Alkemy - da 63 projekt - 2003


Alkemy is a French band, founded in 2000. Following the release of a 7-track demo entitled “Stockholm syndrome” in 2001, “da 63 projekt” is their first official album release. Band members are Lionel Bertrand (drums), Aurélien Budynek (guitar and vocals), Aurélie Martin (keyboards) and Philippe Sifre (bass and backing vocals). Most of them are influenced by artists and bands like Joe Satriani and Dream Theatre, but also by jazz(rock) and symphonic bands.


Especially the “heavy ones” of these influences are clearly audible on this debut album. Almost every song is dominated by the heavy metal sound of Aurélien Budynek’s guitar, who is responsible for all compositions. His solos are jazzrock influenced, as in the instrumental piece “Turtle soup” (5:56). In a track like “On the very day” (5:07) we here some funky rhythm guitar play.
Philippe Sifre’s bass with regularity also sounds funky, for instance in opening track “Underwater” (6:07) and in track 4 “Sick seekers” (6:26).
This is also one of the few tracks where the keyboards play a role of some importance, in this case primarily because of some sparkling piano play that really freshens up the robust sound of Alkemy. It is therefore a pity that overall the keyboards are very low in the mix and sound rather subdued. Apart from that, the use of keyboards is restricted to acoustic and electric piano (with a nice solo in “Within my prism” (6:32)), some organ chords (in “Sick seekers”) and atmospheric sounds (in the earlier mentioned “Underwater” and “Sick seekers”, but also in “Turtle soup” (5:56) and closing track “My eyes” (8:01)). In “Inner pulse” (5:22) we hear a nice tremolo keyboard part, that reminds of a track of the first album of UK.


I cannot find any highpoints among the eleven tracks on this album. The more laid-back pieces “Within my prism” and “First person dreamer” (5:12) are the ones I find most interesting, because of the variation in guitar sounds (arpeggio’s next to the heavy chords), easy pieces, a more up tempo break and nice piano play.
Heavy, (too) serious, not sparkling and lack of variation are in summary the qualifications that I would give to this French debut. More emphasis on the keyboards and variety in compositions are my suggestions for the possible successor of this album.

author - date - rating - label

Wim Verweij - October 2003 -   - Independent Release