The Levitation Hex - The Levitation Hex
10-Aug-2012 Label: Quadrum
Produced by Adam Agius and Ren Parese
Playing time: 47.34
Reviewed by Brian Giffin
When Alchemist called time in mid-2010 it brought the curtain down on almost 25 years of Australian metal history. Gone, but not entirely without trace: guitarist Roy Torkington’s criminally under-appreciated Tranquilistics project showed there was a pulse, but life was breathed back into the Alchemist legacy when founder Adam Agius revealed early versions of tracks that have now emerged fully realised on The Levitation Hex.
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that The Levitation Hex sounds like Alchemist, the swirling, dark, grinding, urgent Alchemist of Tripsis, with moments of Organasm-like warmth and, in “Dream Deficit”, the ethereal other-worldliness that marked the glorious Spiritech. From the guitar tone to the progressive chassis bolted solidly to a grinding death metal frame, most of the progenitor’s signatures are there. Chief among them is the distinctive vocals of Agius and his remarkable deep, melodious bellow that can peak to a high note with apparently no effort.
It’s clear that Agius is working within his comfort zone, but for his first excursion outside the format he’d worked with for 18 years, it’s hard to blame him. And when your comfort zone is as wide-ranging as this, it’s also hard to be too critical. He and his bandmates - Alarum's Mark Palfreyman and Scott Young and Ben Hocking from Aeon of Horus - weave something special into every track, whether it be the psychedelic 70s style flourishes of "A Breathing Apparatus", the churning melodic undercurrents of an otherwise angry diatribe like "Manipuliar" or scintillating snatches of quirky guitar throughout. The tunes are tight and focused, with Agius' usual cerebral lyrics examining the dark side of the human psyche, almost self-analytical.
An exceptional first effort from an exceptional band, approaching the zenith of progressive death metal.
1. The Longest Path Possible
3. Scratch a Life, Find a Thief
5. Internal Chatter
6. A Breathing Apparatus
7. Breaking Point
8. Flirting With Schizophrenia
9. Dream Deficit
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