Danish progressive doom band Alkymist deliver a stirring portrait of simmering intensity on their new album Sanctuary, which is available now via the (also Danish) label Indisciplinarian. The riffing itself feels like it heaves with the ominously resounding force of a sky full of swirling clouds that feel like they’ve somehow come to life with a menacing fury, to take a cue from the haze-ridden cover art.
The enrapturing music combines the emotionally pervasive, immersive atmosphere of towering doom with the thundering riffs of the heaviest sludge and even some of the intricacy of frenzied, progressive death metal-esque riffing. All of these elements feel closely united on Sanctuary, which proceeds with an always dead-set intensity made especially personable via the rapidly shifting dynamics. The band have captured a fascinating balance between beastliness and allure, like they have launched past a point of the rawest breakdown into the areas in which some newly forceful order gets established. Real strength and confidence feel like they define the band’s performances, which feature always quite powerful tones shaped to be as piercing as necessary without letting go of the oppressively heavy atmospherics in the background.
From the very first track, Alkymist’s latest music proves startlingly heavy, and yet, the band also include strikingly engaging rhythms that make the fiery mayhem of the riffs feel like it’s gotten funneled into some kind of powerful weapon. This feeling of a formidable power pops at standout moments like the sudden progression into speedy lurches of heavy riffing around the middle point of “The Dead,” although the band make their moments of contemplative atmosphere that precede and follow those segments pop with similarly resounding force.
Ultimately, the textures of the riffing on this album feel truly stunningly rich. For example, on standout track “Draugr,” the band’s meaty guitar work sounds like it’s basically following right along with the intricately powerful drums in terms of the whirring force in the sound. On this particular track, the guitars break into a slower, sludgier pummeling as the song draws to a close, which gives the music a lasting, searing impression.
Alkymist feel like they’ve really turned their music’s already super heavy elements into a very immersive experience without coming anywhere near to sacrificing the heaviness aspect of their songs. Sanctuary feels strikingly fresh right from the get-go.
Check out the music below!