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Strapping Young Lad - Alien

2005 Century Media Records :: Reviewed by Skeksis on 2005-08-03


“How the hell are they going to follow up this one?” I recall muttering upon first listen to the newest long player by metals favorite Canadian psychopathic crew, SYL. Yes, Alien is that good. You will bow down and worship all that is SYL. After the rather stripped down (and quite frankly, rushed ) sound of 2003’s self titled album, Alien finds the band returning with the closet thing to City II we’re every going to get. Never has SYL sound so cluttered, layered, atmospheric and so damn chaotic than on Alien. The tracks are awash in layer upon layers of lush samples and keyboards, adding depth and emotion to the tracks in a way only Devin could muster. Gene Hoglan is simply jaw dropping on this record as well. He is legend, and anyone who questions need only to listen to the first 30 seconds of track 3, Shitstorm. Hoglan comes in blasting like he invented the technique. The mans double bass has never sounded as fast or as technical as it does here. The man is phenomenal. Never has guitarist Jed Simon and mad man Devin sounded this locked in together as well. They simply seem to play as one collective, weaving melody and brutality effortlessly. There are really no leads on this album, but music like this really doesn’t call for them either. Bassist Bryon Stroud, well, you know he’s there locking the rhythm down. Devin himself has never sounded as possessed as he does on here on Alien. And what the band only hinted on SYL is perfected here. Their blend of industrial, atmosphere, and post black metal is so seamless, this could be the start of a new genre all its own. This is defiantly an album that needs repeated listens to, just to pick up all the sounds in the background. And its defiantly one of those rare albums that envelop you, surrounds you than proceeds to choke the sanity out of you. This is raw, unstable emotion put to record and I love it! There is no need to list any standout tracks, because the whole album is a sonic earthquake and slays from the start (though they could have left out closer Infodump, which is just whitenoise that goes on for what seems forever). If you are not a fan of this band, this record may not make you a convert, but if you are, than Alien truly reinforces the fact that SYL is simply one of the most unique and brilliant bands in the genre, and we are all better for it. To put it subtly, f*cking recommended, big time. Welcome back boys.