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   GRAND ALCHEMIST
Intervening Coma-celebration
2002
Sound Riot
http://www.grandalchemist.com


rating: 3/5

1. Faced (Intro)
2. A Nailed Visual Effect
3. Down Again
4. Incurable Longing
5. Approach (Open The Shell)
6. Intervening Coma-celebration
7. Sensemachine
8. Psyche And A Flower To The New      Lifetime
9. Minds Delusion Sleeps For Creation
10. Solemn And Sophisticated
11. Under My Shallow Skin
12. Snap Up The Raw Of Existence

The disc kicks off with an acoustic intro which does not tell the listener what to expect within the next 47 minutes: a varied and rather original sound. Hailing from black metal land Norway, Grand Alchemist have definitely more to offer than the common black metal sound. This is their debut album but the band was founded back in 1995 under the name Morrheim and later changed the name into Grand Alchemist in 1998, so this band has been around for a while.

The band describe themselves as melodic black metal but imho that doesn't give the sound justice. In fact, I don't find it much blackish at all especially because they're not that fast and there are too many other styles blending in. Interesting is that the album does have a symphonic touch (use of strings, piano, flute) and is very electronic/synthetic at the same time. That cannot only be found in different songs on the album but as a combination within single songs which might sound a bit odd but somehow works here ("Approach (Open The Shell)" being a good example).
"A Nailed Visual Effect" does even have an oriental (!) touch to it and also some very melodic leads. A lot of the songs do. Some others carry nice twin guitar parts and the guitarwork as such could sometimes be that of a power metal band as well. Vocals are mostly growls but often come supported by backing vocals which add heaviness and dynamics to the songs. Some clean choirs can also be found.
Catchiest yet not necessarily the most representative song is definitely the titletrack. You will also discover parts that are very much inspired by classical music, in both instrumentation and arrangement. You will also find these parts going over in straight forward rocking parts.
So, from fast parts to atmospheric passages, slight progressive turns to straight forward parts, grim to clean vocals - the album has it all and it's mostly well arranged. Still I sometimes have the impression the band is a little bit lost and confused about all the ideas they have - as if too much is happening at the one time.

Considering that this is only a debut there's hope for more, so I decided to give it strong 3 Morrigans. As far as originality goes this is certainly better than average though. Fans of extreme but still melodic music should give this album a listen.

submitted by Cora 18.01.2003

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