Reshaping the deathcore universe
So what comes to mind when thinking of deathcore? Although the word itself generally means “overdone” and is commonly used to describe how mindless this genre is, how does this represent itself in music or more specifically heavy metal? When defining the genre, structure is always brought up as a defining characteristic, with artists testing their playing abilities and whether they can keep time in controlled chaos. It seems that Aegaeon's first full-length finally got the answer everybody was waiting for.
Opinions differ on who are the leaders of the deathcore scene right now. The main contenders that are often mentioned are Whitechapel and Chelsea Grin, though a lesser known group that predates both bands had already been playing unique otherworldly music for several years. Aegaeon maybe have those cliché breakdowns, but they at least take the time to define their own universe, including symphonic interludes and atmosphere into the songs. The listener will find, I hope, a vast interesting concept that the band will continue to expand in their future releases.
Conceptually, Aegaeon’s vision is a hard one to define, But one free of clichés and with little to no comparisons (ultimately the goal of any musician, right?). Quite a bit of thought has obviously been put into every aspect of the release, including the packaging and artwork, as well as the music and lyrical themes. This album flows exceptionally well and although the individual songs are quite discernable, the album is constructed in such a way that the songs connect in an effortless and almost conceptual fashion. Even trying to pick standout tracks is hard because it’s like removing crucial compartments from an engine, it’s not going to work without them. I suppose it all comes down to mood, songs like Dimensions of Reality and Impermanence make for great high octane headbangers, while Reshaping the Multiverse and Perception II offer a more dream-like cruise experience through alien landscapes. Musically, Aegaeon paints another fantasy world, a very beautiful surreal experience. Most of the non-lyrical tracks on the album work at enforcing the general atmosphere with nice symphonic passages and cosmic sounds. With a huge nod going out to Perception II, where all the musicians seem to set amazingly high standards for instrumentation and song writing in general.
Musically all entities are pretty much on par, superb guitar work by Sebastian Brown and Jerry Grannan, always writing interesting riffs that shape the songs and never overpower the other instruments. That’s the great thing about this album: everything seems so evenly thought out and recorded, it’s all about the bigger picture. Justin Bess’s drum work is also very solid and effortlessly changes time signatures while not giving off that technical controlled chaos sound that seems overused in technical death metal. Last but not least, Martin’s voice, it’s hard to find comparisons even to date. A disgusting (in a good way), aggressive, youthful voice that would go nicely on any epic brutal death metal album. In any case the guy has a lot of stamina, and even if the voice is slighty monotonous, I can feel that James Martin is able to change elements in the colour of his voice during the whole process of Dissension.
This album was pretty successful at the time of release, which seems kind of surprising if you take into consideration that they are not signed, and do pretty much everything themselves. It’s really sad to see such a rare good deathcore band outfit not receive the chances that some others have. In a way or another, Aegaeon will basically tell you their own adventure, and prepare to take control of the ''universe''. Highly recommended.
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- Joey Roach