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Alchemy: Never Too Late

It's been a long journey for Brescia's Alchemy, the band finally conjuring enough spells to make a full length album after roughly ten years together. Two EPs appeared in the meantime, tracks from Rise Again and D.A.R.E.D also featuring here. So, prolific Alchemy are not, the band's 80s inspired hard rock only resulting in eight tracks and an introduction; "The Place Men Call Hell" running for a mighty 43 seconds and sounding like the precursor to a Nightwish like outing of symphonic metal. That a quick blast of Wingerish Van Halen like guitars rush forth at the start of "Diablo" therefore makes what came before rather superfluous. The introduction setting a scene that simply never comes into view. However, "Diablo" and its powering guitars do make you sit up and take notice. The vocals from Marcello Spera, in truth, are more run of the mill 80s attitude over results, but he does a good job of fitting in with the overall Alchemy ethos. With "Alcohol Symphony" bringing the keys more to the fore and emphasising some gang vocals, a sleazy, party vibe is created, the tasty fret work from Christiano Stefano also becoming a welcome addition – flash without being overbearing and fleet of finger without hogging the limelight.

Like much of Never Too Late – the album name surely alluding to how long it's taken this band to get their music out there – the title track maintains the interest without ever really making you marvel in wonder at what Alchemy have to say, another keyboard heavy slice of retro rock given an outing. "Blessed Path" veers into the unblessed territory of the power ballad and does an OK job of wringing the emotions, before "End Of The Line" returns to the upbeat, uptempo rock that Steve Vai led David Lee Roth up his Skyscraper with. And while we're certainly not operating at that high watermark, alongside the likes of the aforementioned "Diablo", if these Italian lads could fill an album full of corking rockers like this, then they'd be on to a winner.

"Rise Again" heads into the sort of under appreciated AOR territory Mama's Boys mined so successfully with their misunderstood Growing Up The Hard Way album. And it does it well, but with "Get Out" sounding a little leaden and "My Way Home" lacking the sort of memorable chorus that a forceful piece of melodic rock needs, things close out with just a little less excitement than they really should. Or they would if there wasn't a hidden ballad tacked on the end as a bonus cut. In truth, it's not really worth waiting through the couple of minutes of silence before it begins…

There's a lot to like here and a nothing to hate. Still, that doesn't stop much of Never Too Late from struggling to truly capture the imagination. When they get it right Alchemy prove they have the skills to rekindle some superb 80s sounds, but too often things are allowed to meander without any real purpose. Hopefully they can get a completely new batch of songs together quick sharp, because there's no doubting this lot could be real contenders, but they do need to work a little harder at separating the winners from the also rans.

Track Listing
1. The Place Men Call Hell
2. Diablo
3. Alcohol Symphony
4. Never Too Late
5. Blessed Path
6. End of the Line
7. Rise Again
8. Get Out
9. My Way Home

Added: August 5th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Never Too Late at CD Baby
Hits: 1175
Language: english

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