Alchemist - Austral Alien

The Martians have landed. But rather than to conquer like in the synonym War of the Worlds already covered by Australian act ALCHEMIST in Eve of the War, this time they are here as tourists, students, researchers. And once again with Austral Alien, ALCHEMIST seem to be enjoying the task of animateurs, historians, Earth's own ambassadors.

And indeed it is as through lyrics, artwork and music alike, the Canberra boys have managed to capture different scenes of the face of earth as one whole package that the Martians may take with them as an archive for the future. Yes, definitely with Austral Alien there is a deep story to tell and here is my brief overview of it.

My first reaction to this ALCHEMIST release was “where are the screams that send me frenzy at gigs as much as in my room each time I hear them?”. Gone they are, and in fact the more frenzy side of ALCHEMIST diminishes with them. But just like with close friends, it is when certain things their custom are left undone, that one observes different sides of their personalities, new sides that still come across as richly beautiful in their fresh stance. This for you is the latest ALCHEMIST, a maybe more romantic side if that’s the right use of the word, but in any case a glance so rich in its difference.

So what have ALCHEMIST on offer this time? First Contact opens up with aliens falling on earth and once landed mixing with the tribes of Earth, and indulging into one hell of percussive uproar. A perfect match to the lyrics that seem to hint to the feelings of immigrants settling in a new land with different attitudes, and the daily challenges they have to fight within. Same feelings as exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW through the medium of an Iranian carpet burnt at its middle core, standing in front of a picture of a fire in the midst of the Australian outback. And whether this is casual co-incidence or free will of art appreciation is beyond me, all I think about is how smoothly (at least in my mind) this connects to other themes throughout the album, particularly the Canberra bushfires, as exhibited in vision and prose at some point of the album.

Yes because in my opinion, while Austral Alien (especially when read out in the fast accent of the Aussies themselves) is a reflection of Australians and some of their history and heritage, on the other hand I view the theme being addressed as more than educational to the whole world. Why? Buy the album, appreciate and learn nobody is anyone without others in life, and that any power one has depends always on other humans and natural forces.
And that is why I also call this album very mature. The reason being that tracks like Backward Journey, Nature on a Leash and Grief Barrier seem to be an Australian’s feelings to his fellow countrymen that the dollar should be just the means but never the end, and that one should always treasure nature’s gifts much more than anything around him. With hints of Hawaii sound in Alpha Cappella Nova Vega and Egyptian references in the lyrics of Older than the Ancients, the message may be extended worldwide. Now that is an image worthwhile to be sent via a Letter to the Future, and the reason why I claim ALCHEMIST to be mature ambassadors of Earth.

Hopefully, one day this world will portray people of different cultures and attitudes who learn from the mistaken decisions of their wars and quest for power, and that wherever you were born and wherever you are living, you have a right to be yourself as long as you respect others, and that this is one world, one nation, one feeling --- acceptance!

Will the Martians ever get this idea in a future visit? Hopefully, one day. May the poet in you all stand up! Till then, it would be a commendable idea to order Austral Alien from Chatterbox in Australia or Relapse worldwide, since as I said this was just a brief (?) overview. Mostly I have only made lyrical observations, but had I to highlight how subtly the ALCHASCHMUTZ prose blends with the music and artwork of this CD, then this review will take much and much more volume. So that is enough to make you reflect how sufficient value for money this CD is, and that this time your dollar would be a valuable means to something worthwhile, an excellent release in the form of ALCHEMIST’s Austral Alien. BUY! BUY! BUY!.

1. First Contact
2. Great Southern Wasteland
3. Solarburn
4. Alpha Cappella Nova Vega
5. Older than the Ancients
6. Backward Journey
7. Nature on a Leash
8. Grief Barrier
9. Epsilon
10. Speed of Life
11. Letter to the Future

Relapse Records
Reviewer: necrogool
Feb 26, 2009

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