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Alkimya - The Other Side CD (album) cover

THE OTHER SIDE

Alkimya

Progressive Metal


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J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Excellent Dream Theater clones.

Alkimya is one of those bands that are excellent musically. For a debut album this is exceptional prog metal, and I really hope to see more from this band in the future. They show their potential in so many ways, but the lack of originality and a few other flaws completely kill this album.

Well, it doesn't completely kill the experience. This is filled with memorable melodies, and the musicians clearly have what it takes to make an excellent progressive metal album. The songwriting is very professional, and the musicians definitely know what they're doing. The only problem is that they still haven't developed their sound yet. I'm sure that over time Alkimya will get their own developed sound, but that has not happened yet. When I listen to this album I might as well be listening to Awake-era Dream Theater without James LaBrie.

I swear, it always sounds like they are trying to be Dream Theater. I'll admit that there are a ton of DT clones out there. The problem with many of these "clones" is that they really don't have any potential at all. That is not the case with Alkimya! They have what it takes to be excellent. They write an album filled with excellent melodies and riffs, but they just don't have their own sound that will allow them to stand out in the crowded prog metal genre.

With all of that said, we have a prog metal-by numbers album here that is fairly enjoyable. This doesn't do anything original or groundbreaking, but for what it is, it's an enjoyable album. I'll explain all of the songs in more detail next:

The Music:

"The Gate of Dreams"- The opening song starts with some siren sound effects, followed by a drum riff. The whole band comes in on a riff, using the same exact keyboard sound Kevin Moore frequently used on Awake! Of course, this might as well be Dream Theater without LaBrie, but it is a very memorable song. The chorus has a captivating vocal melody, and I love some of the riffs on this song. It has some excellent progressions between sections, and I love the guitar solo near the end. An excellent way to open the album, but you can probably guess what I would complain about here.

"Fatal Attraction"- It opens up with something that is different from the cloning of Awake-era DT. This time it sounds like Images & Words! After a pleasant enough riff we have a nice more metal-orientated section with a vocal melody that I swear to God sounds like the verse of Pull Me Under. Anyway, it has some excellent melodies during the chorus, and I love the contrast between the multiple vocal melodies and guitar riffs.

"Martyr Child"- It opens up with some nice organ chords and guitar riffs. It starts out pretty heavy, but turns into a pretty beautiful song (that of course sounds like DT). It's got some nice piano chords, and some wonderful vocals. It progresses back into a great vocal melody. Definitely one of the best on the album.

"Hot Winter Cold Summer"- Probably the weakest song on the album. It opens up with some guitar and synth chords, and isn't memorable at all. It features some good build-ups, and the main chorus is pretty good. I like the instrumental section of this song.

"Diva's Requiem"- A dark and melodic opening begins the song. It then has some piano chords with some pleasant vocal melodies. Heavier guitar riffs soon enter and serve as a bridge, as it soon progresses back into the main vocal melody. A pretty good song.

"Forgotten People"- A VERY Dream Theater sounding opening kicks the song off, but it then is followed by a pretty forgettable vocal line. At around 2 minutes in some beautiful piano chords enter. It builds from there, and I absolutely love this part. It has a great guitar solo that builds excellently into the opening section. Possibly the best song.

"The Other Side, Pt. 1"- This opens up with some light guitars and synths (very Images & Words sounding). The vocals come in, and after a few verses we have an emotional guitar solo. It becomes a more upbeat song after the vocals come back in, and are followed by a good synth solo. It still contains the Dream Theater sound throughout the rest of the song, but it is a great opening to the epic.

"The Other Side, Pt. 2"- After the piano ending of Part One, it continues into the beginning of Part 2. It builds well into a good guitar solo that builds excellent. The vocal performance at the end is incredible, and it show's Pierre Placines' skills. It ends with the great piano chords it started with. A truly beautiful song.

"The Other Side, Pt.3"- This starts with guitars and electric pianos with some melodies that make for a great opening. The vocals soon come in. It really isn't until the ending of the song that it really is good, and I actually find this to be a disappointing end to what would be an otherwise great epic.

"Kashmir"- I wish they wouldn't have included this, because it does not do the song any justice at all. They do an okay job, but I much prefer the original.

The bonus track is poor, and really isn't worth commenting on.

I have a lot of hope in this band. They have the songwriting skills and the musicianship to be a great band. And when (if) they develop their own sound I think they could succeed. But since that has not yet happened, we have a "Dream Theater clone" sitting around here. As I conclude this review, I'm still not sure what I will give it. It would be worth about a 3.5 musically, and because of the lack of originality I would drop a point, and give The Other Side a 2.5. So now I must choose between a 2 and a 3. Since this album is fairly enjoyable, I will round up to a 3, but please don't let me down, Alkimya!

3 stars.

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Posted Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Review Permalink

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