The amount of extreme metal releases coming out per year is probably larger now than it has ever been in the history of recorded music. The time when you could follow everything, or at least the vast majority of it, is long since gone. The quality of the releases is also constantly improving. Bands play better, sound better and the rest of the little imperfections will be fixed by modern recording technology on the way. This all improves the overall quality of the music, but also makes bands to stand more or less in the same line, all of them. Therefore the big question all the aware bands are thinking of right now (or at least they should be!) is how to stand out from the vast majority. how to make a difference and most of all, how to push the boundaries of the music a bit further. After all, that has been the original point of all things extreme and progressive in music, to find a new angle, defy the rules and challenge the norm.
Germany’s Alkaloid have chosen to unleash their potential for cross-over to do just that. They have harnessed the supreme musicality that lies within this particular line-up (including current or former members of Obscura, Blotted Science, Hate Eternal, Dark Fortress, Necrophagist, Spawn of Possession, Defeated Sanity and Aborted to name a impressive few) to actually push things over the edge of all the comfort zones. To toss it all over the cliff and have a good laugh while doing so.
While technical death metal today is a musical phenomenon that can create a somewhat stereotypical audio image, even just by mentioning the name of the genre alone. (You know, all those moaning fretless basses, extensive leads, nifty time-signatures and riffs that utilize most of the fretboard in one pattern alone…), it has actually been one of the most pleasant surprises of the year to see that the sophomore Alkaloid album “Liquid Anatomy” is defying all preconceptions to the fullest. When an extreme death metal release opens up with a riff not too far away from “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes, it is bound to leave a metal fan bewildered for sure, yet in this case, astonishment is often followed by zest and finally with enchantment, so a little shock through the system will certainly do and is recommendable even. Therefore, getting adventurous with the concept and actually living up to the word ‘progressive’ should be greeted with appreciation.
And in this lies the big trick of the whole album. What makes “Liquid Anatomy” the technical death metal gem and one of the highlights of the year, is definitely its power to merge two separate musical worlds into one by thinking big and doing the unexpected. There is lots of the before mentioned Yes included, but also even the odd semi-reggae sway of The Police can be heard. It is all matched up with some of the heaviest riffs you are bound to hear all year long, owing a lot to Pestilence, Morbid Angel and even a bit to Gojira. There are also moments in here that would make Devin Townsend proud (or envious, not quite sure) as well. This may sound a bit like a confusing mix of influences, but what sets Alkaloid in 2018 apart from almost anybody else, is their ability to make it all make sense! They take familiar musical elements, but mix them up in a completely new running order to create a novel structure that challenges everything we have heard so far. Harmonic, intelligent, and captivating, yet abrasively heavy in the very next second. Now THAT, folks, is extreme music!!
“Liquid Anatomy” is an album that needs to be heard to be believed. There are highly progressive numbers like “Kernel Panic”, “Azagthoth” and “Chaos Theory and Practice” in there, but also bulldozering tractorisms like “As Decreed by Laws Unwritten” to match them. There is no point in doing a further autopsy of the musical anatomy of this release, as mere words do not do any justice to it. I simply recommend you to pay attention and give it a spin. You do not need to love this album, but it is highly recommended you take a listen as it is one of the very few and exciting musical final frontiers, expeditions if you like, going on in the global musical scene of 2018.
This is the ultimate progressive music of our times. Far from safe and all about breaking the rules.
Find this one right here! Highly recommended that you do!