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4 stars When I first heard of Alchemist I was surprised about the combination of genres their music represented. Therefore I put much enthusiasm in the listening process and i have to admit that it payed of. The album features a hardcore root embodied by the drums and general rhythm aspects, fronted by semi-aggressive guitar riffs and a disturbing vocals interpreted ,also, in a hardcore style. The music is quite harmonic and beyond what many death metal band achieve nowadays. The production is very good and the sound has a high quality standard that not many stages can reproduce , which is why i am skeptic when it comes to live performances..however i have never seen an Alchemist live performance so I may be wrong. Obviously there is a new style of playing the guitar which focuses on it's psychedelic "capacities". The band that , in my opinion, defined this ,let's say, new level in guitar playing, is Katatonia on their 2006 record entitled "The Great Cold Distance". Like "Tripsis", Katatonia's album has a typical sound for the solo guitar which focuses on atmosphere rather than melody. What is so special than about Alchemist from this point of view? Well, the Australians play this style on a hardcore background and , I have to admit, this is one of the strangest musical experiments I have ever heard. Last, but not least, "Tripsis" has abig minus because all the songs sound alike which is not a very progressive thing at all. I am thrilled about this album and I believe it is one of the best releases of 2007.
Report this review (#140012)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Tripsis" is the 6th full-length studio album by Australian metal act Alchemist. The album was released in August 2007 through Chatterbox Records in the bandīs homeland and through Relapse Records worldwide (pre-orders to Relapse Records originally included a free copy of Alchemistīs previous album, "Austral Alien (2003)"). Alchemist was founded in 1987 and have long been one of the most prolific acts on the Australian extreme metal scene.

The music on "Tripsis" has changed a bit since "Austral Alien (2003)" becoming a bit faster/more busy (especially the drumming by Rodney Holder which is really energetic on this album) and more aggressive. How the music sounds is still hard to describe, as Alchemist are generally a very eclectic sounding act, but an exotic combination of Prong (Adam Agius vocals are very similar to the way Tommy Victor sounds) and Killing Joke with a few nods towards the darkest releases by The Cure isnīt completely wrong. Take a listen to the opening minute of "Nothing in No Time" for an example of the latter influence. It reminds me of some of the guitar work on "Pornography (1982)". I guess you can call it industrial/thrash metal with a few nods towards goth rock.

The musicianship on the album is on a high level. Itīs a treat how the two guitarists compliment each other with one playing distorted rhythmic riffs and the other playing less distorted and atmospheric parts. As mentioned the rhythm section is really busy on this album and they provide the music with great energy. Adam Agius might not be the most varied vocalist, but his raw barks are delivered in a convincing fashion and he actually successfully gets away with singing a couple of clean parts too. One other thing worth mentioning are the samples which are handled by Nick Wall. They are not dominant, but more used as background atmosphere enhancers and along with the use of keyboards create a "wall of sound" listening experience. Such an experience is only pleasant with a suiting sound production where you can hear whatīs going on, and thatīs fortunately the case with the sound production on "Tripsis", which is professional, clear, and powerful.

Overall "Tripsis" is an album that reeks class. Intriguing songwriting, excellent musicianship and a powerful sound production to boot. A 4 star (80%) rating is not a star too much.

Report this review (#152902)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Alchemist continues to release top quality metal albums in a time where 99% of all metal releases are complete dross. I bet there's more then hundred metal releases every month so claiming one percent is good might even be too optimistic. But anyway, Alchemist reside in the top of the genre. Unfortunately not in popularity though. I think this might be part of the reason why they attempted a much more metalized industrial approach on Tripsis: short and aggressive tracks, hoarse singing only and, unfortunately, less diversity in the song writing.

It seems to be really very difficult these days to find a metal band that does not keep repeating their one trick over the course of an entire album. And Alchemist has fallen in the same trap on this album. All songs are still pretty good but I'm exhausted by the time the album gets halfway. It gets me really worried about the next album. Will also the subtly layered guitars have to go in favour of a typical metal riff-fest?

Let's hope not. That they may find their way back into the more progressive galaxies they used to hike to a few albums back. First half of the album is 4 stars, second half 3 stars.

Report this review (#237699)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Alchemist still remains among the top metal bands out there. However, as seen with their previous release Austral Alien, Alchemist seems to have fallen into a trap of producing the same song over and over again.

Don't get me wrong. The musicianship here is still top notch. However, I feel as if I am hearing the same song again and again. The only songs that stand out in my head are Nothing in no Time and God Shaped Hole. The others I could not determine if you played me a random clip of it.

However, this is still some great and heavy music. I would much rather listen to this than any offering that Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, or As I Lay Dying. Even though they sound the same for the most part, they are still top quality songs and none of them are terrible or leaving you empty inside.

Without a doubt, those who were expecting another Spiritech or Organasm will likely be disappointed. However, those coming to it simply to rock their head off, will enjoy it.

Report this review (#603114)
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | Review Permalink

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