The Underground Sounds Of America: Allegaeon
Welcome to the latest installment of U.S.A.: The Underground Sounds of America, our series that shines a spotlight on the most underrated rock, metal, punk, and hardcore bands in the United States. Each week, we ask one band member to answer five unique questions so you can get to know them better. Because if you aren’t already a fan of the artist featured below…you should be.
When you want everything at once, Allegaeon are a band who will always deliver. The Coloradan five-piece play music that feels like four of the most kickass metal songs you’ve ever heard interwoven into each other, placing brolic riffs and rip-roaring solos next to moments of incredible melancholy and extremity with perfect dexterity. The result is impressively technical death metal that’s somehow simultaneously mind-bendingly complicated, refreshingly unpredictable, and a pleasure to listen to. If that weren’t enough, the dudes in the band have become known throughout the metal world as hilarious and fun-loving dudes who will busk in a subway or work a giant crab named Myles into their live set.
“We actually killed Myles!” says vocalist Riley McShane of the giant crab the band used to bring onstage as a dig at the crabcore trend. “Well…killed his character. Myles is still doing great. We filmed a video for Demons of an Intricate Design and boiled the crab in a hot tub.”
For Allegaeon, the death of sweet Myles also heralds the coming of a bright new era. This Friday, the band releases Apoptosis, their fifth and most ambitious record, and it doesn’t disappoint. From start to finish, the album is both an enjoyable listen and a spectacular exercise in technical prowess, evoking influences ranging from Mercyful Fate to Dying Fetus. Apopstosis feels important in just how much fun it is to jam, a piece of death metal art that you also want to blast out of the windows of a used sedan.
“The whole theme follows the idea of ‘out with the old, in with the new,’ pretty strictly,” says Riley. “Apoptosis, in science, is the programmed death of cells to contribute to the growth of an organism and keeping that in mind while reading the lyrics shows that that idea can be applied to tons of different facets of civilization — religion, philosophy, society, et al.”
Taking a brief respite from headbanging like psychopaths to the new album, we reached out to Allegaeon to learn more about the dudes behind this hunk of metal wizardry.
1) Name Allegaeon’s five biggest musical influences.
It’s kind of hard to say as only one guy, but I know Greg was hugely inspired by Megadeth growing up. Vocally, I draw a lot of inspiration from old soul and funk tunes to develop writing patterns. Brandon Park grew up drumming and has a big soft spot for hair metal from the ‘80s, although I don’t know how much it influences his super tech death metal drumming. Mikey is a few years younger than the rest of us, but I know he’s got a big background in jazz, as does our newest member, Brandon Michael.
2) If you had to play a newcomer one Allegaeon song to introduce them to the band, which would it be and why?
Oh man…I would probably have to play them 1.618 with video accompaniment. Really paints the best picture of what kind of dudes we are, and that song is a bop.
3) If Allegaeon could put together their own dream tour, who would be on it?
This is such a huge question — so many bands would be so rad to tour with! I would love to tour with Gojira — their live performance is so huge. We’re all big Dream Theater fans, so that would also be amazing. For people more on our level though, it would be great to tour with the dudes in The Black Dahlia Murder, they are super chill. So there you have it — Gojira, Dream Theater, TBDM, and Allegaeon. Coming soon to a city near you!
4) What are you most excited for fans to hear on Apoptosis?
I really like the songs Metaphobia, The Secular Age, Tsunami and Submergence, and the title track. All of those songs carry a really unique vibe and represent areas that Allegaeon has never really explored before. Very excited for people to hear our take on some of these musical styles.
5) What is one time something has gone either entirely wrong or miraculously right on tour?
On our last tour with Obscura, I was out having dinner with some of the people on the tour package. We got to talking, and after our meal we had some shots…Anyway, we’re walking back to the venue, and Steffen asks me, “Hey dude, what time do you guys go on?” To which I reply, “Pretty sure at 8:00 PM.” He kind of just looks at me for a second and then turns his phone at me where it says, of course - 8:00. I laughed it off for about three seconds, but then started sprinting to the venue and jumped on stage as they were checking my microphone. Entirely wrong and miraculously right all at once!
Allegaeon’s Apoptosis drops this Friday, April 19th, on Metal Blade Records, and is available for preorder.