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Throughout their decade-plus existence, and despite releasing a string of singularly original and unconventional albums, Australia's Alchemist has remained one of the best-kept secrets in metal. Starting from their modest roots in late-'80s thrash metal, the quartet has developed into a state-of-the-art metal band, combining influences that range from the earliest experiments in '70s progressive rock to the most current trends in extreme metal-- all blended into an improbably seamless and wholly unique style of their own. Formed in Canberra, circa 1987, by Adam Agius (guitars, vocals, keyboards), Alchemist initially looked to bands like Metallica, Voivod, and Coroner for inspiration, opting for a technically proficient thrash style typical of the time. Pretty soon, though, Agius began to experiment with a wider array of musical genres (especially death metal and progressive rock) and incorporating them into the band's extreme metal leanings. Drummer Rodney Holder joined the fold in 1989, and bassist John Bray and guitarist Roy Torkington completed the band's core lineup two years later, by which time Alchemist's demo tapes had won great favor in the local press and scored the fledgling group a deal with Aussie-based Lethal Records. Their oddly titled debut, Jar of Kingdom, emerged in early 1993 (it was later reissued by Shock Records with bonus tracks culled from that 1991 demo) and received instant critical praise for its brash inventiveness; yet it still proved too inaccessible for mainstream metal audiences and suffered from poor distribution overseas to boot. 1995's Lunasphere represented a notable step forward, showing that Alchemist was unafraid of experimenting with their sound, and had quickly learned how to harness their disparate musical influences into a more seamless and organic whole. Still, it too would go largely unnoticed outside Australia, and a European tour with German thrash kings Kreator would be their only significant international showcase that year. Back home in Australia, the band persisted with their evolutionary process, and a third long-player -- 1997's unashamedly eclectic Spiritech -- saw them embracing technology like never before, and arguably achieving a career watermark in the process. Synthesizers, keyboards, and even the occasional sample were added to the mix this time around, yet they never derailed Alchemist's still thoroughly heavy compositions, cooperating with the album's big picture (completed by a loose conceptual discussion about alien mysteries) in ways reminiscent of Rush's or Pink Floyd's best efforts in decades past. 1998's mostly live Eve of the War EP paid tribute to Australian composer Jeff Wayne upon the 20th anniversary of his famous War of the Worlds soundtrack, and a successful Aussie tour followed. Sessions for their fourth album, entitled Organasm, began in early 2000, and resulted in another remarkable statement -- one that could tentatively be described as new age metal, and that introduced Alchemist to a much wider audience when it gained worldwide distribution via Relapse Records a year later. 2003's Austral Alien followed suit in terms of exposure and overall quality by international metal standards, yet proved artistically more predictable and a little tamer than fans had come to expect of Alchemist. The band is taking their time preparing its follow-up, so, in the interim, Relapse compiled Alchemist's always hard-to-find early efforts into 2006's Embryonics 90-98 collection, to help tide fans over while they wait. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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  1.   Song
  2.   Nothing to Explain
  3.   Escape from the Black Hole
  4.   The Change
  5.   Forgive us
  6.   Tongues & Knives
  7.   Epsilon
  8.   Muse II.
  9.   CommunicHate
  10.   Cleaning out the Closet
  11.   Grief Barrier
  12.   I Am a Tree
  13.   Dancing to Life
  14.   Collage Pt. 2: Popeye The Pimp
  15.   Collage Pt. 1: Sunrise
  16.   Brumal
  17.   Muse I.
  18.   Point of No Return
  19.   Purple
  20.   Chinese Whispers
  21.   Nothing Is as It Seems
  22.   Quintessential
  23.   Blackout
  24.   Yoni Kunda
  25.   Lunation
  26.   Enhancing Enigma
  27.   Meduza
  28.   Paisley Bieurr
  29.   Only Lies Need Believers
  30.   Older Than the Ancients
  31.   Alchemist: II. Return
  32.   My inner Demons
  33.   Substance for Shadow
  34.   Nature on a Leash
  35.   Muse VI. - Fear Business
  36.   Tide in, Mind Out
  37.   Road to Ubar
  38.   Listen To Yitzhak
  39.   First Contact
  40.   Muse V. - Metalchemistry
  41.   Great Southern Wasteland
  42.   Degenerative Breeding
  43.   Mirror of your Stupidity
  44.   Muse IV. (Evilcrusher)
  45.   New Beginning
  46.   Rays of Moonlight - Song for Youdrayka II.
  47.   Surreality
  48.   Waiting for the Sun
  49.   Alpha Cappella Nova Vega
  50.   Dead Souls on the Wings of Butterflies
  51.   Hitman-Tresspasser
  52.   Alchemist: I. Damnation
  53.   Evilive
  54.   Soul Return
  55.   Daimonion
  56.   Unfocused
  57.   Follow... If You Wanna
  58.   Garden of Eroticism
  59.   The Killer in My Blood
  60.   Backward Journey
  61.   Who ctreated God
  62.   Speed of Life
  63.   My Life
  64.   Rock Boogie
  65.   Shell
  66.   Closed Chapter
  67.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 1: The Bio Approach
  68.   Riahder - Song for Youdrayka I.
  69.   Spiritechnology
  70.   Wrapped in Guilt
  71.   Speed of Darkness
  72.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 3: Warring Tribes/Eventual Demise
  73.   Solarburn
  74.   Nothing in No Time
  75.   Matzik
  76.   God Shaped Hole
  77.   Beyond Genesis
  78.   Necropolis
  79.   Letter to the Future
  80.   Imagination Flower
  81.   Anticipation of a High
  82.   Grasp at Air
  83.   Godevil
  84.   The Stalker
  85.   Alchemist: III. Conciliation
  86.   Eclectic
  87.   Weapon of Mass Creation
  88.   Clot
  89.   Modern Slavery
  90.   Single Sided
  91.   Worlds Within Worlds
  92.   Dirty Hole
  93.   The Greater Good
  94.   Horror
  95.   Time
  96.   Staying Conscious
  97.   Jar of Kingdom
  98.   Austral Spectrum
  99.   Found
  100.   Abstraction