Review by Adam M on May 14, 2012.
"Formshifter" is a Melodic Death Metal album that evokes memories of older At The Gates material, but also more recent bands like Nightrage. This album is less in the folkish style of bands like Omnium Gatherum or Insomnium and has a more Hardcore edge to it overall. Don’t let this impression fool you, however, because when you pull back the layers there is an album with plenty of thoughtfulness and depth.
The songs take multiple listens to sink in because of a twisting, labyrinth nature that makes them more difficult to digest. The album is also made more interesting with an industrial nature that could be likened to Fear Factory. Allegaeon maintain a nice momentum throughout as well. There are a few more subtle moments, but it’s a very ferocious album for the most part overall. "Formshifter" still isn’t perfect, however. The Hardcore influenced vocals are a low point here compared to the impressive instrumental performances and somewhat draw you out of the experience. That is the biggest flaw in an otherwise very impressive album. Fans of bands that have a dark nature to them such as Nevermore might also be enraptured by the style portrayed here.
There are enough melodies on the album that will also certainly appeal to the more desired Melodic Death Metal fanbase as well, however, making for a well-rounded work that has a variety of strengths. This multi-faceted nature will probably make Allegaeon a force to be reckoned with in the future, but only time will tell. "Formshifter" is splendid work of intelligence and fury.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.6 out of 10