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Alchemist - Austral Alien CD (album) cover

AUSTRAL ALIEN

Alchemist

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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UMUR
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Austral Alien" is the 5th full-length studio album by Australian metal act Alchemist. The album was released through Chatterbox Records in Australia and through Relapse Records worldwide in June 2003. Alchemist was founded in 1987 and have long been one of the most prolific acts on the Australian extreme metal scene. Itīs been 3 years since the release of "Organasm (2000)", but there were also 3 years between "Organasm (2000)" and "Spiritech (1997)", so thatīs a regular release cycle for the band. Alchemist was never a band to release a new album every year, which among other things was probably due to the fact that they ran and organized the yearly "Metal for the Brain" festival from 1996 to 2006.

Thereīs been a clear development in Alchemistīs sound over the years from an innovative death/thrash metal style towards an alternative/progressive metal style, which is what they play on "Austral Alien". There are still aggressive raw vocals and heavy distorted riffs featured on the album (which slightly remind me of 90s Prong and Sepultura), and you are never in doubt that this is a metal album (tracks like "First Contact", "Backwards Journey" and "Epsilon" are all pretty heavy business), but on the other hand there are whole tracks and whole sections in other tracks that donīt feature that many metal elements (tracks like "Solarburn" and "Speed of Life" are examples of that). Instead there is an obvious Killing Joke influence in the music that is quite dominant. Thereīs also a psychadelic atmosphere about "Austral Alien", which is another spice to the overall sound of the album.

In addition to bass, guitars, drums and vocals (raw and clean), the music also features layers of atmospheric keyboards and samples (check out the didgeridoo samples on "Great Southern Wasteland"). The musicianship are on a high level from all involved and some of the assets are the percussive ("tribal") approach to drumming, the many different lead guitar effects and melodies, and Adam Agius skilled and commanding vocal performance. "Austral Alien" also features a powerful, clear, and professional sounding production, which suits the music perfectly, so all in all itīs a high quality release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#149284)
Posted Tuesday, November 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
lucas
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Alchemist is a metal band that mixes influences from industrial metal scene (alternance of clear and harsh vocals on some tracks, in the vein of Fear Factory, vocals reminiscent of Pitch Shifter's earlier efforts), Killing Joke at the time of 'Extremities, dirt and various repressed emotions' (the vocalist is also clearly influenced by Jaz Coleman), and stoner rock in the style of Queens of the Stone Age. I f we dig deeper, we can also find some cold-wave influences (Siouxsie and the Banshees or the more recent Editors). The music deals with harsh vocals (Killing Joke-type) alterned with clear vocals, excellent overall drumming without overabundance of time changes but with enough diversity to keep the listener interested. Keyboards are also present to support the sci-fi themes of the songs. Overall, this is a good album but 3 stars seems to be the most appropriate rating as this is not a prog album per se.

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Send comments to lucas (BETA) | Report this review (#214369)
Posted Friday, May 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
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Prog Metal Team
4 stars Next chapter on the speedway to the galaxy. Austal Alian is another enjoyable album from Alchemist. Due to the focus on tight playing and fast riotous rhythms, the album has a slightly more industrial feel then its predecessors. But as the songs are strong as ever and the vocals keep their distinctive diversity, there's still enough to please a metal endorsing prog fan here. Alpha Cappella Nova Vega is the high point and might even serve as a perfect introduction to this band. With its fine echo laden guitar strumming, hypnotizing mantra and steadily building crescendo, the song is immediately accessible. The remainder of the album is right up to the same height but might take you a bit more time to digest.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#237698)
Posted Sunday, September 06, 2009 | Review Permalink

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