Come forth and experience the world's "most extreme prog metal band!" Alkaloid is a metal juggernaut to behold with many a monumental name falling under it's pedigree. To be more specific, the full lineup is Christian Muenzner (Spawn of Possession, Ex-Obscura, Ex-Necrophagist), Hannes Grossmann (Blotted Science, Ex-Obscura, Ex-Necrophagist), Danny Tunker (Aborted, Ex-God Dethroned), Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura, Noneuclid), and Morean (Dark Fortress, Noneuclid). It doesn't get much stronger than that. And that's precisely why this is arguably one of the most, if not the most exciting metal project to have emerged this year.
Their new album, "The Malkuth Grimoire", dropped about a month back, marking the band's official debut. And to say it's a debut with substance might actually be an understatement. The album runs with a total of twelve tracks clocking in at approximately 70+ minutes. And through that run time, they manage to bend genres and merge so many different influences into one unholy matrimony. At a base level, you could call it Progressive Metal but it doesn't take much digging to find traces of Death Metal (shocker there, right?), Technical Metal, Black Metal, Classical stylings and so on.
If one were to call Alkaloid "easy listening", I'd probably laugh in their face and walk away. Dynamic complexity could be considered the cornerstone of what this band does. You ought to expect paradigm shifts and complicated riffs when you're going into this. Not to mention a lengthy sit or three paired with a great deal of concentration. However, the rewards that can be harvested from "The Malkuth Grimoire" are bountiful and wide in scope. Just as the album title suggests, there is plenty of mystery and magic to come across through this record. Malkuth translates to "Kingdom" while Grimoire is a reference to a book of magic.
Running through the album, you may pick up some Tool and Opeth vibes matched with the obvious Obscura and Necrophagist moments and something you haven't quite heard before. This is apparent from the very beginning as "Carbon Phrases" fades into existence only to end up crushing your own before soothing your remains. It does a great job of setting the tone for the album and also acted as the premiere single for Alkaloid.
Every single track on "The Malkuth Grimoire" has something precious to offer. Following the 9 minute opener strikes another 9 minute epic in "From a Hadron Machinist". The track unfolds more excellent string and percussion work, showing the band's technical merits. "Cthulhu" makes his presence known immediately with a massive, crushing stomp. He brings one of the most interesting and inventive riffs I've heard in awhile. "Alter Magnitudes" is a fast-paced shred fest for all musicians involved. "Orgonism" is just beautifully done through and through with some incredibly original clean vocals and a fascinating guitar solo amongst other thrills. Hell, my girlfriend even liked it!
The album then moves through a four part space odyssey called "Dyson Sphere" which truly functions on another level from "Mining the Oorth Cloud" to "The God Oven" and the conclusion "Sol Omega". The sheer scale that these four tracks cover is beyond impressive as they bring you across light years of apocalyptic destruction and rebirth.
The title track brings down a furious hammer, possibly as one of the heaviest tracks on the experience just before sending you off into something akin to a psychedelic void. "C-Value Enigma" brings some unreal virtuoso-esque guitar playing all by it's lonesome. It really works well to set the tone for "The Malkuth Grimoire's" grand finale, "Funeral For a Continent". That final addition to the album is a trip of it's own, diligently closing out a masterful listening experience.
Criticisms? I have none. "The Malkuth Grimoire" took all of my expectations and ground them to dust. This album was made "To be perfect. Be the architect. To protect your realm of dreams." And it manages to do just that, burning images into the imagination and bringing you alone from a crowd for one insane musical journey. Any and all complaints directed towards such an album would have to be personal or petty.
In the end, it's beyond safe to say Alkaloid has triumphed through the release of their debut album. This might just be some of the best music you end up hearing all year. And as such, it has earned itself a rare 10 // 10 rating. It's highly recommended you give the greats a listen for yourself. Especially considering that "The Malkuth Grimoire" is streaming through Bandcamp in its entirety! Show Alkaloid your support if you enjoy the music. It's beyond deserved.