Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Alchemist - Tripsis (2007)

Back in the year of our Dark Lord 2003, Austral Alien fired out of the land down under and made a rather impressive impact above the equator. With Relapse pre-orders coming with a free copy of said album, it appears that Alchemist are hoping to build upon this success with follow up Tripsis.

Alchemist really are one of few bands deserving of the 'avante-garde' tag. However, the gosssamer production, tribal drumming, spacey keyboards and ethnic flair have been slowly phased out of the foreground over the years. That isn't to say that this is a straightforward album by any means, but it contains an air of focused aggression and has lost some of the psychedelic edge. It does remain in some places however, take for instance the clean strummed echo that introduces 'Nothing In Time'. Vocally there is also a lack of some of the trademark diversity. Rarely clean, they're almost of Jourgenson-esque quality, sans distortion. It is the riff however, that takes centre stage here. It's openers 'Wrapped In Guilt' and 'Tongues and Knives' that really set the tone for the album whole. Riffs piled upon riffs piled upon subtle, barely audible leads and keyboards, all wrapped in a shroud of rapt complexity. But there's no didgeridoo.

It's still Alchemist. But if you're expecting another Organasm or Spiritech you'll come off a little dissappointed. A great album of extreme metal in its own right, but overshadowed by the superiority of its predecessors.


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