The Alchemists II | The Alchemists II

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Rock: Progressive Rock Metal/Punk: Instrumental Metal Moods: Featuring Guitar
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The Alchemists II

by The Alchemists II

The sequel to LNR's highly popular The Alchemists (double) compilation CD, which was released in 2002. Here at LNR, we wanted to bring you something different for the follow-up.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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1. Unruly Elements Chris Brooks ft. Joe Chawki
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4:24 $0.99
2. One Legged Chicken Pascal Vigne ft. Christophe Godin
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4:27 $0.99
3. Threehundredpointtwentyone Terry Syrek ft. Bumblefoot
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6:59 $0.99
4. Under The Influence Richard Hallebeek & Antti Kotikoski
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6:33 $0.99
5. Space Antz Carlos Creator ft. Robert Rodrigo
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4:08 $0.99
6. Stratosphere William Stravato ft. Brett Garsed
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5:38 $0.99
7. At Last Stefan Rosqvist ft. Bo Eriksson
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4:53 $0.99
8. The Puffball That Ate My Village Phi Yaan-Zek ft. Chanan Hanspal
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6:06 $0.99
9. Last Minute Call/The Saviour Milan Polak & Marco Sfogli
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4:24 $0.99
10. Fumble Fingers Dave Martone & Chris Buono
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5:15 $0.99
11. Tango Schizophrenia Si Hayden ft. Michael Berk
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3:43 $0.99
12. Warp Drive Gianluca Ferro ft. Scott McGill
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5:29 $0.99
13. In The Beginning Sven Stichter ft. Thorsten Koehne
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4:43 $0.99
14. Butterfly/Free Love/Fruit Frenzy Geoff Tyson ft. Doug Doppler
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7:45 $0.99
15. Georgia In My Heart Dr Ika & Temur Kvitelashvili
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5:13 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Alchemists II is the sequel to LNR's highly popular The Alchemists (double) compilation CD, which was released in 2002.

Here at LNR, we wanted to bring you something different for the follow-up, so we made the unorthodox decision to feature 2 guitar players per tune. This really is The Alchemists II; or put another way, 2 Alchemists on every track!

Some of the original Alchemists have returned for the new CD, including Bumblefoot, Terry Syrek, Brett Garsed and Richard Hallebeek. But alongside the better known players you will find many new and upcoming musicians; players who are producing exciting, vibrant music for the new millennium. 15 tracks and over 75 mins of guitar bliss, covering every mood from metal to fusion, blues to avant garde, acoustic to dance!


Reviews


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Mikolaj Furmankiewicz

VA - The Alchemists II
I was very curious what my Dear Colleague, Matt Williams would prepare for the year 2007 start? I was regularly getting pieces of information concerning "The Alchemists" sequel from 2002. It has just been happened and its compilation's sequel landed on my desk.

This time, the concept of second part consists in two solo guitarists playing in each of fifteen tracks. At the very beginning, we get "Unruly Elements" by Australian-American duo Chris Brooks and Joe Chawki. I was most admired with sound purity and melody clarity, however progressive accents make me think of John Petrucci's solo activity. Frenchmen, Pascal Vigné and Christophe Godin, in their "One Legged Chicken", present southern rock from a bit crazy perspective indeed. But Terry Syrek and Bumblefoot are pedigree freaks, haha. Just the title "Threehundredpointtwentyone" says for itself and can be regarded as abnormal one, haha. For Ron Thal, it is a calm and slightly twisted cut, but one more madman would enough (Todd Duane for instance) to go up my loudpeakers in smoke, haha. Richard Hallebeek (The Netherlands) and Antii Kotikoski (Finland) ensure us coming back to a normality in their "Under The Influence". I was particularly intrigued by the former one's unconventional guitar sound. Spaniards, Carlos Creator and Robert Rodrigo (Airless) start up a party anew. They administer us a dose of funk in "Space Antz". I have been very happy to be able to hear Brett Garsed in this venture. I was thinking that an Australian could have played together with T.J. Helmerich with whom recognized CDs ("Quid Pro Quo" and "Exempt") were recorded. It would be too simple, that's why he performs "Startosphere" next to William Stravato. The track is played in a little cosmic convention, but also characterized by a mildness and melodiousness with a note of emotional improvisation in the first part, and more technical with a greater load of sonic aggression in the second one. A Swedish duo, Stefan Rosqvist and Bo Eriksson lead us in more secluded and romantic areas of the musical world. Phi-Yaan-Zek and Chanan Hanspal have created something that can be described as cartoon guitar fusion! In other words, it is less extreme version of excellent Electrocution 250. Who said that all was done in music? Marco Sfogli and Milan Polak present us their melodic jamming. Milan is deservedly believed to be one of the best European guitarist of the younger generation. The next one is experimental "Fumble Fingers" in which we listen to a Canadian-American duo - Dave Martone and Chris Buono. Their musical offer is instrumental metal, progression, stylistic variations, sonic diversity and driving force by a demon for rhythm like Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, Death) surely is! Si Hayden and Michael Berk attack our ears with an acoustic, but very energetically performed composition titled "Tango Schizophrenia". Another dose of groove is descended from Gianluca Ferro's and Scott McGill's "Warp Drive". They have based its main idea on a persistent (monotoriously recurrent), but subordinate and interesting motif (so-called obligato). There isn't a lack of my neighbours west of Poland, that are Sven Stichter and excellent shredder Thorsten Koehne of Code Of Perfection. A combination of guitar mastery and loops' use prove that rejecting technological novelties is detrimental to the music. Germans show how to create the track that will be appreciated by guitar-oriented audience and discos' frequent visitors as well. They did a great work and my reverence goes to them. Last but one track - "Butterfly/ Free Love/ Fruit Frenzy" has been previously meant for a horror movie, but Geoff Tyson decided to improve it and play together with Doug Doppler. Obviously, there has left a film-oriented atmosphere and it should appeal to Spock's Beard's fanbase. A British-Georgian duo Dr Ika and Temut Kvitelashvili close the field with their "Georgia In My Heart". They perfectly blend jazz/fusion with Georgian folk music. Thus, there are references to Caucasus folklore on one hand, and jazz elements on the other one. They use such instruemnts like maracas (it is a kind of rattle, and precisely a percussion instrument comprising of a hollow gourd full of pebbles or beans) and vibraphone (a.k.a. vibes, that is another percussion instrument alike a xylophone, but made up of metal bars and rotating discs in the resonators that utter a vibrato sound).

