Germany is rather known for their old-fashionable thrash metal, crossover gothic metal or modern electronic dark wave that plunges the scene through successful heartbeats. Formed in 2014, Erlangen, Bavaria-based Alkaloid on the other hand, surfaces as a powerful and extreme musical manifesto that dwells the ascertainment of musicians such as frontman, vocalist and guitar player Morean (currently in Dark Fortress, Noneuclid), guitar player Christian Muenzner (currently on Spawn Of Possession, and former Obscura, Necrophagist), guitar player Danny Tunker (current Aborted, and former God Dethroned), bass player Linus Klausenitzer (current Obscura, and Noneuclid), and ultimately, founder Hannes Grossmann (current Blotted Science, and former Obscura, Necrophagist) compose this single collective.
Unlike other musical act, Alkaloid were not empowered by a will to seek for a record label, instead, they redirected their endeavor toward independence by commencing a crowdfunding campaign in November 2014, campaign that successfully gathered $19,119 euros from the initial $12,000 euros goal that they were aiming at in a record time of two months. The Indiegogo campaign was introduced to finance the production and release of their debut studio record, the superb ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’, while offering a vast selection of rewards, varying from digital downloads, CD Digipacks, shirts, USB sticks, autographs, DVD’s, drumsticks, guitar straps and a whole set of different paraphernalia. With twelve songs and a total playing time of thirty-seven minutes, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ is a mind-blowing masterpiece that does not reverberate to anything you might be anticipating, progressively speaking.
“Producing a professional album is a lot of work. We need to invest a lot of time and money into recording our instruments. But this is just a small part of what needs to be done. We also need to get the album mixed and mastered. For this job, we work with V Santura, who also has mixed most of the albums of the other bands we play(ed) in, like Obscura and Dark Fortress. But then we need to get the physical copies pressed, we need artwork, photos, a booklet and a general album design. Even counting the unpaid hours of work we’ve to put into the album ourselves, we still need people to do all these jobs. And since we want to produce the best quality possible, we need to hire nothing but professionals.”
With that said, Alkaloid’s music obscurely transits in a dynamic strain entwined in jazzy dementia, aggressively progressive, and technical verged at encompassing measures, mid-paced and depressively winsome, leaving room to some tranquil instants of nostalgia and gorgonian atmospheres, freshly crafted and organically appealing, Alkaloid forth leaves the listener with moments of outsourced exasperation and standstill, masterfully combining ingenious rhythmic sections and percussive drumming, in which bass lines that frequently frontlines as the sole basis for rhythmic guitars, even if predominantly resounding to jazzy, perhaps blues at some moments, with machiavellian, wicked and often utopian vocals that play a carnivalesque rule throughout the album, yet it predominantly restraints in a raspy and corrosive, still brutally perceptible magnitude.
Their uniqueness lays in the opposition between elements of old, sluggish death metal forged with distinctive musical governance that altogether, makes of the act a colossal war machine with an extreme, relentless sonority, beyond the typical scope of traditional metal. Even thus, Alkaloid musicians do have a musical background that drive from brutal, technical death metal, to the catacombs of black metal and emotional deeps of gothic alliances, their contributional union ship to the composition of ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ detaches them from commonly heard ventures of storming drums, pounding bass lines, vociferated growls and emergent guitar riffs we often despair ourselves. There was an obvious vigilance in the composition of ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’, which is transpired in a twisted, disharmonic set of playthroughs that chemically embrace lunacy towards a veil of compounded insanity.
“We define Alkaloid through the field of tension created between musical opposites. All of us are active death metal musicians who nevertheless all have a much broader view of music than blast beats and growls. We try to establish from the beginning that we have many faces and that oscillating between (seemingly) contrary or mutually exclusive styles is an important factor.”
The rendition perfectly absorbs all of the aforementioned elements drawn into Alkaloid in a non-submissive, yet spontaneous creative alchemy, yet endured as the opposition, the reverse of the mirror if I must say, in a clashing reflection of aesthetic expressionism. Alkaloid compositions are remarkably symmetric, even if chaotic at times and deeply inclined toward a spiral of captive fascination, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ is definitely an album that constantly grasps the attention to small details, carefully worked and constructed, I dare say that it is indeed, one of the greatest death metal albums I had the fortune to clench during this year.
The death metal elevation, conjured with the progressive, technical storm blasts that starlight in a macabre dance with gazing jazz and blues elements, while chanting choirs bring the darkest spectrum of their music, eloquently enchanting as the album flows in disturbing contours throughout their physical universe, as a fall and rise of shadows willing to be vanquished. I could not fully express myself any further while recommending it to our readers, to discover the world of Alkaloid through the massive epitome of ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’. An album that defies human comprehension, freshly intense in its nature of constraint mental transmutation, an ultimate morphosis.
In regards to their visual presence, as a genesis in the lookout to unfasten themselves from the wavelength of other acts, has been plotted with perfectionism, reflecting the side mirror effect present in their music, a loathsome tendency to overshadow themselves in an obscure, perhaps minimalistic, earth turned dirt with what appears to be, a mummification process unearthed from a deep, blue ocean.
Released on March 17th, 2015, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ was mixed and mastered by Victor Bullok (well known under the pseudonym of as V. Santura, musician for both Triptykon, and Dark Fortress) at Woodshed Studio, Landshut, Germany. The supernova was recorded by Hannes Grossmann himself at Sound-Of-Mordor Studio in Nuremberg, Germany. The photography, illustration and graphic design was of the responsibility of German artist, Christian Martin Weiss.
‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ worldwide response has been overwhelming, therefore Alkaloid decided to cooperate with German record label, Apostasy Records, so that they could fulfill the higher demand of orders as the numbers are constantly increasing and they seek to make the album available at the largest scale, it is of common sense and a productive business strategy to assign their distribution rights to a more capable entity.