allegaeon_proponent-for-sentienceIf you look at the top of this page, you will find a reference to the old adage “less is more.” The phrase came from the minimalist art movement and is still a common saying in many areas of art and design. In music, it usually describes how an album can be improved by removing songs or song sections that don’t add anything to the album as a whole, leaving the bloat on the cutting room floor. Here at Angry Metal Guy Universal Enterprises, we’re big fans of the principle; we don’t have a 45 Minute Rule for nothing. Allegaeon, being top-class musicians, of course know all about such basic rules of composition. They just don’t give a fuck.

It could have been so beautiful. Proponent for Sentience contains a fat slab of melodic death metal of the Gothenburgian school, with the most obvious influence Dark Tranquillity. The album implements the style by managing to sound both massive and light on its feet, like a runaway locomotive with the agility of a sports car. This is possible thanks to a cast blessed with incredible talent. I was not sarcastic referring to the band as top-class musicians; the guitar-work alone is mindblowing, switching effortlessly from sweeping technical solos to pulsing rhythmic blasts and back, sounding tight and fierce at all times. The drums are fast and precise, a pummeling force that spurs the songs on, as if they literally whip the other musicians into a foaming frenzy. The vocals are smooth and varied, the deeper growls reminding pleasantly of Dan Swanö. “Proponent to Sentience part III” even sports guest vocals from Soilwork’s leading man Björn Strid to great effect, injecting extra variety into the onslaught. It’s the most emotional moment on the album, but it’s definitely not the only winner. “All Hail Science” is an adrenaline pumping burst of Swedish death metal, and subsequent track “From Nothing” has a thick and infectious groove that will cause a lot of snapping necks. The scientific lyrics are a refreshing change of tune compared to the usual sociopolitical philosophical fare Gothenburgers often default to.

But though Allegaeon‘s vocabulary of long and difficult words is extensive, it does not contain “pruning” or “self-editing.” Proponent clocks in at an exhausting 72 minutes; a length hard to justify even for traditionally long-winded genres like prog metal. On a primarily guitar-centered, high octane melodeath disc, it becomes a downright chore long before it’s over. I usually start craving something different halfway through “Terrathaw and the Quake,” and I’ll still have half an hour to go. Many songs are bloated like a three week old beached whale; for instance, “Proponent to Sentience part II” spends half the running time stuck in the same tepid riff. Neither “Cognitive Computations” nor “Demons of an Intricate Design” do anything really interesting, and the Rush cover “Subdivisions” takes the prize for most useless afterthought of a song to close a metal album this year. The original’s dynamics and subtleties are smashed to bits and the high school conformity lyrics stand in stark and awkward contrast to the intellectualism preceding it.

allegaeon_2016

And yet, none of these are quite as insulting as “Grey Matter Mechanics” with its three-minute exercise in Spanish guitar picking that brings the album to a screeching halt. At least I can understand the bad idea of refusing to prune music you wrote, rehearsed and put your heart and soul into. I can understand trying to epic things up with orchestral intros, even though it further bloats the album and has no effect whatsoever. But if you’re not capable of enough self-reflection to decide your 72 minute freight train of a metal album doesn’t need a full song’s worth of flamenco picking, you are utterly blind to your own shortcomings.

Which brings me to the final nail in the coffin: for the mastering process the album has been tied to the front of a Volvo and driven straight into a brick wall. Any and all subtleties drown in a homogeneous blob of loudness, making absolutely sure that any point the symphonic sections and the Spanish guitar had is completely erased. Allegaeon‘s last album was featured in Worst Sounding Albums of the Year, which clearly taught them nothing whatsoever. Proponents could have been miraculous. It should have been. But all the talent in the world can’t make up for such an appalling lack of self-reflection. Normally, a bad album is just bad, you shrug and move on, but this flagrant waste of an enormous amount of potential made me a very angry metal guy.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: VBR mp3
Label: Metal Blade Records
Websites: allegaeon.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/allegaeon
Releases Worldwide: September 23rd, 2016

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  • Treble Yell

    A really well written review, and judging by the included track, accurate, too. Shame, cause I really like what I hear but not stretched out to the point of transparency. 72 minutes… that’s a war crime.

    • GardensTale

      I checked, and on my phone I have only two albums justifying a 70+ minute length: Ocean Machine (Devin Townsend) – Biomech, and Pink Floyd – The Wall. All the rest is either shorter or would have been better shorter.

      • Treble Yell

        100% with you on Biomech. Now that’s a masterpiece of composition, although there’s deadspace between the last track and the secret, “real” last track that makes it 72 minutes.

