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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.   Substance for Shadow
  3.   Speed of Darkness
  4.   Abstraction
  5.   Modern Slavery
  6.   Purple
  7.   Backward Journey
  8.   Soul Return
  9.   Single Sided
  10.   First Contact
  11.   Tide in, Mind Out
  12.   Unfocused
  13.   Collage Pt. 1: Sunrise
  14.   Spiritechnology
  15.   Alpha Cappella Nova Vega
  16.   Evilive
  17.   Yoni Kunda
  18.   Imagination Flower
  19.   Jar of Kingdom
  20.   Alchemist: III. Conciliation
  21.   Chinese Whispers
  22.   CommunicHate
  23.   Eve of the War
  24.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 1: The Bio Approach
  25.   My Animated Truth
  26.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 3: Warring Tribes/Eventual Demise
  27.   Found
  28.   Waiting for the Sun
  29.   Worlds Within Worlds
  30.   Evolution Trilogy, Pt. 2: Rampant Macro Life
  31.   Mirror of your Stupidity
  32.   Muse IV. (Evilcrusher)
  33.   Eclectic
  34.   Degenerative Breeding
  35.   Nothing to Explain
  36.   Surreality
  37.   Quintessential
  38.   God Shaped Hole
  39.   Nature on a Leash
  40.   Anticipation of a High
  41.   Forgive us
  42.   My inner Demons
  43.   Dancing to Life
  44.   Grasp at Air
  45.   Lunation
  46.   Letter to the Future
  47.   Matzik
  48.   Tongues & Knives
  49.   Great Southern Wasteland
  50.   Collage Pt. 2: Popeye The Pimp
  51.   Solarburn
  52.   Nothing in No Time
  53.   Alchemist: II. Return
  54.   Daimonion
  55.   Blackout
  56.   Escape from the Black Hole
  57.   Shell
  58.   Austral Spectrum
  59.   Wrapped in Guilt
  60.   Enhancing Enigma
  61.   Who ctreated God
  62.   Weapon of Mass Creation
  63.   Speed of Life
  64.   Brumal
  65.   Garden of Eroticism
  66.   Grief Barrier
  67.   Alchemist: I. Damnation
  68.   Road to Ubar
  69.   Older Than the Ancients
  70.   Cleaning out the Closet
  71.   Epsilon
  72.   New Beginning
  73.   Dead Souls on the Wings of Butterflies
  74.   Closed Chapter
  75.   Point of No Return
  76.   Listen To Yitzhak
  77.   Beyond Genesis
  78.   Meduza
  79.   Clot
  80.   Staying Conscious
  81.   Paisley Bieurr
  82.   Insomnia Intro
  83.   Carved in Stone
  84.   Double Trouble 2004
  85.   Live at the Amphitheatre
  86.   Turn It Up
  87.   Marathon
  88.   Shootem Up Prelude
  89.   Shootem Up, Ot. 2/Gotcha
  90.   Pass Code
  91.   Letting Go
  92.   Fuego
  93.   In With the Drama King
  94.   When It Comes to the Beef
  95.   U Know the Ratio
  96.   3 Minds Combined
  97.   One Never Knows
  98.   Tick Tock
  99.   The Illeest
  100.   My Priorities by Prodigy
  101.   Respect My Gangster by Prodigy
  102.   Stalking Cap
  103.   Grasp the Air
  104.   Tribal Tension
  105.   Rock Boogie