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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.   Backward Journey
  3.   Speed of Life
  4.   Older Than the Ancients
  5.   Rock Boogie
  6.   My Animated Truth
  7.   Great Southern Wasteland
  8.   Riahder - Song for Youdrayka I.
  9.   My inner Demons
  10.   Worlds Within Worlds
  11.   Muse V. - Metalchemistry
  12.   Muse VI. - Fear Business
  13.   Brumal
  14.   Tongues & Knives
  15.   Beyond Genesis
  16.   Spiritechnology
  17.   Road to Ubar
  18.   New Beginning
  19.   Necropolis
  20.   Chinese Whispers
  21.   Grasp at Air
  22.   Found
  23.   Evilive
  24.   Meduza
  25.   Closed Chapter
  26.   Imagination Flower
  27.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 1: The Bio Approach
  28.   Follow... If You Wanna
  29.   Dead Souls on the Wings of Butterflies
  30.   Speed of Darkness
  31.   The Killer in My Blood
  32.   Letter to the Future
  33.   Blackout
  34.   Abstraction
  35.   Unfocused
  36.   Matzik
  37.   Clot
  38.   Jar of Kingdom
  39.   Purple
  40.   Point of No Return
  41.   Modern Slavery
  42.   Soul Return
  43.   Cleaning out the Closet
  44.   Nature on a Leash
  45.   Yoni Kunda
  46.   Alchemist: I. Damnation
  47.   Forgive us
  48.   CommunicHate
  49.   The Greater Good
  50.   Nothing Is as It Seems
  51.   Single Sided
  52.   Paisley Bieurr
  53.   Staying Conscious
  54.   Collage Pt. 1: Sunrise
  55.   Mirror of your Stupidity
  56.   Degenerative Breeding
  57.   Solarburn
  58.   Alpha Cappella Nova Vega
  59.   Eclectic
  60.   Muse IV. (Evilcrusher)
  61.   Garden of Eroticism
  62.   Rays of Moonlight - Song for Youdrayka II.
  63.   Alchemist: III. Conciliation
  64.   Waiting for the Sun
  65.   Escape from the Black Hole
  66.   Listen To Yitzhak
  67.   Secret Mystery
  68.   Quintessential
  69.   Enhancing Enigma
  70.   Tide in, Mind Out
  71.   Who ctreated God
  72.   Weapon of Mass Creation
  73.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 3: Warring Tribes/Eventual Demise
  74.   Only Lies Need Believers
  75.   Shell
  76.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 2: Rampant Macro Life
  77.   Anticipation of a High
  78.   Epsilon
  79.   First Contact
  80.   Daimonion
  81.   Wrapped in Guilt
  82.   I Am a Tree
  83.   Austral Spectrum
  84.   Grief Barrier
  85.   Dancing to Life
  86.   Lunation
  87.   Surreality
  88.   Nothing to Explain
  89.   Nothing in No Time
  90.   Substance for Shadow
  91.   Collage Pt. 2: Popeye The Pimp
  92.   Alchemist: II. Return
  93.   Eve of the War
  94.   God Shaped Hole