        • GardensTale

          You mean the talky bit after the second chorus of Death of Music? I agree, that could have been shorter, but I do think some space was necessary as a breather before the more quiet reflection of Things Beyond Things, because the choruses of DoM always fuck me up emotionally.

          Compared to Biomech, Transcendence is practically floaty pop. Devy may be in a healthier mental state now, but I doubt he’ll ever reach that sort of quality again.

          • Treble Yell

            Honestly, I would usually fast-forward to Things Beyond Things, space be damned. I love Devin (been listening to him since City came out in ’97) but I wish he’d return back to his harsher screams from his earlier period and focus less on his modern operatic style, even though I usually quite enjoy it.

          • Diego Molero

            What do you think of the new album by Devin? Still haven’t listened to it myself but is supposed to be pretty good.

          • GardensTale

            I know you asked him, not me, but butting in, I’d say it’s roughly on par with Ki provided you skip the first three songs. “Truth” did not need a rerecording, “Stormbending” just meanders a lot and goes nowhere, and “Failure” is just dull. The rest is alright though. Still a step up from Sky Blue and Z2.

          • Diego Molero

            Well technically I did, but the question was for anyone who wanted to answer haha.
            “alright” doesn’t sound too enthusiastic.
            Ah, I miss Strapping Young Lad.

          • GardensTale

            “City”, “Alien”, “Biomech”, “Terria” and “Infinity”. I don’t think any of his other work can touch those 5.

          • Diego Molero

            City is my favorite, that album is just excellent.

          • JL

            I agree. But I would definitely add Physicist to that list. It’s so good and severely overlooked even by Dev fans. Songs like Material, The Complex, Irish Maiden and Kingdom are amazing.

          • GardensTale

            Maybe it gets overlooked because devy disliked it himself? It’s why I always skipped over it. Might have to go back to it sometime

          • Treble Yell

            Replace “Alien” with “Accelerated Evolution” and we’re in agreement.

          • GardensTale

            Can’t we have both in there?

          • Treble Yell

            Alien is good, but I would put other Devy albums above it, like Addicted or Heavy As a Really heavy Thing.

          • Eldritch Elitist

            Are you me? That’s exactly how I feel as well about Transcendence.

          • GardensTale

            That’s a very specific opinion to be in complete agreement with! Did we just become best friends?

          • Treble Yell

            I’ve had a brief listen to it on Tidal and I’ve liked what I’ve heard. I’ve cooled on Devin a little over the years as despite being one of his biggest fanboys on the planet I felt he was going through the motions a little, as well as getting a bit sick of his “wall of sound” production. The new one seems like a return to form and seems rawer, more alive in both intent and production quality. I’d love to review it but last I checked AMG didn’t receive a promo copy, but I could be wrong.

          • Diego Molero

            Yeah, I get what you’re saying. The man is a genius, but he had some releases that weren’t good (to say the least). That’s why I wasn’t so excited about the new one. But I will listen to it, I really want to like it.
            Shame about that promo.

          • JL

            The new one is decent. Not as good as Sky Blue, which I thought was sort of a mixture of various sounds/elements contained on the first 4 Devy solo records. Secret Sciences is a cool song with a great chorus. But yea, the early stuff was just incredible. I doubt he will ever get to that headspace again. He’s just in a totally different mental state and has been for years. FWIW: the second half of Noisy Pink Bubbles…..wow, just wow….(extra wow if you listen with headphones while high).

          • HATE TALKING ON ALBUMS.

          • Grymm

            *cough*VOICES LONDON*cough*

            Lozenge, anyone?

          • Meat Tornado

            Good to see we agree on one point. Talking totally ruins songs for me.

      • Reese Burns

        I’d say the latest Vektor album justifies its length pretty well

        • This is true, the more times I listen, and I’ve listened to many times, Terminal Redux seems shorter than it really is.

        • Yeah, it’s definitely great. I think it pushes against that boundary a bit, but… well, it’s so good.

          • Agreed. It can be forgiven.

      • The Wall is DR14 btw.

        • It’s not much of a brick wall than, more like an airy polystyrene wall. Which is also evident in the Live in Berlin video.
          Speaking of DR… It may be the only objective measurement, not that objectivity apply to AMG, but it’s not the most important aspect of sound. I’d rather go with good basic production that’s been squashed into low DR, than a lousy production with lofty DR.
          72 minutes of DR5 should come with a “may cause a headache” sticker, though.

