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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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Top Songs by

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

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