Monday, December 16, 2013

Strapping Young Lad - Alien (2005)

When I saw that the fourth album by Strapping Young Lad was entitled "Alien", I hoped for music that was out of this world (or at least that it would have more personality than its self-titled predecessor), especially after the amount of pain I had to suffer for listening at "Devlab". But I already knew what this album was going to present before me, a heavy death/thrash/industrial assault that would blow my brain out.

And not surprisingly, "Alien" delivered just what I was expecting. It delivered typical Strapping Young Lad metal that had enough power to run over me with a steamroller. You would think that the pure energy in the song (with the fitting name) "Shitstorm" would be enough to power up the album, but the band did not think so. Instead, they packed almost every song in this album with a lot of determination, hard hitting force, and, of course, comedy. There is so much of it that there is plenty to spare for the next album.

And the chaos continues in several other tracks, like "Skeksis", "We Ride" and "Possessions". Actually, the only song on the album that seem to have a stable and clear musical structure is "Love?". With an infectious riff, a epic chorus and surprisingly interesting lyrics, "Love?" impresses me a lot. It is the most well controlled song in this album that is filled with chaotic craziness. A clear leader that will lead its equals towards victory.

But then came the shocker at the end of the album. The band ended "Alien" with three calm songs. Okay, I know that "Zen" and "Thalamus" are not technically calm, but compared to some of the other songs in "Alien", they sound like something out of a Lionel Richie album. But the third song, "Two Weeks", is a slower song that probably would have been more fitting in one of Devin's solo projects, but I will allow it this time since it give "Alien" some much needed variation. Besides, it is a nice song that is easily likable, and I guess that even the biggest of Strapping Young Lad fans needs a break from the angry assaults sometimes.

I have heard that "Alien" is considered as a very different Strapping Young Lad album, but I do not see much difference between this record and any other SYL album. It has all the elements that defines SYL, and together with some important variation, I would consider this to be one of the better albums by the band. But even if "Two Weeks" is a good song, I would like Devin to keep these kinds of songs in his solo project and not in SYL. That is the only baggage that this album is carrying with.

Songs worthy of recognition: Love?, Shitstorm, We Ride

Rating: 8,5/10 Possessions

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