Review Summary: For occultists only.
Let me preface this by saying that I was rather taken aback by Alchemical Warfare
. Given the tags of doom metal and of vocalist Numtheanga's (Alan Averill) previous work in Primordial, I think I expected something much more stern, more melancholic and rooted moreso in the deep dirges of funeral doom or black-doom or death-doom or really, anything less fun than what we are presented with here.
is a romping slab of traditional heavy metal and hard rock with a constant atmosphere of doom and occult. Riffs that come at you with a militant gallop are just as content trudging along as they are to simmer low'n'slow as grungy chords beneath Alan's epic wail. Take the dichotomy between "Nature is the Devils Church" and "Her Master's Voice"-the former track is filled with a magnetic energy ala Iron Maiden style, while the latter crawls rather slowly with plenty of empty space that let's Alan's ballad-suited voice shine through, which brings to what I believe to be maybe the single best quality of this record. Alan's piercing, grandiose wails.
Really it should not be surprising, as he has in the past showcase just how ***ing powerful he can make a track with his primeval rasps and absolutely massive clean singing. The former is near entirely absent here aside from a rather pleasant surprise nearing the end of "Ruin Upon the Temple Mount", as Alan unleashes his wicked snarl with a power that is amplified with its absence throughout. However as stated, they are not the showstopper here. There is a full display of range here, from the scratchy crooning of "Her Master's Voice" to the militant energy he eschews off of "Nature is the Devils Church" or the almost spoken-word grit off of the aforementioned "Ruin Upon the Temple Mount". His talents are on full blast here, and man do they make this record.
Now, I suppose that could bring me to the rather slight fault of this record, and that is its tendency to be ever-so-slightly reliant on Alan's vocals as opposed to always feeling like a complete work, however even that is a mild complaint levied towards the record since the feeling is rather fleeting (only really rearing its head on Master's Voice). Otherwise, this album is fan-freakin-tastic (child friendly words only, keeping it rated G for my preschool readerbase). The feeling of constant occultic mysticism bubbles under a flurry of pure trad metal corny fun, and if that doesn't make you want to rise from your coffin and romp like you're in the music video for Bewitched, well then I am sorry my friend, for you are the lost soul. Jam this.