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Alchemist - Spiritech CD (album) cover

SPIRITECH

Alchemist

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.19 | 33 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
5 stars If you think that a prog band should have at least one member dressed in a long cape, and/or feature a keyboard player going tweedeledoo on his organ, or should be all about album side long tracks with lots of guitar solos and/or weird mathematics in the time signature area, then you can stop reading this review right away and start doing more interesting things like preparing a meal for your beloved. If however, your prog rock can be a no-nonsense metal attack from outer space, embedding influences from many musical dark forces, you better bare with me as Alchemist might be just the band for you!

Ok, now that we have the non believers out of the way, let's get to the point. After two inconspicuous death metal albums, Alchemist took a drastic turn towards a more diverse musical idiom and delivered their most varied, most progressive and best album to date. On Spiritech they play a brutal, intense but intelligent take on space metal. The music is highly eclectic and can be traced back to many sources with a good balance between atmosphere, melody and power.

First of all Voivod comes to mind, somewhere between the scourging fury of Dimension Hatross and their Floyd covers Astronomy Domine and Nile Song That leads to a second obvious influence: Pink Floyd from the 60's. The melodies are very psychedelic and eastern tinged, complete with tribal drumming and even featuring a chilling rendition of the Careful With That Axe Eugene scream by their excellent vocalist.

Talking about the vocalist, he's quite a versatile chap, next to the mentioned reproduction of Eugene, he varies between a low register clean voice, a hoarse 90's style Killing Joke bellowing and coarse but soulful metal grunts in the vein of Entombed (or Motorhead if the Entombed reference would scare you). Of course, the first time you will miss these subtle differences but repeated listens reveal his range!

Now, Killing Joke you say? What kind of prog is that? None at all of course. As I mentioned somewhere before, the band takes influences from many sources: metal obviously, psychedelic/space/prog or whatever you name it, ethnic influences and also new wave. Especially the first generation gothic bands that used haunted atmospheres and hypnotizing tribal drumming, like Bauhaus, Killing Joke and Siouxsie are in the melting point.

I've been longwinded enough so I will abstain from track by track reviewing. They are all excellent anyway. Instead I have got one more argument to make. Why 5 stars? Well to start with, you must have guessed I deem this band very high. Their unique approach to space rock combined with their energy and song skills makes them one of my favourite bands of the millennium era years. All of their albums from Spiritech onwards are 4 stars. This one gets one on top because it is their best. A most diverse release with a prominent prog dose.

A sad note to conclude: This album is not available for sale anymore! So why did I bother you for so long? Well you can find most of the songs back on a compilation album called 'Embryonics 90-98'. I'll be delighted though if it sees a full re-release but I'm afraid it may be not commercial enough for that. Thanks for you patient indulgence and give them a shot!

Bonnek | 5/5 |

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