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