CD Review

The Soil Bleeds Black – “Alchemie”

By Theo DeRoth

AlchemieI should love this album. It fulfills most of my criteria: The musicianship is good, the lyrics are largely inaudible, and – I am this shallow – the packaging for this re-released edition is really nice. And I’m pretty keen on the middle ages. The Hobbit was one of my favorite books when I was little. But I just can’t do it. I can’t make myself like Alchemie.

As I said, it fulfills most of my (loose and unreliable) criteria. The music is interesting and well played, with flowing melodies and pleasantly pounding drums. It’s evocative and misty in all the right ways, and the music is well complemented by the vocals, provided alternately by the brothers Riddick and Ms. Eugenia Wilson. The brothers – multi-talented Mark and Michael Riddick – do a good job of faintly gnomish muttering, and Ms. Wilson brings a lively, earthy flutter to the sound. The lyrics are largely unintelligible, but this isn’t a problem, and many of the tracks are primarily instrumental.

So what’s not to like about the album?

There’s just too much of everything on it. The instrumentation feels too lush. The lyrics – when you can make them out – too floral. The entirety of Alchemie feels like a bouquet that’s almost ready to fall apart. This is something that seems to be a recurring problem for the Riddick brothers – their illustrations are not without a certain over-the-top quality.

On the other hand, there are worse things than being a little “too much.” While cutting back a little on the instruments and on the production wouldn’t have hurt, at least all that’s there is good. And that, my friends, is a task for a medieval warrior.

Contact Information:
The Fossil Dungeon
Post: 43796 Tattinger Ter, Ashburn, VA 20148-3125, USA
E-Mail: michael@fossildungeon.com
Web: www.fossildungeon.com

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