Alchemist - _Austral Alien_
(Relapse Records, 2003)
by: Jackie Smit (
Blending various influences into a veritable musical stew is becoming an increasingly common departure point for a lot of modern-day metal bands in the noughties. Truth be told, with the number of acts nicking riffs, beats and ideas from each other with gay abandon these days, it's almost starting to feel as though I'm repeating myself in my reviews; but such is the nature of the beast, and thankfully Australian psychedelic space-metallers Alchemist don't so much steal as tint their sound with the likes of Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad, early U2, and Killing Joke. The end-result is a truly gratifying and atmospheric piece of work, defined by such highlights as "Solarburn", "Letter to the Future" and "Alpha Capella Nova Vega". Never simply the tally of their influences though, Alchemist inject every song on this eleven-track opus with ample doses of undeniable and all-important X-factor, making _Austral Alien_ a thoroughly exciting and adventurous prospect, and quite simply seminal in every sense of the word.
(article published 23/11/2003)
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