Alkemic Generator - Mechanical Reflections
EBM, Darkwave Hailing straight from Italy, Alkemic Generator is a curious and unique tapestry of operatic, club-oriented industrial, with female vocals that bring to mind Emilie Autumn or Dead Can Dance slipping in and out between climatic and intense dancefloor-friendly electronics.

This is a great combination, and when it works, it works quite well. As a departure from the standard club-industrial distorted growl, the elegant and well-executed female vocals of the band serve as a great counterpoint to the driving beats and synth-heavy sound. For better or for worse, their latest release, Mechanical Reflections, seems to lack some degree of sonic variety compared to their 2013 debut The Oneric Geometry, but as such the album feels like a cohesive exploration of a particular sound: a driving, well-produced 4-on-the-floor club assault paired with lovely, opera-styled vocals. While it can feel a bit tired at times, it succeeds in exploring that sound and seeing it through to the end, and even adding something of their own (beyond the gorgeous vocals... did I mention they're gorgeous?) to the template in tracks such as The Vitrivian Theory, with it's clever melodic stutter, subtle but effective tribal drumming, and glitched synthesizer stabs.

Unabashedly, the album is club-friendly, with driving 4 on the floor beats and a pretty consistent pattern of song construction, but this is a case where it's safe to say "club friendly" is not a dirty word. The production here is very good, and the band adds enough of their own sound and influence to keep it interesting throughout. Until the Last One has a great sound, full of building tension and a powerful feeling from start to finish, with distorted synth screams pairing excellently with the lead singer's emotively delivered vocals, and tracks like Another Day? provide added variety to the album's sound, keeping the club friendly beat but moving into emotional club anthem territory, spiritually recalling VNV Nation without sounding remotely close to a replica. Oneric Threads manages to fold in some dubstep influences near the end without sounding contrite or obnoxious. There is variety here, although it is subtle, and that variety seems somehow just enough. For the most part, it works.

As a testament to their successful fusion of sounds, the album is capped off by two remixes, one by C-Lekktor and another by Aesthetic Perfection (both great artists in their own right). Neither of them are bad remixes by any measure, but I find myself preferring the originals. Somehow, bringing in the sounds of these artists almost upsets the delicate sonic balance Alkemic Reactor has constructed for themselves. The remixes don't sound bad, they just seem somehow wrong, as though something has been moved just slightly out of place. They are both fairly expected as well, sounding pretty much what you'd expect remixes by these artists to sound like. No huge surprises here.

There is some work to do here, in finessing the details, adding a little more variety. The band clearly shows a great range and ability (as does the vocalist in her own right), but I can still feel them developing, slowly morphing, exploring, taking shape. It's a great thing to watch, and it's fantastic to see a band in that period, still finding its form, taking risks, and exploring. It's a solid development of their sound and a worthy followup to their excellent 2013 debut.
4
Brutal Resonance

Alkemic Generator - Mechanical Reflections

8.0
"Great"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2015 by Scent-Air Records
Hailing straight from Italy, Alkemic Generator is a curious and unique tapestry of operatic, club-oriented industrial, with female vocals that bring to mind Emilie Autumn or Dead Can Dance slipping in and out between climatic and intense dancefloor-friendly electronics.

This is a great combination, and when it works, it works quite well. As a departure from the standard club-industrial distorted growl, the elegant and well-executed female vocals of the band serve as a great counterpoint to the driving beats and synth-heavy sound. For better or for worse, their latest release, Mechanical Reflections, seems to lack some degree of sonic variety compared to their 2013 debut The Oneric Geometry, but as such the album feels like a cohesive exploration of a particular sound: a driving, well-produced 4-on-the-floor club assault paired with lovely, opera-styled vocals. While it can feel a bit tired at times, it succeeds in exploring that sound and seeing it through to the end, and even adding something of their own (beyond the gorgeous vocals... did I mention they're gorgeous?) to the template in tracks such as The Vitrivian Theory, with it's clever melodic stutter, subtle but effective tribal drumming, and glitched synthesizer stabs.

Unabashedly, the album is club-friendly, with driving 4 on the floor beats and a pretty consistent pattern of song construction, but this is a case where it's safe to say "club friendly" is not a dirty word. The production here is very good, and the band adds enough of their own sound and influence to keep it interesting throughout. Until the Last One has a great sound, full of building tension and a powerful feeling from start to finish, with distorted synth screams pairing excellently with the lead singer's emotively delivered vocals, and tracks like Another Day? provide added variety to the album's sound, keeping the club friendly beat but moving into emotional club anthem territory, spiritually recalling VNV Nation without sounding remotely close to a replica. Oneric Threads manages to fold in some dubstep influences near the end without sounding contrite or obnoxious. There is variety here, although it is subtle, and that variety seems somehow just enough. For the most part, it works.

As a testament to their successful fusion of sounds, the album is capped off by two remixes, one by C-Lekktor and another by Aesthetic Perfection (both great artists in their own right). Neither of them are bad remixes by any measure, but I find myself preferring the originals. Somehow, bringing in the sounds of these artists almost upsets the delicate sonic balance Alkemic Reactor has constructed for themselves. The remixes don't sound bad, they just seem somehow wrong, as though something has been moved just slightly out of place. They are both fairly expected as well, sounding pretty much what you'd expect remixes by these artists to sound like. No huge surprises here.

There is some work to do here, in finessing the details, adding a little more variety. The band clearly shows a great range and ability (as does the vocalist in her own right), but I can still feel them developing, slowly morphing, exploring, taking shape. It's a great thing to watch, and it's fantastic to see a band in that period, still finding its form, taking risks, and exploring. It's a solid development of their sound and a worthy followup to their excellent 2013 debut. Apr 10 2015

William Clark

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
14
Shares

Buy this release

Scent-Air Records

Related articles

Assemblage 23 - 'Bruise'

Review, Jun 20 2012

Assemblage 23 - 'Compass'

Review, Nov 13 2009

Assemblage 23

Interview, Nov 13 2009

Assemblage 23

Interview, Jan 01 2003

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016