ALCHEMY X


"Alchemy X" (Self-produced; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Progressive metal troupe Alchemy X return after a long hiatus with a new singer/keyboardist and two new tracks that alternate between crushing grooves, moody interludes, and prog rock excess. 

While the recording surely doesn’t do the band justice, the ideas, musicianship, and interplay between these four guys proves to be quite solid, sans the slightly annoying keyboard overlays on the pounding groove parts. Otherwise, this rejuvenated outfit’s second wind is about to begin, and if you like your prog rock with a harder edge, then Alchemy X has got what you’re looking for.

Alchemy X: Tom Engel - vocals/keyboards; Chris Fox - guitar; Rob Schreiber - guitar; Steve Ratchen - bass, keyboards, vocals; Chris Scorsese - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.alchemy-x.com


"11:59:59" (M.P.G. Productions; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to review Alchemy X's "A Delicate Balance" and I am proud to say that it's one of the few CDs that has managed to make it back into my regular rotation (and more often than most, I might add). So it was with great anticipation that I waited for Alchemy X's latest effort, "11:59:59," which seemed to take forever, at least in my own mind, to arrive.

With "11:59:59," Alchemy X have added more acoustic elements, bass playing that reminds me of classic Rush, and an overall vibe that is more of a classic prog-metal sound with John Arch-era Fates Warning being the closest thing I can think of for comparison. In fact, many of the band's tendencies to sound a bit too much like Dream Theater on "A Delicate Balance" are by and large gone from the band's sonic palette.

I have to be honest: my initial thoughts when learning that former Attacker vocalist Bob Mitchell had taken over the vocal slot in Alchemy X was that Mitchell would not be a good fit for a prog-metal band. This isn't a knock on Bob Mitchell as a vocalist - I think he's a great vocalist - but I just couldn't see him singing for a prog-metal band no matter how hard I tried. Needless to say, I couldn't have been more wrong. While Bob Mitchell doesn't fit the prototypical sound or style of a prog-metal vocalist, he does a phenomenal job of adding his robust voice to Alchemy X's brand of prog-metal. In fact, it just may be Mitchell's non-standard prog-metal histronics that actually makes "11:59:59" a better disc than "A Delicate Balance."

I like the structure of "11:59:59" as well. While the disc features seven songs that are fitting of the prog-metal genre, the disc features a number of brief musical interludes that serve as 'glue' to keep the album moving along. This is novel arrangement that keeps the listener's interest throughout. "Interlude (more real than real)," a ballad of sorts, is a real departure for the band. Throughout "11:59:59" guitarists Fox and Schreiber twist, turn, and otherwise manipulate their six-strings into heavy progressive riffs. Ratchen's bass playing, as I mentioned before, gives me the same studious vibes that Geddy Lee might provide had Rush gotten started in the late '90s rather than the '70s. Ratchen also performs double duty with his sparse, yet extremely complimentary, keyboard accents.

The bottom line is that Alchemy X has produced another great CD in "11:59:59" which isn't entirely unexpected. However, what was unexpected is that they managed to do it by not repeating themselves sonically or stylistically without losing the ability to make a lasting impression on a sometimes jaded critic like me.

"11:59:59" was produced by Alchemy X.

Alchemy X is Bob Mitchell on vocals, Chris Fox and Rob Screiber on guitars, Steve Ratchen on bass, and Chris Scorsese on drums.

For more information visit www.alchemy-x.com


"A Delicate Balance" (BMI/Plastic Giraffe; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Alchemy X is prog-metal with superb aggression and spirited vocals. I might as well say this at the beginning of the review so that there's no doubt as to how I think about this band: it truly is a shame that Alchemy X aren't better known in metal circles (although I must admit they're pretty well known to fans of the prog-metal genre).

"A Delicate Balance" is chock full of progressive riffs, rich melodies, brick-by-brick heaviness, and intelligent lyrics that makes for a rewarding listen on all counts. I have listened to "A Delicate Balance" all the way through at least a dozen times and I haven't gotten sick of it once. That's a pretty good test to pass in my book.

As far as the music goes there's no doubting Alchemy X's style as progressive metal. Dream Theater comes to mind in the more up-tempo parts and Rush in the quieter moments; the history of progressive metal and progressive rock are blended together quite well. In fact, some of the moments are dead-ringers for early Dream Theater material (especially in "Sisters," but it must have been an act of the collective subconscious). Musically the performances are steady and stellar. Both patience and anxiousness are exhibited in equal parts. Does that seem like opposing opposites? Not quite. You'd have to hear it to know what I'm talking about.

The lyrics are cohesive especially on the three-part "Autumn Sonata" which clocks in at over twenty minutes; it's a good thing some bands know how to make an epic tune without needless repetition.

Alchemy X's "A Delicate Balance" comes highly recommended by this reviewer. New material is expected from Alchemy X in late 2002.

"A Delicate Balance" was produced by Alchemy X and Doug Oberkircher (Dream Theater).

Alchemy X is Martin Morin on vocals, Chris Fox and Rob Schreiber on guitars, Steve Ratchen on bass and keyboards, and Chris Scorsese on drums.

For more information visit www.alchemy-x.com


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 09 Apr 2017 12:09:57 -0400.