Alkemyst - Meeting in the Mist
Nuclear Blast
Progressive Power Metal
10 songs (60:30)
Release year: 2003
Alkemyst, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jay
Surprise of the month

If you like the progressive stylings of Symphony X or Joe Satriani and the power metal of Blind Guardian or Kamelot, Alkemyst is your band. This eclectic mix of prog and power fleshes out something truly wonderful. It’s a terrific debut album and one that the prog scene should watch very closely. These young Frenchmen are going to ascend to the pinnacle of what their genre has to offer them. This album really screams out “Listen to me for I am good!” It is a pleasant surprise for the end of summer.

The first thing you’ll notice are the drums. They’re pure metal but what I appreciated was the tuning. The drums produce quite high-pitched sounds; almost like timbales. It adds a touch that other bands lack and sets them out ahead from the get go. Several songs start off with or feature prominent drum solos. Each sound can be perfectly heard and nothing gets lost in the mix. Progressive drumming should sound like this. The drums also compliment the power influences well. The double bass serves perfectly to develop the galloping atmosphere that power metal needs to exist. Michael Romeo would be happy with the guitar sound for its very similar to the tuning on The Odyssey. In fact, the only weak part of the band are the main vocals. Vocalist Ramon’s voice can be a bit thin at times and it doesn’t have the richness of a Hansi Kursch or Ronnie James Dio. The chorus vocals lag a bit at times. They need more of a backing with substantive voices. It’s great to sign high and operatic but choruses need to be forceful.

Up to Heaven’s Gate” is a mind-boggling prog masterpiece with bass and guitar solos that drive you wild with wizardry. The power influences are toned down somewhat except for the double bass. If you want power check out “Empty Skies,” an upbeat and slightly ominous in theme track. It is reminiscent of several songs on Dawn of Victory. This track does have some of the best soloing on the record. The vocals are the best on the album here. Lower register notes seem to leave more of a lasting impression. “Still Alive” is what the band is about. Making amazingly kickass music that excites us to no end. This is the quintessential opener song. The tempo of power with the guitar and drum work of prog. The vocals help build the case for power as well. The Celtic influenced solo rules the day. The drum intro gets us going with those greatly tuned toms. Overall, this is the kickass song of the album and it deserves a gushing write up.

The “Nameless Son” epic ends the album. Nearly 20 minutes long and full of twists and turns, it is an epic that vaults Alkemyst up there with the gods of prog. It is easy to envision these talented lads touring with the likes of Symphony X or Fate’s Warning. However, could we expect less from Finnish production? These guys recorded at Finnvox, which seems to be pumping out good metal by the barrel as we’ve seen recently. There are slight nuances in the music that makes it reminiscent of the soaring and distinctly Finnish sound. An exemplar is “Hold on to Your Dreams” which is a killer song. Haunting keys and reggae influences abound on this truly progressive masterpiece that soars among other bands.

This album has won over people with only a few seconds of listening. Alkemyst have established themselves and Nuclear Blast seem to have picked another winner. In with the new school of progressive music and the new power professionals.

Killing Songs :
Still Alive, Empty Skies, Hold on to Your Dreams
Jay quoted 91 / 100
Chris quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Alkemyst that we have reviewed:
Alkemyst - Through Painful Lanes reviewed by Jerrol and quoted 94 / 100
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