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Elysium Theory - Modern Alchemy CD (album) cover


Elysium Theory


Crossover Prog

3.42 | 22 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The self-released debut from Elysium Theory has really left me stunned. It's certainly not every day that you hear a debut with this much power, emotion, and technical mastery! This young group from New York has created a monumental progressive rock/metal outing with Modern Alchemy; an album that hasn't left my rotation since I first received it in the mail. There are technical hitches along the way, but they seldom distract from the top-notch music that Elysium Theory has created here. This album manages to merge unforgettable melodies with technical prog sensibilities, and the result is nothing short of magnificent! People who enjoy their prog on the heavier side should find a lot to love on Modern Alchemy.

Elysium Theory walks a thin line between progressive rock and progressive metal on Modern Alchemy. The most noticeable influences I can hear are from Dream Theater, Riverside, and Marillion. The technical mastery hints in the direction of their New York-based prog metal brethren, but the heavy atmospheric sections and melodic guitar solos give Elysium Theory their own distinct sound. Modern Alchemy is an album that can easily satisfy progressive metalheads, without ever completely alienating the traditional progressive rock fans.

After opening up with the brief intro "Lorimer's Pulse", the album takes a straight dive into progressive metal excellence with the title track. The rest of the album encompasses power ballads, heavy prog metal riffs, and plenty of unforgettable melodies. One thing that has blown me away about Modern Alchemy is the sheer quality of the vocal melodies and choruses - every song has a highly memorable chorus, which is, in part, due to the spectacular vocals from Dan Peterson. He simply has a stunning voice that is often akin to James LaBrie (circa Images & Words) or Ray Alder. Elysium Theory isn't all about vocal melodies, though, as the musicianship is spectacular across the board. Benny Reyes delivers a perfect level of atmosphere to the album through his keyboards, and even delivers some terrific synth solos. Tim Reid masters metal riffing and emotional solos on Modern Alchemy, and is yet another shining asset to Elysium Theory's sound. Just listen to his solo spot on "The Source"! The rhythm section consisting of Jeff Fister (bass) and Ted Feeney (drums) is also excellent and provides a solid foundation for the rest of the band.

The only significant complaint I have about the entire album is the production. The mix is a bit muddy, the guitars are often drowned by the over-emphasized drums, and the overall sound is lacking in power. The music is certainly good enough to look past its technical setbacks, but a professional production would've definitely benefited Elysium Theory.

All in all, Modern Alchemy is a tremendously successful debut effort from Elysium Theory. This band has a knack for creating terrific melodies, yet never forgets about creating interesting instrumental sections. Elysium Theory is one of the most promising bands from the current U.S. progressive rock scene, and Modern Alchemy is definitive proof of this. I cannot wait to hear what this band has up their sleeve next! Although I have a few gripes with the production, 4 stars are still very much deserved for this stellar effort. I'd recommend all fans of progressive rock and progressive metal to give this excellent band a try - you won't be disappointed.

J-Man | 4/5 |


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