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ALCHEMIST
ALCHEMIST
Embryonics
(Relapse Records)
154:42min

Relapse is just a damn cool label: they brought us fantastic bands that broke with all conformity and took Death Metal, Grindcore, Thrash Metal and whatever to new shores. And not only! You can see for yourself that the Relapse guys are really into the bands they have signed and give them the support they deserve. For australian ALCHEMIST that means: a best-of double-CD with 25 songs from their pre-Relapse era in a great package. You get songs from their first demos from 1990 and 91, from their first records "Jar Of Kingdom", "Lunasphere", "Spiritech" and their 1998 release "Eve Of The War". Inside the great booklet you get all covers, lots of band pictures and a commentary to each (!) song by one of the four bandmembers. Very interesting and sometimes quite funny! You cannot get deeper into a band's past! All rounded up with a brilliant artwork by their guitar player Roy Torkington: lots of computer-generated cover flow over our beloved scene nowadays and 80 % of them are just effect-overloaded rubbish! But the "Embryonics" artwork easily invites you to get lost in it by looking for all the details and get dizzled by the strange colors and shapes... a perfect fortaste of their music! If you have never heard of ALCHEMIST before or listened to one of their latest relases "Organasm" and "Austral Alien", the only ones available outside Australia, try to imagine the following: VOIVOD took their sound and effects into the 21st Century, hooked up with some in-between bands like MINDROT, NEUROSIS, AMORPHIS, early FEAR FACTORY and DEAD CAN DANCE took a deep breath from a Cheech & Chong built joint, waited for sunset at the Ayers Rock to jam their songs under an alien-infested and starfilled nightsky with 180 degree panoramic view. Hypnotizing, snake-crushing, digitalized bong-birth-madness! Fascinating! Not all the songs are my of my taste but yet I have to say: this is very special, very original and convincing. I finish this review with a quote from some guy out of the booklet: "In almost twenty years, there is very little territory this band hasn't explored, from Death Metal to electronica, Ambience and tribal rhythms, to extended interludes of PINK FLOYD / ZAPPA-inspired progressive elements." Nothing more to add. www.alchemist.com.au, www.relapse.com.

Tim Klöcker

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