          • GardensTale

            Dan Swano is the best at making a low DR sound good. I prefer the new Witherscape in the DR13 version but I can not complain about the DR7 version at all!

  • Ferrous Beuller

    I have to admit, I was looking forward to this one, being a fan of the last; alas, Elements of the Infinite had some gaping editing issues, too. Great review!

  • Chris

    I typically agree 100% with your reviews, but think you’re up in the night on this one. This is likely to be my personal AOTY, length be damned. I’m fine with a band going into overtime when every song is this damn good and the talent level is so off-the-charts.

    • GardensTale

      That’s great! I wish I could say the same. I loved a few songs and a lot of sections of songs, but it’s all the parts that do nothing and go nowhere that make it an incredibly frustrating album for me, hence the score.

      • Chris

        I will admit that if I was the sort of person who listened to albums all the way through in one sitting, I might be less enthusiastic. However, I rarely (if ever) have time for that nowadays, and end up listening to pretty much everything a couple songs at a time. In that format, this one works really well, as I don’t think there’s really a weak song on the album.

        • GardensTale

          Yeah, we tend to review the album as a whole here. I agree the songs are better individually, though the cover is still a massive dud and the brickwall production kind of necessitates stopping for a Steven Wilson or Dan Swanö break regularly.

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Do you really think the Rush cover is poor or just in poor context? I kind of enjoyed it myself – I just can’t see where, or why, it fits onto an already 65+ minute run time.

          • GardensTale

            I really do think it’s poor, yeah, both compared to the original (which had a lot of dynamics and subtleties that get obliterated) and the rest of the album (not nearly as ferocious or engaging and clashing lyrics)

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Subdivisions is a great song from a genuinely progressive album and I cant condemn the band for attempting to make it their own, subtleties be damned! I still enjoyed it in the context of a bonus track; as a closer, though, perhaps not. Still, great review.

    • I’m in the exact same boat. I love Steel’s reviews and agree with him more-so than any other author at AMG. But it sounds like he’s nitpicking for the sake of it. I’ll take a long, bloated album full of some of the best tech/melodeath ever crafted over a 42 minute offering once every 4 years. Sometimes, more is just… MORE!

      • GardensTale

        Makes sense since I wrote it instead of him. He just posted it for me because I’m still a rookie. And if the bloat was just me picking nit, I wouldn’t have made it the major point of a low score.

        • Oooohhh somehow I missed that. The bold text, right at the top. Yeah I get it, it’s a long album for sure. I just have a little beef with AMG (as much as I love the site) writers slamming albums that are generally received as superb for non song-related reasons. This review reminds me of the initial Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails review back in 2014. That was just silly. It was a fantastic album, get over the DR score and appreciate great metal when it’s presented to you. Same vibe with length here – it’s long but… c’mon man. Still, your review is not nearly as infuriating as the 5/5 White Wizzard debacle #neverforget

          • We told you to forget that!

          • I can’t! It is burned into my brain forever…

          • El_Cuervo

            yah but The Flesh Prevails was truly fucked by its mastering. So that’s why a big deal was made out of it.

          • Thatguy

            Don’t get me started again!

          • Kronos

            The copy I received of TFP was unlistenable.

        • mr noetol

          Aside from the overly-long guitar piece at the end of Gray Matter Mechanics the album as a whole flows very well, the riffs are spectacular, the song structures are their best, there are catchy moments, shreddy moments, great melody. This album is completely awesome. And it doesn’t feel overly long at all in my opinion. Looking at other reviews, many people would agree that it is a good album. Some say it’s one of the best of the year and I agree.

          • GardensTale

            Well, I’m glad you like it. If you look through the comments here, you’ll see that many agree. You’ll also see some that agree with me, and AMG himself even said I was letting them off lightly with a 2.0. Opinions, opinions.

      • DoublePedalGangstaMetal

        Agreed. I never understood this obsession with album length. Listen to half of it, go have lunch, listen to the rest.
        Malevolent’s Retribution is still one of my favourite albums, but I can’t be arsed to sit through the 1:30 minute intro to ‘Eve…’ every time. And I surely can’t be arsed to be vexed about it when I can just skip through it. And of course, sometimes ‘Mindlock’ just have to be on repeat.

  • Kronos

    Nice review. This band is a continuous disappointment.

    • AndySynn

      My lack of camels is a continuous disappointment.

      • Jason

        Are you referring to cigarettes or humpbacked desert roaming mammals?

        • Can’t it be both?

          • Jason

            Only if it’s camels smoking Camels.

