The Pitch: German progressive death metal supergroup Alkaloid (members of Necrophagist, Obscura, Aborted, Dark Fortress, God Dethroned, etc.) return from the critically lauded The Malkuth Grimoire with a new album via Season of Mist.
What I Like: As should be expected from this highly proficient group of trained musicians, Liquid Anatomy is another showcase of raw talent and skill. Every instrument gets its turn to shine, from the (many) epic rock guitar solos to the ever-present, driving bass riffs. The drums are nothing to sneeze at either, with Hannes Grossmann once again adding a supreme level of texture and dynamic range to the band's sound. I'm particularly fond of how all of these instruments gel on the tribal-sounding intro to "Azagthoth," which is also my personal favorite track. Stylistically, the album runs the gamut from Opeth ("Liquid Anatomy") and Devin Townsend to Genesis and Pink Floyd. As a result, there is a broad spectrum of emotion on display. One moment we are bright and hopeful, throwing down some air guitar with "Kernal Panic," the next we're descending down a dark hole of derangement with "As Decreed By Laws Written." It all culminates in the 20 minute "Rise of the Cephalopods" which serves as an appropriately grand finale.
Critiques: I have some issues with the lead single, "Kernal Panic." While I am in love with the bass hook and opening, there are too many clashing playing styles. It you're going to toss classic rock, prog, and death metal together, you need to find ingredients that help them fold together smoothly. In other words, this batch is a little lumpy. The other songs don't suffer as much from this issue, but it does feel less consistent than The Malkuth Grimoire.
The Verdict: Alkaloid is a complex nut to crack, so I don't doubt that further listening may unearth new perspectives. As I stand at this moment, I am certainly impressed with Liquid Anatomy, but ultimately feel that it falls short of its predecessor and also the last Hannes Grossman album. Even so, a decent Alkaloid album is more impressive and interesting than most above-average material from the bulk of bands today. I highly recommend giving it a listen if you're into all forms of progressive music.
Flight's Fav's: Azagoth, In Turmoil's Swirling Reaches, Chaos Theory and Practice
- Review by FlightOfIcarus
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