SKEPTICISM — Alloy (review)

SKEPTICISM — Alloy album cover Album · 2008 · Funeral Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Wilytank
Five years after 'Farmakon', here comes Skepticism again with another release. In 'Farmakon' I was somewhat turned off by how the keyboards tried to dominate the music in places. Here in 'Alloy', the guitar production has been improved to compensate to make this a much better album. And when I say much better, I mean really.

Arriving at "The Arrival", the guitar is more prominent than the organ keyboards. The vocals are also less low sounding and less monotone. Kind of a shock at first, but I've gotten used to it. Another interesting shocker is that this is an organ based song; and whenever Skepticism does one of these, it's usually scary sounding. However, this song is downright melancholic regardless of how clean the production sounds. 3:48 starts a sorrowful sounding guitar solo to furthur show off the cleaner sounding guitar.

"March October" starts off more atmospheric like. With low rumbling and clean sounding guitar for the first minute before breaking into rhythmic chugging broken up by the slamming on the organ keys. The organs in this song return the scary factor to the music that I'm used to with the organ in Skepticism. For some reason though, I feel that some one of the riffs here was recycled from "Forge" from 'Lead and Aether'. Then at 4:18, the song hits its essential transition to a more melancholic sound only to change back as the song reaches the the 5:40 mark. Soon after though, a guitar lead starts up to keep things interesting. It only sticks around for about a minute before the keys transition the song once more to a different key. Throughout the rest of the song, the riffs get more intense and a guitar solo comes along, but it eventually returns to the initial chugging style.

"Antimony" begins with low bass growling with scary organ keyboards. This song is very strongly organ oriented at first, but nearing and after the 3 minute mark the guitar takes the dominant position and at that point, the song starts to get lighter sounding. Noticeable parts of the song totally lack the organ altogether, but it returns to its scary sounding original line at the 6:09 mark. The song doesn't end that way though. It ends on a low bass tone instead fading away.

Skepticism's other keyboard sound, their more ambient sounding kind, finally makes a return in "The Curtain" to layer on some lighter sounding atmosphere and give the organ a break. This is probably the least negative sounding (so to speak) song on the album. The keyboards give that natural feel that Skepticism are known for, but instead of rainy day mood, it's more of a partly cloudy type mood. The music is kept in this type of mood as we go into the penultimate track, "Pendulum". As we go into this song, the keys sound like string instruments to keep the partly cloudy tone, but more melancholic sounding. Around the 2 and a half minute mark, the song speeds up with the keys playing some beautiful notes and the guitar eventually catching up. Through other transitions, "Pendulum" is able to get my full attention and be my favorite song on the album.

That leaves only "Oars in the Dusk". The organs return here, but they swap places with the ambient sounding keys occasionally. Incidentally, this organ based song is more melancholic sounding much like "The Arrival". Around the three minute mark, we also have clean sounding guitar to break up the procession. There's variations a plenty to keep this song interesting including leading tones on the guitar. As the song reaches it's finally minutes, the guitar riffs get stronger and faster with organs pounding and Matti going through his final lines all to end on a single organ note. At this point, I'd break this paragraph off because the last song on the last three Skepticism albums ends, then starts again to finish off the album. That doesn't happen here on 'Alloy'.

'Alloy' is a Skepticism album that sounds least like a Skepticism album, but there is nothing wrong with that. These songs are really awesome in their own right, especially the last three. I actually wouldn't mind if Skepticism called it quits with this as their last album, but I do hope they make more music.
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