        • I’ve been wondering the same myself, but I’ve refrained from asking, cause I’m quite sure the answer would leave me disappointed.
          (The humpbacks would have made for a much more fascinating story than a bunch of standard brand smokes.)

      • Kronos

        You’ll get used to it.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Agreed, nice review!

    • basshole

      Continuous disappointment from what? Are expecting a black metal album? These guys pretty much incorporate anything you’d want out of a metal band.

  • AndySynn

    Ouch. I mean, I agree that it was WAY too long (I recommended a number of tracks to cut in my own review) but… damn, son, that was harsh reading!

    Still, I stand by the assertion that “Cognitive Computations” is a great song, and SHOULD have been the closer.

    • GardensTale

      That’s my point with the closing sentence. All-around bad albums, you cringe, shrug, pity them in the review, and move on. The amount of wasted potential just made me angry while writing, and I don’t do objective reviews (no one does, but I don’t try to pretend either).

      • AndySynn

        I’ll have you know that all my reviews are totally, utterly, 110% objective.

        As are all my comments, obviously.

        • You’re objectively wrong, as you tend to think the exact opposite of what I think. And since I’m the standard by which all should be judged… you’re shit out of luck.

          • AndySynn

            But the big question is… am I hardwired to self-destruct?

          • Likely. No bro hugs for you.

      • I must say that I’m pretty disappoint that you haven’t read far enough back in the archives to know that you should’ve been linking an iconic AMG post here.

        That’s a black mark on you for sure.

        • jetblindracos

          There is ‘ed missing,right?

          • Not if you speak Internet there ain’t.

          • jetblindracos

            My bad.

        • GardensTale

          Forgive me AMG, I was operating on the assumption everyone read that article considering its legendary status.

  • Jason

    I’m not generally a stickler for running time, and based on the embedded track I’m willing to give this album a shot. To Spotify… (or wherever the full album stream may be)!

  • Meriyas

    I really really hope I disagree with this review. I have really enjoyed the tracks they released before the album dropped, including the subdivisions cover. Greg is a rig on the guitar and Riley is my favourite vocalist (Under A Western Sun is a near perfect album for me, it just suffers from bloat… Too long, but still my favourite album from 2014) and they all seem like easy going, ridiculously talented lads. Hopefully when I listen to Proponent for Sentience I’ll disagree with you. Nice review overall though

    • GardensTale

      Thanks, I hope you’ll find it bullshit (my review, not the album)!

      • Joe Rico

        I find your review %95 bullshit.

        • GardensTale

          That’s a shame, I try to hit the 98% mark most of the time, now I’m disappointed this one contains too much truth.

          • Joe Rico

            Goals. Goals.

    • mr noetol

      The album kicks ass. Follow your own opinions and feelings. You can hear the whole thing on youtube, posted by Metal Blade. It’s very good.

      • Meriyas

        Yeah, I’ve listened to it a few times now and absolutely love it. Riley is a beast, I’m glad he took over vocals, that definitely paid off. While they could probably shave 5-10 minutes off the total runtime, it’s still my favourite Allegaeon release so far and I’m enjoying every song.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    This album would be much better if the title was “Proponent Against Sentience”

    Oxymorons are much more interesting than pleonasms.

  • Reese Burns

    Björn Strid? Instant purchase.

  • Diego Molero

    I read a few reviews about this album and all described it as an excellent album, I liked a lot the songs that they put as a preview, so I was really exited to read the review on this site, and damn…
    Still going to give it a go, hopefully I like it.

    • GardensTale

      Hey, I might be the outlier. The individual songs are better than the album as a whole. You can usually stave off ear fatigue for 8 minutes even when an album is this brickwalled. Maybe everyone listened to it in a big playlist with a lot of other songs, on shuffle!

      • Diego Molero

        Yeah but if that’s the case, it won’t work for me. When listening to an album I’m always all in or not, I don’t like listening to a couple of songs and call it a day.

      • Chris

        Your review does certainly seem to be the outlier, as every other site I’ve seen seems to really like it.

        It’s almost as if opinions on music were subjective or something…

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Nah you’re right. I like it in parts but overall the length and the loudness make this a tiresome listen. I struggle to last a full play through.
        I wouldn’t worry about most other sites as they often only give very good to excellent reviews anyway…

  • Dr. Wvrm

    It’s a big kick in the nuts coming to this from Winter’s Gate. One puts on a clinic on how to execute a long-form album (song?) without going off the rails, while the other, well…

  • Norfair Legend

    Great review and while I agree on the mastering, I personally have fallen in love with this album over the last few days. I can never really pin point why I feel the way I do sometimes…sometimes something I shouldn’t like so much I end up falling for. Maybe it is the sheer bombast and disregard or maybe this week I was just in the mood.

