Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Video Review: ALLEGAEON Subdivisions by Dave Wolff

From the 2016 full length Proponent For Sentience (Metal Blade)
As I was an enthusiast of old Rush when I discovered rock and metal, hearing Allegaeon’s cover of their song was a profound moment. Classic rockers with any questions about the musical and technical validity of melodic death metal will have at least some questions answered seeing how Allegaeon handle Subdivisions (the opener of Rush’s 1982 album Signals). I wouldn’t presume to say which version is better or worse, but it’s clear the song travels in an entirely new direction here. The brief keyboard intro of the song is presented with a cold, mechanical air that you might associate with Rush circa 1976 to ‘78. When the guitars and drums kick in the cover becomes a monumental homage to Rush’s innovative license. The two guitarists (Greg Burgess, Michael Stancel) play with eight string instruments and the bassist (Corey Archulleta) with a six string, giving the song a tremendous, overwhelming wall of sound you’d never have expected. The keyboards underline the string instruments, providing a hyperboreal counterpoint, while the drummer (Brandon Park) complements the verses with double bass and precise fills. Burgess and Stancel perform the keyboard solos originally by Geddy Lee. Covering Subdivisions will open yet another door to melodic death metal’s potential and contribute to quashing scoffers’ claims that extreme metal is uncoordinated caterwauling, even if they were to judge it as too heavy or noisy. I can see how metal fans would relate to the lyrics Neil Peart wrote in the early 80s, and why metal bands would choose it as a cover. Vocalist Riley McShane delivers those verses with precise enunciation and a vocal melody that fits this piece. Streaming, video release and ordering info for the newly released Proponent For Sentience is here. -Dave Wolff

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