Album 0267: Strapping Young Lad – Alien

StrappingYoungLad-Alien

Release Date: 2005
Genre: Extreme Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Imperial (02:18)
2. Skeksis (06:43)
3. Shitstorm (04:23)
4. Love? (04:53)
5. Shine (05:14)
6. We Ride (02:38)
7. Possessions (04:13)
8. Two Weeks (03:29)
9. Thalamus (03:58)
10. Zen (05:03)
11. Info Dump (11:56)

Total Length: 54:45

Imperial pulls no punches. There are no slow buildups like some other Strapping Young Lad albums. This starts and almost never stops. The song has some neat vocal moments, but is ultimately just a lead-in. Skeksis starts off strangely for me. The first two minutes are an intro in itself, and after having a two-minute intro track as well it feels like it takes too long to get to the meat of the song. Once it does reach that point I love it. There are layered vocals by Devin that are incredible as well as some cool percussion stuff going on and weird little bits like horn blasts.

Shitstorm was a song I wanted to love simply because of the name. I still really like it but it’s oddly not as intense as I think it could be. Make no mistakes, it is pretty relentless but not completely living up to its name. Love? is a good track. I can see why it was picked as the single for the album, even though it’s not my favorite on here. The chorus is a bit catchy. Shine has some neat things in it but it semi-forgettable for me. This is about the point in the album where fatigue starts to set in, personally. The tracks have been non-stop with no change of the pace the whole time.

We Ride is fast as crap and a bit better than the last few tracks for me. The guitar solos are kind of neat. Possessions turns down the tempo just a bit and gets a bit more varied in what it does. I really enjoy the… kids chorus (I think) in the chorus. Just cool stuff all over this track. Two Weeks finally gives us the first calm moment in the album, only thirty minutes in! It’s quite beautiful in fact. Thalamus holds onto this upswing in good feelings by being something more like the opening tracks on Deconstruction. It’s pretty neat.

Zen has a cool ass intro and is just a really strong ending to the album. This last set of tracks is quite something in all honesty. Info Dump is sort of a codex (I believe I’m using that correctly). I don’t consider it part of the album in reality, it’s just something that plays once the songs are over. It’s basically static and random noises that build up to a heaviness that is supposed to represent how Devin felt when he stopped taking his bipolar medication. Just not really worth listening to for me at least. Like I’ve hinted at, this album’s structure just doesn’t get me to listen to it often. Ear fatigue sets in after a while and that kills the entire thing. There are still some really great tracks and moments but as an album it falls a tiny bit flat.

Final Rating: 7/10

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