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Review: Alchemy-X - 11:59:59

Label: Unisound Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 45:10
Tracks: 13
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: January 1, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 4/5 (80%) (8 Votes)

11:59:59 is the second Alchemy-X album, and the first with new singer Bob Mitchell (Vyndykator, ex-Attacker.) There's so much variety of this album that I never take it in the same way each time I listen to it, which makes it all the more difficult to review. The album kicks off on a pretty mellow song, a bit too mellow for my personal taste, actually. Bob's vocals on this one are probably the most melodic and soft that he has used (at least in the material I've heard), a complete opposite to his work with Vyndykator. The album has some short interludes (mostly under 30 seconds each) that sometimes have a middle-eastern feeling to them, although sometimes I found more of a Spanish sound to them - weird stuff.

If you like tempo changes, you'll be served with this album, as pretty much every song goes through it all, from mellow acoustic passages to much heavier and faster guitars. The vocals follow accordingly, but it is on the title track that Bob Mitchell really shines, pretty much taking the light away from the instruments and leading the song from beginning to end. The song was the highlight of the promo sampler, and it turns out the same on the full album. Now before you start panicking because of a song that's lead by the vocals, I need to add that there are MANY instrumental passages throughout the album without any vocals whatsoever for at least a couple of minutes, so you'll get your dose of virtuoso playing, from keyboards (by Steve Ratchen, bassist and also a member of Vyndykator) that are mostly used as an accompanying instrument but in a couple of places take the front stage with some very well done piano-like parts. Add to this some excellent guitars where the band's guitarists show their skills and flexibility with some wicked solos and "light" playing that often venture into much heavier and aggressive parts. The drums are also noticeable but kept well in place as to not take the light away from the guitars and vocals.

Describing this album in more details would take a lot more time and put you all to sleep, so I'd rather stop here. :) This new release is more interesting and mature than the band's first album, and should please fans of progressive metal, as well as maybe grab the interest of those who are not usually into prog, such as myself. ;) Check it out.

Track Listing:
  1. Shifting Images
  2. A Kiss Before Dying
  3. Renaissance
  4. The Dance
  5. Penance
  6. Reverie
  7. Interlude
  8. Space Between Walls
  9. Beyond the Veil of Sorrow
  10. Looking Glass Memoirs
  11. 11:59:59
  12. Afterimage
  13. The Dance (Reprise)
Other related information on the site
Review: 11:59:59 (reviewed by Scott Murray)
Review: 11:59:59 Promo Sampler (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: A Delicate Balance (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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