Alkaloid - The Malkuth Grimoire
Genesis. In the beginning there was nothingness. You stare into the black but perceive no shape and no living thing. Just an all-encompassing emptiness. A sudden spark of light snaps your attention. A slash of colour shatters the darkness and a single silver thread screams forth as an intricate web begins to form like one spun from the abdomen of the blackest arachnid.
The journey begins. Like Marlowe's winding quest through the dark Belgian Congo, searching for the demented Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, you encounter moments of stunning beauty contrasted with moments of grotesque violence that will torture the mind for eternity. Like solving the ancient Lament Configuration puzzle box, you open up a world populated by grotesque and twisted demons bent on mangling your very soul as well as mutating your physical form. Lovecraftian nightmares spread colossal, leathern wings as the Great Old One himself, Cthulhu rises from black oceanic depths to purge our technological dependent modern society with one sweep of his scaly hands.
It’s a terrifying journey but you can rest your weary head, oh musical traveller for this is all just the long-awaited Alkaloid debut album, The Malkuth Grimoire. This extreme progressive metal band features international high-class musicians that include current and former members of bands like Obscura, Spawn of Possession, Aborted, Dark Fortress, Necrophagist, God Dethroned, Blotted Science and Noneuclid.
This album is what happens when the masterful, intelligent song structures of Floyd meets the seemingly disparate worlds of Death Metal musical majesty. It’s heavy, yes, but bulging with musical ideas and godlike vision.
"Like Marlowe's winding quest through the dark Belgian Congo, searching for the demented Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, you encounter moments of stunning beauty contrasted with moments of grotesque violence that will torture the mind for eternity."
Of course throwing a startling array of musical influences into one big pot in this manner could always result in a big muddy mess but the immaculate musicianship on display here holds it all together wonderfully. There is a stunning simplicity to some of the riffs that contrasts startlingly with some of the more complex moments but rather than alienate the listener they help carry you through the voyage. And this is what this album is really. Like a great novel, or a vast painted canvas, it holds you in its vice grip for the duration taking you through many layers and sonic textures as you plumb its’ hidden depths. Which are many.
This is a long-player made possible by a crowd-funding campaign and for that we should be thankful. The musicians involved all have previous success with other bands, and (I hate the word supergroup so visit their website to see who!), have made an uncompromising effort to produce a piece of work that they themselves believe in and invited their audience to come along for the ride with the same belief.
The Malkuth Grimoire is a technically sound, prog, death metal masterpiece that, yes, features fusion style shred fests in parts but if you listen to the emotive, almost bluesy solo in epic closer and personal highlight (along with Cthulhu), Funeral for a Continent you’ll see that all the musicianship feels necessary and not just filler or musical posturing. Even the effected spastic bass of instrumental C-Value Enigma serves a purpose to the whole.
Devote some time to The Malkuth Grimoire.
It’s a magical book worth opening.
Words: The Malkuth Grimcooke