocals. 

 

Proponent for Sentience III: The Extermination rounds out the trilogy with the destruction of humanity. Riley describes the third installment as "the final stage of the concept, where A.I. gains a consciousness and then destroys humanity.." I love every second of this song. For me, every complicated, delightful aspect of Allegaeon as a band is represented in this song: the guitar mastery, clean and dirty vocals, rounded out with the perfect support of bass and drums, and some orchestral depth in the background.

So there you have it. A band that has made a name for themselves with their complicated riffs and the lyrical stories they tell. A band who is able to incorporate classical, flamenco, and "some epic Star Wars shit" to bring to us what I believe is one of the best albums this year.  I'm addicted. You should be too!

 

Proponent for Sentience comes out on 23rd September. You can pre-order the album at

https://allegaeon.bandcamp.com/

 

Allegaeon are also on tour throughout the U.S. and Canada this fall. Check out a show close to you. I promise they will melt your face.