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TRACK LIST: 1. Underwater 6:08 2. Turtle Soup 5:56 3. On the Very Day 5:07 4. Sick Seekers 6:28 5. Leaving Future I 2:46 6. Leaving Future II 6:18 7. Within My Prism 6:32 8. First Person Dreamer 5:25 9. Different Looks 5:21 10. Inner Pulse 5:24 11. My Eyes 8:00 All music & lyrics: by Budynek. Arrangements: by Alkemy. LINE-UP: Aurelien Budynek - guitars; lead vocals Philippe Sifre - basses; backing vocals Lionel Bertrand - drums & percussion Aurelie Martin - keyboards Produced by Alkemy. Engineered by Budynek.
Prolusion. ALKEMY was formed in Bordeaux, France, in 2000, and "Da 63 Project" is their first official release. They also have a 7-track demo "Stockholm Syndrome" from 2001. I haven't heard it, but I think it is possible that some of the songs from there are present on this album, too.
Synopsis. Archetypes: Progressive Rock and Hard Rock. Benefactor(s): uncertain. Creeds: Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Prog-Metal. Alkemy brings together a few different styles, bravely and effectively combining them with each other, at least in most cases. Whatever one may say, their sound is firmly rooted in the second half of the seventies. I can suppose with a high degree of certainty that the band has no idea of what Black Sabbath's "Never Say Die" (1978) is about. Nevertheless, the structure of most of the guitar riffs and piano passages here have rather much in common with those on the very first album representing a union of Prog-Metal and Jazz-Fusion. This factor becomes clearly evident after multiple spins of these albums and is especially obvious on each of the three instrumentals: Turtle Soup, Leaving Future-I, and Inner Pulse (2, 5, & 10), and also on the songs On the Very Day, Sick Seekers, and My Eyes (3, 4, & 11). No, there are no derivations or direct traces of anyone's influences on "Da 63 Project"! As you know, though, the ideas are in the air, and it is hardly possible in general to avoid all of the artifacts that are forever stamped in the world's information channels. The album's opener, Underwater, and Different Looks (9) are a bit more straightforward and, consequently, less diverse and complex than the other tracks. While the Jazz-Fusion-related parts on these (and they concern only independently played instrumental arrangements in this case) are practically as inventive and diverse as those on the aforementioned compositions, the heavy ingredient is prevalent here and consists of textures typical for a classic Hard Rock. The remaining three songs: Leaving Future-II, Within My Prism, and First Person Dreamer (6, 7, & 8) are rather noticeably different from the rest of the material, which is manifested by removing improvisations in favor of composed solos and the weight of the overall sound. Both complex and hypnotic, these three possess an almost physically perceptible magnetism and are just monumental compositions in general. The music is a truly efficient confluence of progressive Cathedral Metal and Symphonic Art-Rock and is notable for a pronounced dramatics, especially in the vocals that, by the way, are excellent. Sick Seekers and Leaving Future-I (4 & 5) are marked with a touch of magic, too. It turns out that the five best tracks here are located straight at the core of the album and, thus, are the real centerpieces.
Conclusion. Some stylistic inconsistencies of "Da 63 Project", and above all I imply the presence of two Hard Rock-related numbers here, doesn't mar the overall impression that the has album made on me. It just shows that the young band is still searching for different ways of further developing their music. Alkemy's debut is one of the best albums I have reviewed for this update.
VM: June 23, 2004
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