  • Bart the Repairman

    I like what I’m hearing so far. After rolling back the volume knob I could handle this for 70+ minutes, maybe even avoid a headache caused by hissing hats and crashes.

    • Dead1

      Still got a headache even at lower levels.

  • mindbleach

    I can’t help but look at tracks titles like “All Hail Science” and imagine that the album was written after spending 12 hours being forced to browse /r/atheism

    • GardensTale

      I’m do think that that one was meant ironically, and I think it’s the most effective song on the album. It’s a really tight, punchy song, precisely what most of the album is not. It seems to worship the scientific method rather than atheism though, so at least it doesn’t give much lip to religion.

      • mindbleach

        Aye, I’m giving the album a listen right now and it’s quite solid, IMO. Just reading the song title on google made me roll my eyes and think of those cringy “I Fucking Love Science!” facebook groups and the like.

      • chitownproud85

        As far as I can tell, based on the lyrics, its 110% about science(proof, facts, actively searching for the truth using defined processes) and has zero to do with religion and is most definitely not “ironic”. When they are chanting “All Hail Knowledge, All hail science” I cant imagine a word or a note of it is ironic. I’m responding to this comment late because I read this review and the comments before purchasing, and this stuck with me, so it feels like scratching an itch to respond. Cheers brother. So far, this album is doing it for me. The boredom switch hasnt flicked for me.

        • GardensTale

          Well, the phrase “all hail” is generally more prevalent in religion and boiled down it calls for mindless worship, which is the opposite of science. Hence, irony.

  • Hammersmith

    More of a 3-3.5 for me. Some of the tracks in the middle feel kind of samey, and they could have cut a couple out of there. I actually really liked the Rush cover and totally dug the spanish guitar parts of Grey Matter so I guess its just a matter of personal preference.

  • brklyner

    Personally this isn’t for me, just based on aesthetic preference. However, the level of technical skill in the songwriting and execution, just based on the embedded song and one or two others I’ve heard before, is undeniable to me. These guys are really good at what they set out to do. Especially compared to some of the other crap that deservedly gets low ratings on AMG. So 2/5 seems really, really harsh to me. I know you are reviewing the album as a whole, but to me runtime is just not a big deal at all. Don’t like a song? Skip it, delete it from the playlist, done and fixed. Sure, it would be nice if the band did that for you, but as others have pointed out, I almost never have the time to listen to an album in one sitting anyway, and fans of the band might rather have 72 minutes than 45. But to each their own.

  • Aaron Bennett

    I’ve been hearing Grey Matter Mechanics on Sirius XM for a while and liked it — if the rest of the album is as awful as you say I’m exited!

  • listening to the soundcloud song now…probably the biggest disappointment is they’ve had to know about the brickwalling criticism since their first album and fourth full length, still loud as hell. But I do enjoy their music and I look forward to all 72 minutes…big bias is I got to see them live and they put on one hell of a bouncy, fun set…very tough to hate on them after seeing them having that much joy onstage.

  • ImageOfChaos

    This review totally misses the mark for me. I hear a very solid album overall. Overly long? Maybe, but I am not going to crucify it for that reason alone, especially with the technical bad-assery this brings to the table. Brick walled production? Maybe according to the DR score, but I just listened to the entire thing with headphones and turning it down a notch or two solved any issues for me here. AMG continues to be my go-to metal site, but we shall agree to disagree on this one and move on. Easily a 3.5 to my ears.

    • I think the issue becomes a matter of ‘what are we reviewing?’ We’re reviewing albums not assemblages of songs. So what happens is that an album which isn’t listenable in a single sitting isn’t a good album. It might have great songs listened to at different times, etc., but it’s not complete. I think that’s a totally legitimate reason to drop a score. Combine that with eardrum shattering production and, well, a 2 seems a bit generous.

      • ImageOfChaos

        Wow I feel honored that the Almighty Angry One himself stepped off his evil throne to reply to my humble post – even if it was to breathe a little fire my way! I love the site and completely respect each individual reviewer’s opinions, even when it’s one I don’t agree with! Stay Angry and Stay Metal!

        • No fire. I just like to use emphasis when I write so that you can hear how impassioned I am about such things.

