"Alien" is the 4th studio album by Canadian industrial metal band, Strapping Young Lad. It was released in 2005 on Hevy Devy Records and produced by front man, Devin Townsend. The line-up for the album was Devin Townsend (vocals/guitar), Jed Simon (guitar), Byron Stroud (bass) and Gene Hoglan (drums).
Strapping Young Lad is a bad you either love or you hate, and it's difficult to pinpoint why but I'll try to outline the reasons in this review. The main thing with SYL is, compare them to a horror movie. If you're too afraid to look, you probably shouldn't. The same can be said for Strapping Young Lad; If you think they're too much to handle, they likely are.
This album begins with a pounding blast, has plenty of pounding blasts in the middle of it, and ends in a pounding blast. The master of drums, Gene Hoglan, is at his very best here, and it's refreshing to hear him push the limits as far as his playing goes as he's been one of my favourite drummers for some time now.
What can you expect of "Alien"? It's noticeably very heavy with monster riffs and drum beat blasts galore but there are slower tempo songs on the album. "Love?" is one such track, and was the only single from the album, as well as "Possessions" and the acoustic and mellow "Two Weeks". Other stand-out songs include "We Ride" with its frantic solo, and the album's closing song, "Zen".
In summary, "Alien" is perhaps not Strapping Young Lad's best album, but it's still a good album nonetheless. Musically, I don't think Devin was sure where he was going at the time of writing and recording it, which is better documented on his solo music, going from ambience on one album to extreme noise on another. I would definitely recommend this album to anyone, as a fan of the band, but perhaps you should steer clear if you're not open to the unknown.
6. We Ride
8. Two Weeks
11. Info Dump
My rating: 7/10
Disc #1 Tracklisting
6 We Ride
8 Two Weeks