To tell the truth, I don't consider "The Alchemists II" a typical compilation, but rather as a great, international project. There weren't any guys from a major label who would point at "most proper" tracklist order, but only a true enthusiastics who recorded the balanced compositions and put their hearts and souls into them. Aforesaid musicians didn't "manufacture" fifteen tracks to execute Matt Williams' "order", but decided to participate in that project following their plain motives - for music's and art's good. And the compilation's subtitle - "15 Tracks of Total Guitar Wizardry" is a pure truth!

MATT WILLIAMS

Guitars Attitude.com
The guitar’s Alchemists are back. This is the second edition from Liquid Note Records which already satisfied us a few years ago with a first volume. This time we can find guitarists like Chris Brook, Terry Syrek, Bumblefoot, Dave Martone, Pascal Vigné or Christophe Godin.
This time, this is a concept album. This concept is based on duets. Each guitar player invites a guest for his song. The result is quite interesting.
For example, you can hear 2 great friends playing together for the first time (Terry Syrek and Bumblefoot). France is well represented (it was already well represented in the 1st volume with Richard Daude and Stephan Forte). This time we have Pascal Vigné and Christophe Godin with a catchy country song. What am I supposed to say about William Stavato’s song featuring Brett Garsed? A true wonder.
Phi Yaan-Zek‘s song immediately reminds of a Frank Zappa’s song. For me it sounds like a tribute. We find on this album another great guitar player, Milan Polak. You don’t remember him? He was discovered by Mike Varney in a compilation series named “Guitar on the edge”. Milan shows us he’s still a great guitar player. Conclusion: This is a great compilation with amazing guitar players, but there is a negative point: you can only order this cd via internet. Not a single shop distributes this album.

The guitar’s Alchemists are back. This is the second edition from Liquid Note Records which already satisfied us a few years ago with a first volume. This time we can find guitarists like Chris Brook, Terry Syrek, Bumblefoot, Dave Martone, Pascal Vigné or Christophe Godin.
This time, this is a concept album. This concept is based on duets. Each guitar player invites a guest for his song. The result is quite interesting.
For example, you can hear 2 great friends playing together for the first time (Terry Syrek and Bumblefoot). France is well represented (it was already well represented in the 1st volume with Richard Daude and Stephan Forte). This time we have Pascal Vigné and Christophe Godin with a catchy country song. What am I supposed to say about William Stavato’s song featuring Brett Garsed? A true wonder.
Phi Yaan-Zek‘s song immediately reminds of a Frank Zappa’s song. For me it sounds like a tribute. We find on this album another great guitar player, Milan Polak. You don’t remember him? He was discovered by Mike Varney in a compilation series named “Guitar on the edge”. Milan shows us he’s still a great guitar player. Conclusion: This is a great compilation with amazing guitar players, but there is a negative point: you can only order this cd via internet. Not a single shop distributes this album.

Francois @ Guitars Attitude.com

MATT WILLIAMS

VirtuosityOne.com
Liquid Note Records are a small independent label that specialise in instrumental guitar music and their latest compilation The Alchemists II is out now. Home to 15 tracks from artists around the globe the album is chock full of great guitar and each track sees 2 guitarists team up which gives a nice variety throughout and nice exposure to what I suspect will be 30 new players for all but instrumental guitar fans out there.

