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Alchemist - Jar of Kingdom CD (album) cover

JAR OF KINGDOM

Alchemist

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.20 | 8 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JJLehto
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The debut album from Aussie prog metal band Alchemist.

I say prog metal because while there is heaviness, intensity and growls o plenty, musically this is far outside anything in the realm of death metal. Death, Atheist, Cynic even Edge of Sanity never created such an out there product.

"Jar of Kingdom" is a blend of death metal influenced prog metal and psychedelia. There is also some very noticeable Eastern influence. It is an intriguing and ambitious effort that doesn't seem fully developed on this album. While I applaud the effort, (and am glad to know I'm not alone in thinking you can like extreme metal and Pink Floyd)it is just not fully "there" yet. The album is a bit inconsistent, and while Adam Agius' vocals aren't the worst by any means, I'm not really a fan. His shrill growls are actually a lot more energetic than the standard, but also can be as laughable at times. Not a turn off, but not the best.

Musically, the songs have very progressive structures that can range from blast beat death metal to spaced out, Pink Floyd style movements. The music can stop and start on a dime, usually with wild shifts in tempo and style. The guitar work features both heavy, death metal and psychedelic, trippy styles, often at the same time.

The guitar work and song structures are easily the strongest thing on this album, unique and unorthodox are the only ways to put it. As well as awesome. The drumming is fitting and more than servicable.

Just for a change of pace, songs like "Found" are mellow and feature female vocals, and "Whale" is an acoustic piece with some type of tribal drumming, xylophones (or synths) and the sounds of whales.

Some standout songs are "Abstraction" (with its relaxing and brutal movements and sweet psychedelic melodies) "Shell" featuring surprisingly nice melodies, and "Brumal-A View From Pluto" which has one of the best openings I've ever heard and is a particularly brutal and usual piece. I love the surf rock riff over blast beats and distorted mess of tremolo picking.

The finale "Worlds Within Worlds" is a true musical journey, which features some of the best melodies and writing on the album. While some other songs can suffer from a lack of cohesiveness, this one works perfectly for most of it, and is really one of the more unique things I've ever heard. Where else can you feel like relaxing in a Middle Eastern palace and headbanging in a doom metal show??

Very interesting album that makes me feel ashamed I never herd of this band until 2011. What Alchemist tried to do on this album is not easy, and indeed it sounds a bit chaotic at times. Not organized chaos though, more like 2 buses carrying a death metal and psychedelic rock band collided. Sometimes awkward but it also works and the musicianship and songwriting skills here are impressive.

Good, but not great, album that leaves you wanting a bit more. Recommended listen for fans of prog metal (that have some taste for the extreme) and if not, probably best to avoid this unique album.

Three Stars

JJLehto | 3/5 |

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