Alchemy X - 11:59:59 - Unisound Records - 2002 reviewed by: Agent of Steel
1. Shifting Images 2. Kiss Before Death 3. Renaissance 4. The Dance 5. Penance 6. Reverie 7. Interlude (more real than real) 8. Space Between Walls 9. Beyond the Veil of Sorrow 10. Looking Glass 11. 11:59:59 12. Afterimage 13. The Dance (reprise)
Normally, I'm not one to jump on every Prog-Rock/Metal album that gets released. But, being an avid Attacker/Vyndykator fan, I had to check out "11:59:59". A concept album about the final hours of a contract killer as he lays dying, told in 1st person flash-back sequence.
Bob Mitchell's vocals are more diverse than ever on this release. You may find yourself saying out loud "That's Bob Mitchell?!" when treating yourself to this Alchemy X masterpiece. Instead of the usual screams, and unique vocal approaches I've grown to love, Mitchell is actually singing on this! In fact, he does whatever style the music to "11:59:59" calls for, quite convincingly.
Musically, this album has enough technical moments to please even the most die-hard Progressive fan, yet stays memorable enough for fans of Mitchell's previous work. Well, those with an open mind that is. From beautiful/atmospheric keyboard pieces to bone shattering grooves, compliments from 7-String wielding axe-men Chris Fox, Rob Schreiber and Steve Ratchen (yes, a 7-string bass player, YIKES!). Chris Scorsesse's drum-work is nothing short of amazing as he lays down any beat to the often "off-timed" musicianship that "11:59:59" offers. "11:59:59" may not have as slick of a production as "A Delicate Balance", but I think the newest production job is best. It's more warm and live sounding, giving the album more character and keeping my interest far longer. Also straying from the more "modern" sound that "A Delicate Balance" had to make it stand on its own. This one is more like a newer Progressive album, but keeping a more 70's/80's vibe (while still having a few modern "sprinkles" here and there) and not trying to copy an already successful band like Dream Theatre.
I wish Alchemy X all the best and hopefully they'll continue down this path with the next AX release.
--Agent of Steel 7.6.03
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