Alchem — Viaggio al Centro della Terra
(Hellbones, 2018, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-12-04
I have been anticipating listening to this new album by Italian band Alchem, fully expecting classic spooky and gothic Italian progressive music based on the witch queen, ravens, and cheetah on the cover art. That was an honest mistake as their website implies their name Alchem is short for The Alchemy of Dark Art and the rotating slide show contains appropriately gothic images, especially photos of lead singer Annalisa Belli with raven wings. Their music does have a gothic element to it, but is primarily aggressive metal prog. Alchem has been around since 2001, starting with Annalisa (vocals) and Pierpaolo Capuano (guitar). They recorded a few demos over the years, added Paolo Tempesta (bass), and Massimlliano Fiocco (drums), and released what I believe is their debut album Viaggio al Centrol della Terra (Journey to the Center of the Earth) in 2018, a long time coming. The ten tracks on Viaggio show a bit of experimentation with incorporating effects and found sounds (creaking doors, rain, thunder, claxons, bird song, etc.) on a number of songs, classic melodic progressive guitar and vocal harmonies, and mournful violin along with Pierpaolo’s aggressive metal guitar. The title track is interesting. It begins with machines revving up, beeps, and a countdown leading a rocket blasting off into space instead of tunneling underground. The ensuing music alternates between passages of energetic metal prog and ambient inventive moments of sepulchral organ riffing, Mellotron, flute, string synths, and wordless vocals. Though not what I was expecting, Alchem does provide a listening experience sure to please the avid prog metal head.
Related artist(s): Alchem
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