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Alchemists - Chapter One

Chapter One
by Mark Machlay at 28 April 2020, 12:06 AM

ALCHEMISTS is a progressive metal/djent band from Lausanne, Sweden formed in 2018. They have released their full-length debut on March 27, 2020 entitled “Chapter One Love”. The band is comprised of Marc Chevalley on guitar, Julen Ibarrola on vocals, Yoann Maillard on bass and Thomas Giroud on drums. The music is a mix of many styles such as death metal, progressive metal, hardcore genres and especially djent. Speaking candidly about the album, guitarist Chevalley admits it, “took us two years to complete. The band was founded by different members of Swiss bands including MAKE ME A DONUT, BURIED SKIES, and PATH OF DESOLATION and the whole process of collaboration with the greatest network of our network with whom we used to work and were interest in taking part of this project.” Gronnier is doing double duty for the band, handling both the drums and production. The albums even features guest vocal work from Randy Schaler of VOICE OF RUIN and PHILIPPE CHARNY from KADINJA. Chevalley says that “they have very specific roles that fit perfectly to the tracks.”

Their sound is more djent and hardcore than progressive but they certainly have elements. Much of their odd-time and rhythm ideas conjure up images of fellow Swedes MESHUGGAH and VILDHJARTA while their more progressive elements – clean vocals, heavier use of synth and ethereal, introspective sections – are closer in style to American band PERIPHERY. Unfortunately, they lean too much into the chugging, djent, and dissonant guitars and more hardcore and death metal vocal stylings that they run the risk of not appealing to the more progressive minded metals fans. While they have moments in the first several tracks – such as “Flammel”’s eerie, cinematic opening, “Arya” and “Satyre From Hubris”’s shamanic and cleaner vocal delivery, as well as the entirety of 80s synth laden instrumental track Venus On Fyre – they don’t really display much progressive tendencies beyond the odd-time and frantic rhythms that most progressive bands employ.

However, final track “About Amber” is really quite magical and deserves to have the lengthiest track time on the album. It starts with an almost jaunty, possibly major sounding synth before crushing djent guitar riffs blast through. But the mood is never quite settled, weaving through ethereal soaring clean vocal and guitar passages while building back to the crushing guitars and balancing back and forth between these two moods, it creates a creative, though possibly uneven majesty. If you enjoy more progressive djent bands like PERIPHERY you may come away a little disappointed by this release. But there is much for the math rock enthusiasts to love here and I would recommend if for those who love the general dissonance and lack of consistent head-banging rhythm you get from MESHUGGAH.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Flamel
2. Arya
3. Satyre From Hubris
4. Osvominae
5. Venus On Fyre
6. Oma Trees
7. Frontiere
8. About Amber
Marc Chevalley – Guitar
Julen Ibarrola – Vocals
Yoann Maillard – Bass
Thomas Giroud – Drums
Record Label: Tenacity Music


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Edited 08 February 2023

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