Alkaloid
Liquid Anatomy

German Progressive Death Metal Super Group Alkaloid have returned with the follow up to their 2015 debut The Malkuth Grimoire with Liquid Anatomy.  The brainchild of former Spawn of Possession and Aborted guitar Danny Tunker. Alkaloid also features three former members of the group Obscura in drummer Hannes Grossman, Bassist Linus Klausenister and Guitar Christian Munzner. With The Malkuth Grimoire you could clearly tell that Alkaloid were looking to maximize the technicality of the death metal elements of the album with Liquid Anatomy we have an album that is a bit even more experimental and progressive.  These elements are shown strongly right off the bat with the title track, “Kernel Panic”.  Opening up with a cleaner toned arpeggiated pattern my brain was instantly reminded of The Police of all bands which to an extent is not surprising.  Even the title of the opening track, “Kernel Panic” is in reference to a computer error that an operating system cannot quickly or easily recover from.  This type of subject matter really fits well with the sounds that Alkaloid deliver through Liquid Anatomy.

After the clean intro section, a distorted guitar line kicks in that is quite an arena rock riff If I have ever heard.  The track continues to build to the chorus which is probably the most brutal part of the song. There is a lot going on and a lot to process.  There are a plethora of musical ingredients that Alkaloid stir and let simmer throughout the album. “As Decreed by Laws Unwritten” opens up like a traditional death metal song which is the complete reciprocal of the title track. Clocking in at over eight minutes. This is one of three tracks on the album that are. For the most part this track is heavy, groovy death metal.  I honestly feel like they could have arranged this tune to be able half the length that it is. For the average death metal fan, they may lose interest.  For a progressive metal fan that very much might be the opposite.  No clean vocals on this track which is a nice break from the first track.

“Azagthoth” might have you think that the song is going to be nothing but five and a half minutes of Morbid Angel Solos.  That is not the case and this track might be one of the most bizarre and experimental tracks on the record.  Musically “Azagthoth” opens with what sounds like dueling classical guitars with a third distorted line following along.  The third distorted line is for the most part, harmonic, chaotic dissonance.  Morean’s clean vocals return on this one.  This is one of those projects that probably will never play live although I wish they did.  It is one thing to sit here and listen to sounds arranged for three guitars and it is another to witness this live. Alkaloid are one of those groups that have such intricate arrangements that I would be interested to see if they could pull off these tunes live. So many Notes!

The title track “Liquid Anatomy” is the probably the closest thing to a ballad on the record.  The track opens up with melodious acoustic twelve string guitars before Morean’s dynamic vocals enter softly and with a fragile subtlety. This album may rub some hardcore death metal fans wrong with the experimentation and use of clean vocals by lead vocalist and 3rd guitarist Morean.  Morean’s clean vocals are by no means the worst out there but in conjunction with the technical elements going on may strike some listeners as odd or out of place.  In my opinion the clean vocals work in that track to track they are present but do not necessarily dominate the album.  Morean also has gruffer death vocals throughout the album.  It takes quite an attention span to get through all of this material as the album clocks in at over an hour which for this type of music listeners either are going to eat up or get one track in and get bored.  To an extent, Alkaloid is a project the at times feels like it was made for other musicians to enjoy vs just music fans. This is way more ambitious than a lot of other technical death metal records that have been released this year and definitely feels like it is more of a student project than a touring project. That being said I would be very curious to see what these songs look like live. ‘In Turmoil’s Swirling reaches” again has the feel of The Police to me.  Linus Klausenister’s bass playing is really on point on this particular track and is one of the more progressive feeling tunes on Liquid Anatomy. “Interstellar Boredom” has one of the heaviest builds on the album and might be one of the more straightforward tracks.

The last two tracks on the album are the two longest “Chaos Theory and Practice” clocks in at over eight and a half minutes while the closing track, “Rise of The Cephalopods” is nearly twenty minutes long!  Again, it takes a good deal of patience to get through this album.  At times, some of tracks do tend to drag a bit.  This is a massively meticulous metal record. For those of you that like Tech Death this is either going to be right up your alley or “Not Brutal” enough.  For musicians that are a fan of tech death you might find this album more impressive than those that don’t.  Take this for what it is worth. This album is a doozy and if your head is not spinning from all of the complexity by the end of it then your equilibrium is a bit more balanced then this reviewer.  I need some pain reliever. This album pounds in many different ways and directions and might be the most complex death metal album that Season of Mist releases this year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
June 18th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: DAVID

    Well, I’m hopping right over to where I can order this right away…been sitting on it though I liked the Malkuth Grimoire and LOVED the Kernel Panic song I heard!


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