Germany’s Alkaloid have returned with a massive double disc release in Numen.  For those of you not familiar with Alkaloid it is a side project of guitarist Christan Muenzer (Obscura) along with bassist Linus Klausenitzer (Check out his solo record also released this year) and drummer Hannes Grossmann (Hate Eternal, Obscura).

The opening track of disc one “Qliphosis” kicks things off with a spacey arpeggio line and the vocal talents of Morean.  The track eventually kicks into the heavy groovy octave sections and more of a death metal feel.  The first guitar solo on the album is nuts. “The Cambrian Explosion” opens with an absolute shred fest into some riffing that reminds me a bit of Necrophagist.  There is so much going on each track. One thing is for sure.  The production on this is top notch.  I also dig the clean jazz break towards the end of the tune.  Former member Danny Tunker (Aborted, Spawn of Possession) does a guest solo on this one and it is crazy.

The track length on disc one is around four to eight minutes a track.   I cannot say enough good things about these arrangements. “Clusterfuck” starts off incredibly bleak before starting to riff your face off with heavy chugs.  For some, the clean vocals might be a bit overkill but for the most part, I don’t really mind them as they provide nice contrast to the heavy vocals.  “Shades of Shub Niggurath” is one of my favorite tracks on disc one.  No shortage of catchy riffs.  Alan Douches did a fantastic job mastering this. “A Fools Desire” opens with some gorgeous acoustic guitar work. Morean’s vocal work is outstanding here. “The Fungi from Yuggoth” closes disc one and continues along similar lines as most of disc one as far as bringing it with the fantastic performances from the entire band.   The double lead towards the end is absolute fire that segues into every more insane lead work.

Disc two kicks off with a shorter instrumental track called “The Black Siren”.  Again, the guitar work on this is on another level.  In a sense it could be a bit of an intermission track as it is not too long and segues into the title track “Numen”. “Numen” slowly fades in and the first riff sounds like it is accompanied by an organ.  This is probably the most prog-sounding song of the two discs.  It has a playful quality about it. “Recursion” opens with layers of discordance which makes picking a focal point a bit challenging. “The Folding is by far the heaviest song of the two discs and has a djent vibe to it with the lower tuning.  Very unsettling. “Alpha Fur” the closing track starts with clean tone guitar for the first few minutes before vocals come in. This is the longest track of disc two clocking in at over thirteen minutes.

Numen is up there with album of the year contender.  I would say it is the best double album I have heard this year.   An acquired taste but if you are a fan of these guys you are going to be very happy here.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
November 9th, 2023


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