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