"Intervening Coma - Celebration" (Sound Riot; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Hailing from Norway, Grand Alchemist are a symphonic black metal band that incorporate a healthy dose of 'progression' into their music.

As this is my first experience with Grand Alchemist I cannot really comment on their past or how "Intervening Coma - Celebration" compares to their past efforts. What I can tell you is that the music on this disc is keyboard heavy and seems to take pride in its orchestrations and arrangements. It is so keyboard heavy it seems at times to draw equally from gothic metal and dark wave styles as it does from its black metal sources. While the guitars are not prominent they are definitely there and take their place as a driving force behind the music. The vocals alternate between they typical raspy growls (although less raspy than most black metal bands) and cleaner vocals. Typical for the genre these days to be sure, but quite necessary in my opinion to hold the listener's attention for any length of time - Grand Alchemist do a competent job keeping the vocals from falling into a mediocre quagmire at all times.

I know a lot of folks have tired of the symphonic black metal style and I certainly can skip it when I'm not in the mood, but "Intervening Coma - Celebration" struck a chord with me and I'm sure I'll be playing it often when I'm in a black metal mood and I don't want to hear my favorite black metal bands (yet) again.

Fans of Borknagar, Dimmu Borgir, and Throes Of Dawn will love Grand Alchemist.

"Intervening Coma - Celebration" was produced by Rune Thoen and Grand Alchemist.

Grand Alchemist is Sigurd on vocals, guitar, and synth, Terje on guitar, Roland on bass, and Stoelan on drums.

For more information visit

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.

Back to CD Reviews Page

Back to home

Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Jul 2022 15:03:27 -0400.