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