Formless – Eon (Self-Released)

Sunday, 15th May 2016
Rating: 8.5/10

Feel like your usual tech death metal is lacking in variety? Do you think the feeling behind the barrage of notes gets lost in translation? Fear not – Connecticut’s Formless have you covered. Expansive to the point where you might not initially even think of the subgenre, Formless have named themselves well – Eon is an amorphous album that will pull you in for listen after listen.

With a very sturdy technical death metal backbone firmly in check, Formless take advantage of their situation and expand outwards. Elements of black metal, prog, and more seep through the cracks as you move through this 53-minute death metal debut. Which is why it is that much more impressive. Outside of a demo and single, Eon is the band’s first real output. There’s bone-crushing brutality, as the beginning of “Sins” quickly points out, but it isn’t too long until you are exposed to one of the many tricks up Formless’ sleeves. Hard-hitting and technically proficient death metal riffage gives way to melodic and atmosphere-rich tendencies in ways that never scream copycat. “Sins” ends out with some blasting black metal inspired moments and catchy tremolo riffs, only to start up with some viciously melodic groove and severe headbanging riffs to lead off “Salvation.” Later, clean guitar breaks up the abrasion and guitarist Annie Grunwald lends her clean vocals to the mix in a way that feels genuine and adds a new dimension to the music. Her later work on “Benighted” really solidifies her contributions to the vocal end of the band (alongside the musical ones). Add in some rumbling bass lines and some interesting lyrical content (“Tech Death”), and you’ve got yourself an album that really pulls out all the stops.

An impressive debut that captures the best of what tech death has to offer and tosses in a generous helping of diversity, Eon is sure to make some waves. Energetic, frantic, and melodic in just the right doses.

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