      • I find that logic baffling. Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, but a great quality 70 min album is inferior to 45 min album of the same quality? I can rarely listen to 45 minute albums in one sitting these days with kids and work. Even 30 mins is pushing it. When I was single, i could certainly listen to a 70 min album in one sitting and often did. Quality is quality, regardless of length. Just because YOU can’t listen to 70 minute albums in one sitting doesn’t make it inferior, thats really your problem. I do agree that an album shouldn’t be long for the sake of it, stuffed with filler or repetition to pad out song lengths, but if the music is awesome, give me as much as you want – double album, triple album, fourple album… whatever.

        • No. A great 45 minute and a great 80 minute record are equal. My point is that in most cases it’s more likely for the 45 minute record to be great than the 80 minute record. Increase the quantity of material and the greater chance that you’ve not honed it enough. Simple from a probability perspective, actually. The more chances I take, the more chances I have to fuck up. Much better to take the time to hone the best ideas than to throw everything at the wall and hope.

  • Meat Tornado

    Instead of a 45 minute rule, I think this site actually has a rule pertaining to the quantity of words spent whining about album lengths.

    AMG Rules and Regs.
    Article 1. Section A. “No review shall have fewer than 500 words related to moaning/complaining about album lengths. Any reviewer found guilty of not condemning a reviewed artist for failing to strictly adhering to an arbitrary and conservative album length of 45 minutes or less, shall be hung from the neck until dead.”
    Article 1. Section 2. “All reviewers must defend the ’45 minute rule’ unto death in the comments section of each posted review, regardless of reader assertions in statements regarding topics such as ‘artistic license’ or accusations of this website being ‘closed-minded’ or ‘clinging to arbitrary ideals’.

    Seriously though, you guys are a broken record and it’s getting boring. Especially when in the majority of cases I see and hear evidence that I and many others have no idea what you people fuss about. Obviously you have opinions, and they’re yours to have, but if things are progressing past the point of 10 or 11 song albums at 45 minutes, consistently with artists, maybe your opinions aren’t in tune with where things are headed in the genre, and reviewing isnt the game for you. I don’t know any artists, if any, who adhere to arbitrary rules like that one. Seems contrary to the point of art………..

    • Okay, we’ll shut down operations immediately.

      • Meat Tornado

        God, fucking finally.

        • You are aware we gave Songs from the North a 3.5 despite its ginormous length, right?

          • And I’ve been shaming him behind the scenes for months.

          • Meat Tornado

            Intimately, and I will defend Songs being a masterwork until death.

      • Meat Tornado

        Really though, ask yourself: “should an artist adhere to my standards of what is or isn’t good art? What is the point of art? Could self-expression transcend rules?”

        • Artists are free to do whatever they please. However, their artistic choices do impact the consumption of their art. Many of the AMG staff feel overly long albums get tedious and rarely maintain high quality from start to finish. If you prefer extra-long albums, bully for you. It’s a subjective thing, but “less is more” wasn’t an expression invented by us.

          • Meat Tornado

            Do you believe that people, especially metalheads who are already in a niche, when choosing music at a store or on iTunes will say, “wow this album breaks the 45 minute rule, I’m not buying it”. No theyll buy it if they like the music the band plays, and if they don’t like it, whatever. I think metal bands are used to having the majority of people not like them.

          • Of course not. However, we are reviewing albums and giving our opinions. Some of us tend to prefer sharper, more concise albums. You seem to find that troubling and suggest we change our views to adhere to some kind of community standard or artistic ideal. We are disinclined to acquiesce. Readers can take our opinions with whatever grains of salt they like and make their own decisions as to what they buy and consume.

          • AndySynn

            Yeah, but this guy is presenting himself as the voice of the average metalhead, and “you people” clearly don’t know what you’re talking about and just don’t understand “art”.

          • SegaGenitals

            Do you think your team’s preference for lean and mean albums is related to the huge volume of music you must ingest for the job? If I had to jam albums repeatedly in order to produce a review, I’d likely prefer shorter albums as well.

          • sir_c

            I think you do not get the point. The key message is that only very rarely will long albums make a lasting impression. Most of the time there is too much fluff which needs to be shaven off.

    • The 45 minute rule is a rule of thumb. The rule of thumb is this: generally speaking, records that breach 45 minutes are in need of editing. This is obviously my opinion, but it’s an opinion shared with a number of staff members here. It’s the rare album that pushes 60 minutes that holds one’s attention for the whole hour. And anything beyond that is probably worthy of an image macro asking whether or not one is a member of Pink Floyd.

