In my opinion this is one of the best SYL's CDs, second only to the mind-blowing "City". You'll find all the massive brutality you're used to hear from them (Gene is a true drum machine!), but with some interesting experimentations: an example far all is the chindren's voices used in Possessions, absolutely amazing, strange and mesmerizing. I think that with this CD all the Devin Townsend's genius come out, one more time. I recently bought this item, just after few months Devin abandoned SYL project: this is surely a shame, it was a band completely diverse from Devin Townsend's other works, which we cannot found in any of them. Besides, I completely understand his choice: to experiment every time a totally new sound and music style. Make yourself a huge favour and take a look to other Devin's projects, you'll figure out one certain thing about him: he's a true genius. Enjoy!
dear lord,this is the business,such ferocity,such anger,such a fun album,hold on did i just use that last sentence,fun in an album this heavy,it seems i did,strapping young lad know heavy,they know intensity,they know melody and they know quirkyness,devin is a frontman driven by some fun loving demon,this is such a good album,it kicks off with imperial and in that one song you feel the sheer class of the band as it leads into the breataking skeksis and then we are rocking,strapping aint for everyone,they are for those who want to be ripped to pieces,i just wish to add that genes drumming is some of the best i have ever heard and i have heard alot of metal drumming,hail hail strapping young lad
Brutal, intelligent, heavy, harmonic and heart wrenched. This album is probably one of the best metal records ever made with Devin Townsends trade mark combination of complex arrangements and crushing guitars. What sets this album out from the crowd is the elegance everything is conducted with. A metal song about love, having a family? It doesn't sound metal, but you have to either love this or get out of the scene.
brought this album on the strength of hearing"love" rest of the album is just as good,couple of duff tracks at the end but all in all an excellent album,if you like it fast and powerfull then its for you,devons voice is amazing,cant fault the band,turn up to 11 and smash youre head till it dont hurt!
A couple of other reviews (and Devin himself) have noted that Alien doesn't quite reach the dizzy heights of City. But then what does? This is still a fearsome achievement, and still stands head and shoulders above the best work of most heavy bands.
The big question now every time any Strapping Young Lad album is released is `is it as good as City?', and going by a number of reviews I was hopeful that Alien would finally be the album to topple it, but sadly in my opinion it doesn't come close. This isn't to say that this 4th Strapping Young Lad album is a bad record, but it simply does not match the overwhelming intensity of City - where City was a short sharp attack on the senses, Alien is a more restrained rambling album. There's quite a lot of variety on the album - at one extreme `Two Weeks' is an acoustic pop ballad, and album closer `Info Dump' is an instrumental Merzbow-style soundscape that will probably bewilder those metal fans not already au fait with the pure noise genre. Where I think Alien loses some of it's impetus is during it's middle section, as once past the opening trilogy the album does slow down with a number of mid-pace groove-based songs: `Love?' sounds like the albums MTV-friendly heavy metal single, while `Shine' and `Possessions' continue the plodding format. There are plenty of great moments on Alien, Gene Hoglan's drumming is inspired and the addition of some odd female backing vocals works well, but altogether this is an interesting album, but far a bit too flabby and restrained to challenge City. Good - but not the classic I've been waiting for.
NB: If you can get hold of the Japanese version for the bonus tracks - the live version of `In The Rainy Season' and the extended version of `Love?' (featuring a new mid-song riff section) are reasonable, but the real bonus is the excellent cover of Melvin's song `Zodiac'.