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