      There are plenty of examples of good, long records. They’re not impossible. But I’m sick of song length and album length as its own value. Giving people everything you wrote in the last 18 months without a filter isn’t delivering good products, it’s publishing your diary. Edit, ffs.

      • SegaGenitals

        I don’t think an album should always been ingested in one sitting, and need not necessarily be dinged for being overlong, as long as individual tracks are great. You wouldn’t read Gravity’s Rainbow, In Search of Lost Time, or watch an entire season of Breaking Bad in one go; you would ingest it in portions and this does not detract from the quality of the work entire.

        I’d love to see your top 5 favorite overlong albums.

        • I think those aren’t the right analogies. I think albums aren’t like series, they’re like movies or paintings. They’re meant to be consumed in a single sitting. I’ve actually got a post coming about this in the next couple days.

          • Meat Tornado

            While I agree that albums definitely are intended to be sat through in one sitting (except double or the vastly superior triple album ;)), I do often find myself being rewarded more with greater emotional payoffs on longer records.

        • Dead1

          Albums are meant to be digested in one sitting. And if you find yourself losing attention then the album’s failed and needed to be culled.

          • SegaGenitals

            Agree. A boring album is a different story, but outside the premise of my argument.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Hail to AMG for critically talking about length of albums. IMO most albums run long these days not because the artist is making an artistic point but because they’re being self indulgent and/or don’t have the critical skill to asses their own work. Artist should be called out for waffling because it’s boring.

    • AndySynn

      “Seriously though, you guys are a broken record and it’s getting boring.”

      Said the pot to the motherfucking kettle, much?

      Also I love that “you people” part. And “maybe the reviewing game isn’t for you”. So fucking condescending. Good stuff.

      • Meat Tornado

        Hyperbole. I enjoy attempting to make points by blowing everything out of proportion. The basis of my argument remains the same, that I am unconvinced that albums of epic length are uncalled for, and that 45 minutes is even a good mark to shoot for. The arguments presented by reviewers on this site I often disagree with, and in most cases when they claim an album is “bloated”, I feel totally opposite.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Vektor is 73 minutes long and got ROTM. If your music does enough to justify an album’s length without feeling like torture, then there is no problem.

      • Benevolent Sun

        I thought the same thing. Vektor still holds my AOTY spot for 2016.

        • Alex Benedict

          see hope for the dying – legacy

  • Thatguy

    Cool. Everyone’s grumpy.

    Well, I’m grumpy about the spanish guitar, but I’m just about to go to Bandcamp to get this anyway. I have a long long flight to take tomorrow and a long album sounds like a good idea.

  • El Lado Oscuro

    This record is quite good, for a 3.5 prolly

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ would’ve been a better title… This album needs some serious liposuction and a trip to a yoga retreat…
    Colour me disappointed

  • Benevolent Sun

    One of the charms of this website is that I don’t always agree with the reviews. I still get to read about great metal without feeling like a sheep. Good review. Amazing album!

  • Jeffrey Dean

    The spanish guitar bit is my favorite part of the album. I guess tastes are subjective after all.

  • Jeff Kent

    If you’re going to have a 60+ minute metal album then you need the Spanish guitar to break things up. I say 60+ because the Rush cover isn’t really part of the ‘album.’ That said, they covered it with respect…and probably a little fear.

    • El Lado Oscuro

      Agree, Subdivisions is a song which has so many angles to work with, but they seemed to play it too safely, even the harsh voice coulda been used there

  • “What’s even worse, because of Infinite’s obvious commercial
    success, I suspect the next one will sound just as bad. It’s a darn
    shame too because this album could be so much more with just a few
    points of dynamics added to the mix. C’est la vie.”

  • The 13th

    I think 2.0 is a bit harsh. This is nothing new nor revolutionnary but it’s well done.

    I’d give this a 3.5. Fragments of Form and Function is still their best imho

  • PanzerFistDominatrix

    Why this dogmatic focus on the length of albums? Do you guys always and ever listen to records start to finish? You never press pause and go cook and eat or what not? I find it a bit like complaining “my pizza’s too big.” Well, fucking eat half, the flavour stays the same.

    • sir_c

      no that is not true, the second half warmed up never is as tasty as a fresh slice.

      • PanzerFistDominatrix

        Lol, true enough :-)

  • Dead1

    They’re clearly great players and there’s some great music here. How I’m finding the brickwalled sound to be too headache inducing.
    Agree with length – it’s another exhausting one.

  • basshole

    Dave Otero’s albums sound bad?! Lol. He’s like the go to producer in metal at this point.

