Alkaloid - Liquid Anatomy
Season Of Mist
Progressive Death Metal
8 songs (64' 37")
Release year: 2018
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Andy
Album of the month

Before looking at Alkaloid's sophomore release, Liquid Anatomy, let's take a look at its members, because they form a supergroup to match the Internet metal world's wettest dreams. I won't go into all of their past bands, but there is a lot of experience in there, as well as a three-guitar package consisting of three of the best shredders in European death metal. With those kinds of expectations, the bar's set pretty high.

The band's response to this kind of challenge is a sort of mix between a soft-voiced, progressive sound on the one hand, and a Morbid Angel-type agonizing crawl through muck on the other. Kernel Panic is rougher-voiced than Cynic's kindly-but-bent space aliens, and the band's guitar is far more furious, but there are definitely some similarities in its ethereal breaks and picture-perfect production, and even in the influence it derives from the late 80s. Its successor, on the other hand, sounds like they're covering a Morbid Angel song -- the science fiction is gone, unless you count Lovecraftian horror. Rising up from between the slithering, organic riffs comes some jaw-dropping soloing, the sweet parts of the rough handling the listener gets from the grinding rhythm riffs.

On the Internet, that haunt of complainers and curmudgeons, there's an old complaint regarding prog rock: "How can you call it 'progressive rock' when it sounds just like it was made in the 70s?" But though Liquid Anatomy has plenty of nods to its influences, it's got a chaotic grace all its own. As the album develops, tracks like the appropriately-named Chaos Theory and Practice make it clear that the band can produce some very weird stuff -- in this case, a jerky marching beat of mixed death metal and clean vocals, bizarre solos thrashing around it towards the end. The final track, a twenty-minute epic with the whole band throwing their spectacular technical skills into the intricate rhythms starting six minutes in, is worth picking up the album for alone.

The best part about Liquid Anatomy is its tight, spare songwriting. Some supergroups get in each other's way, despite their best intentions; on this album, both the song styles and interplay between the members' instrumental offerings are smoothly balanced, with everything they've produced on display. It's easy to get overindulged by an ambitious prog metal album; it's less common, as in the case of Liquid Anatomy, to walk away perfectly satisfied.


Killing Songs :
As Decreed by Laws Unwritten, Liquid Anatomy, Rise of the Cephalopods
Andy quoted 90 / 100
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