Alkaloid
Liquid Anatomy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (270 Reviews)
May 21st, 2018 | 193 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Expansive, flowing, liquid anatomy.

Three years ago those who had a thing for the state of the death metal scene went crazy over a little supergroup. With members hailing from the likes of ex-Obscura, ex-Necrophagist, Spawn of Possession, Aborted, ex-God Dethroned and Noneuclid there was definitely a call to hop aboard the hype train. The ensuing debut, The Malkuth Grimoire paved a way for a new meets old soundscape seeing critical appraisal from many major publications with their take on progressive death metal.

Three years later, it’s clear that the debut wasn’t a mere fluke. Liquid Anatomy is a fluid response to a band backing up on their own hype, growing from it and identifying a sound unique to a supergroup actually meeting the expectations laid out before them. For Alkaloid, all the stars are lining up in their sci-fi, H.P Lovecraft world of variable time signatures and swirling progressive death. If you haven’t heard of Alkaloid (or the band’s music) before this could sound pretty damn laughable on paper. Despite this Alkaloid capitalise on the foundation of the debut and expand both musically and in theme. It’s these two (not so) simple features that allow Liquid Anatomy to surpass The Malkuth Grimoire in quality and accessibility.

At a somewhat hesitant level, it’s hard to fathom the quality of music Alkaloid would present on a sophomore full length. A continuing of the sound found in the debut would create an unspoken peak within the band’s music. Whilst a complete reinvention of this hybrid of death metal would only detach from the momentum of Alkaloid’s expansively progressive compositions. Thankfully, initial fears were waved as the bounding introduction of ‘Kernel Panic’ noodles through the speakers, emphasising the even cleans of Alkaloid’s often contrasting sides and finding a veritable middle ground for a band learning to hit their stride. It’s this “clean” approach that allows the prog-laced sensuality to accentuate the primal ferocity of the group’s death metal. At times the half crooned vocal cleans replicate an at peace sound, before being manipulated into the abruptly harsher tones that eventually dominate Liquid Anatomy’s alternate personalities. Despite the band’s ability to show both faces of a coin, Alkaloid don’t fall into the trap of stereotypical progression throughout their own music. Often the band uses this multi-personality and sits the coin on its edge, playing to both contrasting sides and combining them in a way that brings light, heavy, dissonance and harmony together in spectacular fashion.

As the record moves closer to its hour plus run time, Alkaloid enjoy the signature polyrhythmic swirl of their music. With ‘As Decreed By Laws Unwritten’, ‘Chaos Theory and Practice’ and the forwardly thinking brutality found on ‘Azagthoth’, Alkaloid lift into frenetic death metal territory, leaning heavily on the technicality that engages and suffocates within the same period of music. Saying the music is diverse down to its core seems somehow under appreciative of what Alkaloid have come to offer circa 2018. Taking nuances from so many genres while also giving them a home under the now insufficient blanket term of death metal should not be understated. Even the album’s brooding, yet completely heavy title track replicated the sounds found before it, combining atmosphere with heavily progressive wall of music. The build is steady, slow yet deliberately incomplete, leaving listeners to anticipate a sound that doesn’t fall straight into awaiting ears. It’s music like this that keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting for more.

As important as it is to summarise the very core of Alkaloid’s diverse soundscape, the translations between sections can become overwhelming, lending itself to an almost overdone change between the group’s multifaceted soundscape. The album’s greatest strength and best example of what Alkaloid are offering the world of progressive metal comes in the titanic twenty minute epic that closes Liquid Anatomy’s musical chapter. Encapsulating everything the band is and was in a crescendo of atmosphere, light, heavy, progressive, folk-y, frenetic, aggressive, technical ability and actual songwriting ability.

Overall there’s a lot to be said about where the modern sound of death metal is going. With roots squarely held in death metal’s more prominent days there’s a limited number of bands lifting to lofty heights of profound musical growth. Admittedly we’re not at that stage yet but with more and more releases like Liquid Anatomy turning the heads of both new and older listeners of extreme metal, the likelihood of a “new wave” of technically proficient progressive death is becoming more and more likely.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2018


9462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Better than the debut : ]

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2018


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice review, pos. personally dont really dig the band's style (or bands in their ilk for the most part) all that much but their ambition is certainly worth the cursory listen. found this much more consistent than MG though the best moments on there stood out a bit more than here imo. prod during the heavier bits like the explosion midway through kernel panic gets kinda shit though which is a shame.



as for the whole new wave thing, what do you mean by this? feels like this sort of prog death has been streaming in fairly consistently for at least a decade now. hardly feels like theres a shortage of these sorts of acts, let alone a new wave on the horizon, at least imo.

TheAkerstache
May 21st 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Quite enjoying this, it's not perfect, but it's pretty exciting.



Take this with a grain of salt, I haven't been very active in watching progressive metal for a while now, but damn, this is the first time I've felt something "progressive" in prog metal in a hot minute.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2018


3008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i feel like ive seen you around on amg 🤔

necropig
May 21st 2018


5359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyed it but it seems all over the place

Digging: GARDSGHASTR - Slit Throat Requiem

PeterKillander
May 21st 2018


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Absolutely love it. The most coherent release of any of the involved. Not an easy album to appreciate, but one that offers many payoffs.

KingDweedle
May 21st 2018


392 Comments


Would it be better to start with the bands debut still?

HarryBoBerry
May 21st 2018


609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid review. I'm completely infatuated with this album at the moment.

Toondude10
May 21st 2018


13844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've seen this album being tossed around so I'm pretty curious. Good review as usual.

Digging: Rammstein - Rammstein

technerd5150
May 21st 2018


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review. I swear. This album gets better with each play.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2018


9462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

feels like this sort of prog death has been streaming in fairly consistently for at least a decade now. hardly feels like theres a shortage of these sorts of acts,




I think this is my point, it’s taken the better part of ten years to get to where we are now. But I think my point may be too vague. I may consider removing it until I can find a proper relevance.



Would it be better to start with the bands debut still?




Much of a muchness really.

Willie
Moderator
May 21st 2018


17623 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

Definitely better than the debut. The debut felt kind of aimless and prog for prog's sake. This one is way more focused and memorable.

Astral Abortis
May 21st 2018


6745 Comments


Gotta check. Debut had promising moments.

Willie
Moderator
May 21st 2018


17623 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

It definitely did have some promise. This one makes good on a lot of that promise.

TheAkerstache
May 21st 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ramon



Yeah man, AMG is my home, I'm just an occasional visitor of sputnik.

Darius the Great
May 21st 2018


20448 Comments


That album art intrigues me...

Ebola
May 21st 2018


3576 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Shit, gotta jam. Great review.

trilo
May 21st 2018


2540 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

can't imagine this is good but i'll give it a fair shake



great review

Digging: Full of Hell - Weeping Choir

Rowhaus
May 21st 2018


2308 Comments


holy shit that avg is insane

Darius the Great
May 21st 2018


20448 Comments


well there's hardly a hundred votes, you could ruin it with a 1...
if you're devious enough to do such things



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