Kicking things off is Australian guitarist Chris Brooks (who guested on the final Ring Of Fire album) and here he joins forces with Joe Chawki for “Unruly Elements”. The sound is highly progressive with the usual level of guitar wizardry you would expect from Brooks and gets things off to a nice start.

Pascal Vigne and Christophe Godin then take us down country streets for a slice of bonzo chicken pickin’ on “One Legged Chicken” and highly enjoyable it is to.

Terry Syrek then delivers a metal delight with a great riff and gonzo shred on “Threehundredpointtwentyone” and has Ron Thal (aka Bumblefoot) throw in a solo for good measure; this is another very listenable track albeit in a very different guise to one it follows.

Richard Hallebeek and Antti Kotikoski then bring the mood down for an this almost Pink Floyd meets fusion like air of calm in “Under The Influence” and its home to some great legato work from Antti, this is one of the most instantly accessible tracks on offer.

Carlos Creator’s “Space Antz” is a rock/funk type groove with a modern edge, fans of Satriani will instantly like this and Carlos throws in some very space-age type effects, Robert B. Rodrigo delivers a 30 second solo towards the end which is takes the heat up another few degrees.

William Stravato and Brett Garsed will be known names to guitarists that read this site and their contribution “Stratosphere” is home to two moods from the melodic to more aggressive, all this is done over a very nice backing track which also helps maintain the interest.

Stefan Rosqvist conjures up images of Steve Morse on “At Last”, another of the more melodic moments on the album with a strong melody and nice chord progression. Bo Eriksson also offers up some lap steel and steel guitar here to nice effect.

The fantastically titled “The Puffball That Ate My Village” from Phil Yaan Zek has a humourous edge yet sadly this does it make probably my least favourite on the album, fans of Zappa style musical humour may be able to get something from this but I found it rather weak with it not really ever going anywhere.

Arguably 2 of the 3 big names on the album are up next in Milan Polak and Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie) and their class really in self-evident on “Last Minute Call / The Saviour”. In this offering there is the as expected great guitar work from both, but its how they compliment each other very well for this progressive track with the pair trading licks in classic style and its arguably the highlight of the album.

The third big name in Dave Martone is up next and teams up with Chris Buono for “Fumble Fingers” which is a different take to that found on Martone’s recent solo album “When The Aliens Come”. The futuristic sound is once again in evidence and it will probably take most listeners a few spins to get into this one but ultimately is a strong track.

The album then takes on a the Spanish acoustic delights of “Tango Schizophrenia” from Si Hayden and Michael Berk is a great piece of 2 classical guitars with the right blend of mystical Mediterranean qualities and speedy fretwork in some of the solos and is another highlight, all this coming from gloomy Coventry in the UK!

“Warp Drive” from Gianluca Ferro is rock fusion funk meets prog workout which I initially found a little heavy going, but from the 4 minute mark your patience is rewarded when the Gianluca duels with guitarist Scott McGill and keyboardist Alex del Vecchio which makes the track.

Sven Stichter delivers another of the albums highlights in “In The Beginning” which is based over a sampled backdrop of loops, synth and strings. Thorsten Koechne delivers a couple of great solos which have a very nice moody melody with a definite sense of class about it and he also possesses a great vibrato.

Geoff Tyson and Doug Doppler perform “Butterfly/Free Love/Fruit Frenzy” which takes it cues from movie soundtracks with each segment of the title delivering a fresh scene. Clocking in at just over 7 and half minutes there is a lot to digest here, but its all done with great class and just pulls together to create another highlight, and these are two guys I am certainly going to check out further works from.

“Georgia In My Heart” from Dr Ika and Temur Kvitelashvili is a smooth fusion piece with a strong melody based on Georgian urban melodies mixed with western jazz and fusion. A calming way to end the album and one that will put you in a good mood as soon as you play it, an enjoyable way to end the album.

My initial fear when it came to reviewing this album was “how are you gonna make 15 tracks from 30 different artists sit well with each other?” Well special praise must go out to Phil Yaan Zek and LNR owner Matt Williams as they have managed to compile a very listenable and well produced instrumental album, which has a very good flow and is sure to find a welcome home in any household where there is a guitarist that appreciates great playing. Many of these names may well be new to you but take a chance as there is a lot of great music to be found here.

Rating - 90%

Dag Fjellby

A guitar lover’s dream!
Since the other reviews are so long and very well written, I will go for a short review. All people who love guitar music played various and in different style SHOULD OWN this CD. Here you get guitar music covering everything from hard rock to flamenco. Guitar played with great enthusiasm and great skill. If you’re a true guitar fan, buy this CD!