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Review: Alchemy-X - A Delicate Balance
A Delicate Balance

Label: BMI/Plastic Giraffe Productions
Year released: 1999
Duration: 50:15
Tracks: 8
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: October 16, 2002
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
A Delicate Balance

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (4 Votes)

"A Delicate Balance" is the type of album I have to be in the mood to listen to, having never been much into progressive metal. I guess having a bad cold puts me in the right mood since I've been listening to this all day. :) The first thing that caught my attention is the diversity of the material presented here, varying from slow, almost easy-listening classical-like music, then going through a more prog rock sound and up to some more aggressive, more metal parts. Ahem, note that this is not all in one single song. ;) Not being too knowledgeable with the prog metal scene, I'll avoid the comparisons with the likes of Dream Theater or Fates Warning, but I must say that I find the material from Alchemy-X a lot more down my alley. They have their technical moments, but also let it loose here and there and just purely and simply rock, and at times the music is simply majestic, especially the beginning of some songs sound like they're out of this world, very captivating. I even found that a solo or two reminded me of Somewhere In Time/Seventh Son of a Seventh Son-era Iron Maiden. That's right! Call me crazy. :)

The vocalist does an excellent job, varying from very mellow singing to more aggressive harsh vocals (no, no, no growling :)), and throwing in some high- pitched screams to shake you up a little. This is however the only album he's recorded with the band. I can hardly find something negative to say about this release... Hmmm... OK the cover art does nothing for me, and there's no way I could listen to this with headphones - I find I can listen to the whole album only blasting from the speakers. I think "A Delicate Balance" is one of the very rare prog album that I've been able to listen to repeatedly without getting bored to death - that's gotta be good in some way, right? :) Do yourself a favor and check out the band's web site for sound samples.

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