    • GardensTale

      If he is, then metal has a fucking problem with fucking brickwalled masters.

      Hey would you look at that? Metal does have a fucking problem with fucking brickwalled masters!

      (Fucks for fucking emphasis)

      • basshole

        I guess I haven’t noticed anyone bitching about it since Death Magnetic, ok, maybe since Flesh Prevails. I’m not, not going to listen to the new album from one of my favorite bands because of production. I’m worried about riffs, songwriting, memorability, drumming, vocals, solos.. they could have recorded it on a fucking cassette tape boom box and i would still listen to it.. bitching about production is worthless.. go email them and ask them if you can produce their next one!

        • GardensTale

          You must not come here often. We bitch about shitty production all the time! We have an entire set of articles devoted to mastering and production! And anybody who listens to music on anything better than a couple of 12 buck earplugs or the blown out speakers in a shitty old Fiat should be concerned about production quality, because a shitty production can make good music sound like a fucked up monotonous wall of noise.

          And “you do it better” is a child’s argument. Grow up. Producing is his job, not mine, and if it sounds like shit he didn’t do it right. He clearly has no interest in making it GOOD, just making it LOUD. Listen to it as much as you like, I don’t care. I had my say.

          • basshole

            I am new here and don’t think I’m gonna last long.. I also just searched for the Monolith of Inhumanity review and that got a 2.5 lol.. I’m no expert in mixing/mastering. If it doesn’t crackle or pop or sound distorted, then I don’t notice. I have a good system in my car (2016 Fusion) and Bose noise cancelling headphones. I have yet to receive my official copy of this CD. So I’ll see. Is it the mastering where it happens? And I’ll try to grow up. It’s his job and lots of good bands go to him so… random metal fans/reviewers/blog site people vs opinions from the actual bands.. they clearly like the way it sounds, unless like I said, they send it off to mastering and they don’t get a final say..

          • GardensTale

            Well, the fact that the master is loud and not dynamic is a fact, you can make objective observations about this (look up articles on the loudness war and you’ll see what I mean). That this is a bad thing, that is my opinion. Yours is that you don’t mind so much. A lot of bands apparently agree with you, but I don’t get paid to write about what they think, only what I think.

            Actually I don’t get paid at all but you get my point.

          • basshole

            I just don’t think it should be a detriment to an album review score, when trying to review the actual written music therein. I did a bit of research on the loudness war. It appears pretty much unavoidable if you listen to anything modern.

        • Dead1

          I find crap production puts me off music. It’s a whole product – the song writing, the performance, the production, the vibe. If one is poor, it the rest will suffer.
          Metal production has gone down the toilet in recent years. It’s why I struggle with the new stuff: it sounds terrible. It’s loud, over layered, too dense, and full of clicky drums. Very often the more mainstream one sees to much use of autotune as well.

  • sir_c

    Besides the fact that the production makes the album sound like having a mid-flight conversation through an open aircraft door, I also think that the compositions are rather dull. Just run of the mill guitar wankery combined with some good cop/bad cop vocals. Meh.

  • Greg Hasbrouck

    The embedded track shows a lot of promise. However, as soon as I see “70+ Minutes” I don’t even bother to check out the full release. My attention span is way too short.

  • basshole

    After 10 something spins and a rip I did from the retail CD that filtered any frequencies under 10Hz, I’ve concluded this album is a fucking masterpiece. Sounds like these reviewers listened to it one time and reviewed it. First time I heard it I felt the same way, it was too much to take in at first.. Now I bounce around tracks and find myself addicted to pretty much all of them.. I also came up with a new theory that the reviewers on this site are just jealous and failed players that hate on and can’t fathom a newer and hyped up band playing futuristic metal that pushes boundaries. 2 out of 5 stars?!? LOFL. Get the fuck outta here.

  • Adam

    I love this album. It may or may not find it’s way into my top 10, undecided. A couple of unnecessary songs doesn’t ruin the long periods of awesome. I’m no Expert Critic Guy, I just like what I like.

  • Dead1

    So I tried listening to it again and again the brick walled production started giving me a headache and I found myself getting bored with all the mindless technical noodling.

    • Joe Rico

      What type of audio gear are you using? I listened through a pair of Audio Technica ATH-A700 headphones which are more laid back and I enjoy the album MUCH more. On higher quality iem’s the album sounds pretty good also. Swapping gear is the only way to listen to a lot of modern metal. At least the production and mix is good. That is MUCH more important than the DR.

  • Dirty G

    Disagree completely. Great record
    Ok, the Rush cover song is lame and out of place