Review: Spotlights ‘Alchemy For The Dead’

I’ve been on deep dives of genres before. Starting with nu metal as a kid which took me down the paths of classic rock, punk, grunge and so on. With each new discovery, I absorbed what I could and eventually found myself moving on to a new genre. I’ll always revisit my favorites, but nothing has drawn me in like post-metal. There is a wide range of styles that fits the genre, but it’s the meditative atmosphere mixed with a force that’s measurable on the Richter Scale. There is always something new and exciting to listen to as proven by Spotlights recent release Alchemy For The Dead which is keeping me buried in the post-metal rabbit hole.

Spotlights 'Alchemy For The Dead'
Spotlights ‘Alchemy For The Dead’ Artwork

A slow build starts off the album in Beyond The Broken Sky which varies from the explosive starts of previous albums. REZN like wavering vocals provides a nice effect before the crushing blows enter like a one-two punch. You may think the tone is set for the album already, but the hip hop-esque drum intro of The Alchemist disproves that theory. Fusing dark undertones with the catchy drum beat and ethereal vocals sounds fantastic giving it a Deftones vibe while the following track Sunset Burial takes on more of Chinos side project Palms vibe.

Sunset Burial ends on a groovy fuzz riff that transitions faultlessly into the desert rock vibe of Algorithmic. Spotlights push the envelope further with the heavier False Gods that fuses saxophone without distracting from the song. I often revisit this track and particularly love the explosive finish which could easily have been the final cut on the album.

Fusing dark undertones with the catchy drum beat and ethereal vocals sounds fantastic…

Spotlights instead said ‘Nah, we have four more songs’ as the bouncy desert rock riff of Repeat The Silence begins. I love everything I’ve heard, but the final three tracks are what make this album for me. Ballad In The Mirror’s wall of sound, ethereal vocals and reverb soaked leads are exactly what I look for in songs and set up Crawling Toward The Light’s climatic end, taking what I love about False Gods a step further with a colossal energy level as it closes out.

Spotlights wraps up Alchemy For The Dead with the intense and emotional title track. The acoustics and vocal performance remind me heavily of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails and as much as I would have loved the powerful ending of Crawling Toward The Light to close the album, this was a million times better than I could have imagined. Just before the track ends, Spotlights gives the listener a crescendo of fuzz, but only to quickly fade back into an acoustic riff.

Alchemy For The Dead encompasses so much of what I love in music. The album has enough similarities to more popular bands I plan on using it to introduce people to post-metal and rock with the hope it acts as a gateway for them to experience the obsession of diving into a genre and consuming all it has to offer.

Label: Ipecac Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Josh Schneider