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Alkaloid
The Malkuth Grimoire
Type: CD
Company: Independent
Release: 2015
Genre: Heavy/Extreme
Reviewer: T. Ray Verteramo
Published: 2/18/2015
This work is not sewn, it's woven
You knew it was going to be audible, at the very least. The second they announced this insane supergroup of musical whores, (I prefer the term "shameless hussies"), who have been plugged, unplugged, and still plug some of the most brilliant and beloved Death, Black, Prog, Extreme, and all points in between, Metal acts that you knew this Alkaloid thing was something to pay attention to. This is why their independent crowdfunding campaign raised 159% of their goal within 60 days. You knew when you heard the sneak peek tracks, "Carbon Phases," "C-Value Enigma," and the skullcruncher, "Cthulu," that this had potential to even be better than what you expected.

What you may not know is no matter how high our expectations may have been, we underestimated them.

"The Malkuth Grimoire," to those who have a clue of the Quabbalah, instantly advertises the intention to explore the extraordinary in the ordinary -- the majick in the mundane – and they do. Through such musicianship not heard in decades, this show is perfectly cast in every element, even down to the sorcerer at the board. Morean's well-tamed, dissociative identity vocals play all the characters under the proscenium in this tumultuous, relentless drama of thought and sound. Complex off-beats, jolting time changes, and demonstrative chord progressions in less skillful hands would be patched together like an ugly collage designed to trigger the car-wreck mentality, at best. But, this work is not sewn, it's woven. True, this most likely wouldn't be the first choice for background noise while taking in some black sunshine, though the title track and "Funeral for a Continent" would certainly belong on that playlist, it's a journey you can't stop once you start. Each song has its own ink that stains you with riffs and words and phrases, while keeping you on edge, intoxicated or intrigued. Then when it's done, like a kid who just got off the roller coaster, you'll want to ride it again. And when you do, you find twists and turns that you didn't remember or notice before, so you ride it again…and again…

Very often a "prog death" or a "prog anything" band has a tendency to mix too much prog with not enough death, or a whole lot of anything with not very much prog. Fusion propels the industry forward and it's a precarious medium to find the balance, which is when your audience is not aware they're listening to anything but music. These men perform so tight, so fluent, so intuitively, it rivals the likes of a very dark Yes or a Rush from a forsaken abyss. The only hint of humanity this work reveals is that at times, it risks getting up its own ass with brazen displays of sapiosexuality. Granted, getting off on brain food is better than brain damage. However, regardless, they set out to create Metal, but delivered an experience. And if this is what they've got for a debut, how could anyone possibly imagine what they could do for an encore?

There are many primal, brutal, and glorious projects out there worth every ounce of respect and support -- and comparison's a disease, so don't catch it. But, this? Unexpected. Powerful, masterful, bold, flawless, inspiring, haunting, uncomfortable, igniting, grotesque, and exquisite, the sacred geometry that is "Grimoire," whether despised or revered, is not an accomplishment. It's a game-changer.
About this Writer:
T. Ray Verteramo // T. Ray is a product of New York Mediterranean upbringing, discovering Alice Cooper before puberty, and Iron Maiden after. Taken underwing by the former managing editor of Hit Parader magazine in 1985, she took to freelancing, writing up the local and national circuit for 7 years. A new millennium, a published dystopic thriller, and a CNN article on life in metal in the 80's later, she's been thrown back to the wolves, into a much darker and deeper part of the forest.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: ALKALOID
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
The Malkuth GrimoireAlkaloid
2015
T. Ray Verteramo2/18/2015


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: ALKALOID

No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: ALKALOID
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Hannes GrossmanAlkaloidT. Ray Verteramo12/22/2014


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