Wednesday 1 April 2015

Alkaloid - 'The Malkuth Grimoire' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/03/2015
Label: Self Release

‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ CD//DD track listing:

1 Carbon Phrases
2 From a Hadron Machinist
3 Cthulhu
4 Alter Magnitudes
5 Orgonism
Dyson Sphere
6 I. Mining the Oort Cloud
7 II. Assembly
8 III. Kardashev II.1 - The God Oven
9 IV: Sol Omega
10 The Malkuth Grimoire
11 C-Value Enigma
12 Funeral For A Continent

Alkaloid is

Morean (Dark Fortress, Noneuclid) | Vocals, Guitars
Christian Muenzner (Spawn of Possession, Ex­-Obscura, Ex­-Necrophagist) | Guitars
Danny Tunker (Aborted, Ex­-God Dethroned) | Guitars
Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura, Noneuclid)  | Bass
Hannes Grossmann (Blotted Science, Ex­-Obscura, Ex­-Necrophagist) | Drums


Progressive bands seem stuck in a rut these days, what with splitting their time with looking carefully thrown back (so as not to ruin their creases), finding out what is cooler than current technology, and whatever craft is in this month. Admittedly, I may be confusing them with hipsters, however, they do seem to have gotten stuck in a weird spot, what with not really doing leads, a muddy sound, and no real sense of where the album or songs need to go. 

There are exceptions of course, Between the Buried and Me and Becoming the Archetype for example and some of what The Kindred has released, but progressive bands seem to come across as a big blob of aimless complexity for complexity's sake. The album of today's excursion, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’, combines many genres into what a progressive band should seek to be! All hail Alkaloid!

To begin, the album seems divided into two different hemispheres: ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ with very long parts, and ‘Dyson Spheres’, with songs mostly sub 5 minute, but more varied in content. Alkaloid would technically fall into science metal or tech death, but it has much more depth than most offerings in any of those genres. It's almost complex enough to be classified as, just Metal, so you don't offend someone by not including them. You have a band wholly capable of playing anything they wish, a well versed lyric writer who rivals Allegaeon with scientific mumbo jumbo and spacial voodoo, and a kickass no fear attitude when it comes to doing stuff that doesn't seem like it would work on paper, but is executed excellently.

Starting with ‘Carbon Phrases’, these tracks are long and showcase their talents in huge, multi-part formats. This first half of the album is my favorite, just because of the variance; they are multi-faceted well crafted songs, not just well written or sounding, seemingly orchestrated from the dictated notes of Stephen Hawking's fevered wet dreams.

By far my favorite cut is ‘Cthulhu’, the song comes across as a huge monstrous god rising out of the waves to crush the world before it. The guitar is amazing, with frenetic fret work and some hefty chugging. It curls up in the mind of the listener perfectly, especially once the vocalist starts in with his ragged crooning. He goes from a great growl into a more basic droning song voice, and it’s exactly like a cultist with a great production crew. Again, just perfect on the ‘Malkuth’ half, in my opinion, but none of this album is a slouch. 

The second act, ‘Dyson Spheres’, which includes the 4 part titular phrase, is more straightforward. It's very heavy, just a bit shorter in content than what the first half manages to squeeze out in 1-2 songs. You have so many musical touches, however, so it's really no less a treat, just very... involved, aurally. You have to listen to this a few times through to catch most of the wonders on display.  Once you get beyond part IV, the second half really shines even brighter to me. The title track, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’, is exceptionally fast and heavy, it just pummels along the nervous system of the listener, hitting pleasure centers everywhere. My pick here is going to be ‘C-Value Enigma’, because it's been far too long since I have heard a competent bass composition that made me stop and just listen. It really harkens back to what Cliff Burton did on ‘Anesthesia’, but far more complex and very alien. It sounds much more like a piano is playing, and I mean I would be hard pressed at points to say it wasn't a keyed instrument. It's like being in a royal court as Mozart draws back the veil to show the vast eye of some unknowable god. Absolutely monstrous and perfect. Album closer, and the longest slab of majestic metal, ‘Funeral for a Content’, adds a slight power metal side, complete with riffing and shreddery to fill even the oldest of metlaheads with joy and should be a top ten song on ANY end of year list.

In summary then, this album should start every top 5 metal album conversation, and you need to own this. NOW. 

‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ is available here

Words by: Hunter Young

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