Review Summary: Alchemy is all of the best elements in a mainstream hard rock band, done better.
Meytal Cohen has become somewhat famous for her regular drum covers on Youtube. After nearly a decade of tirelessly building a solid fanbase, she decided to take things a step further and began working on her own full length album; Alchemy. Meytal joined up with Threat Signal guitarist Travis Montgomery and lead singer Eric Emery, of the band Concordia. After a successful Kickstarter campaign of $144,000 pledged, the band had the green light to go to work. Nearly 2 years later, we have 10 tracks that blend hard rock, progressive, and some metal elements together to create an overall fantastic 40 minute experience.
From the very first song, 'Breathe', listeners will know that Meytal means business. And since this is Meytal Cohen's project, lets start with her talents first. Track one will grab the listeners attention with it's crazy drum fills that starts at the second half of the song, along with the tempo and time signature change that she throws in. But she continues to shine throughout the album. 'Everybody Hates You Now' and 'Shadow in Disguise' have some nice double kick parts in them, along with some interesting cymbal choices that help the songs feel even more aggressive. 'Immoral Exorcist' is another track that stands out. It has a Tool-esque vibe in the verses, which is cool because she has stated Tool as a major influence over the years. The choppy parts she plays in the song keep things fresh and help the song feel more progressive. All in all, the drums in Alchemy stay pretty mainstream, but there are enough interesting moments throughout to keep the listeners attention. The best part is that she does it better than most of the mainstream drummers out there today.
Guitarist Travis Montgomery of metal band Threat Signal, does a wonderful job overall on Alchemy. There is excellent variation in sound for how accessible of a sound they were going for. Most of the album sounds like drop D or Db, but there are a couple songs that take it down into Drop B territory and really give those tracks a heavy groove that separates them from the rest. I counted roughly half a dozen solos throughout as well, and they have a sound reminiscent of Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge. These solos give the songs a healthy amount of time for the instruments to shine, and never feel out of place.
Vocals. There is a lot to be said about Eric Emery's performance here. From the first minute of the opening track, his range and tonal quality shines immensely! He blends cleans and raspy together perfectly, and never feels out of place. He has some scream moments on 'Nothing' and closer track 'Tear Me Apart' that were a nice surprise, and although his screams do need a little work, they still sounded pretty solid considering they weren't extended parts of the songs. As a whole, the vocals were the icing on the cake and hopefully he will be back if Meytal decides to do a second album.
The only negative thing about Alchemy in my opinion is Track 5, 'Behind These Walls'. This is mainly because the vocals parts are very repetitive and boring, and worst of all, they are sung by someone else. This track felt very out of place on the album, so much so that I removed it from my track list on Itunes. Others might find it interesting, but it kept me from giving the album a 4.5 because it seems like it should be a bonus track.
To summarize, Alchemy is a solid debut from a fantastic drummer. Half of the albums songs could be radio singles, purely because they are so catchy, but they do a way better job of sounding genuine than most anything you would find on rock radio today. The lyrics are another big reason why this album shines. They never feel cheesy or recycled, and help carry the album that much further along among rock and metal fans alike. If you haven't listened to this album yet, go check it out! It will be worth your time.