Strapping Young Lad – Alien (2005)

April 16, 2016
Strapping Young Lad – Alien (2005)

I was introduced to Strapping Young Lad when I was in sixth form. Angela Gossow-era Arch Enemy were touring the UK and SYL were main support, so my friend Gavin sent me some tracks of theirs over MSN Messenger (those were the days, eh?) and within seconds I was like – “errrr…fuck this Arch Enemy shite”. The first track I was sent was “Shitstorm”, track 3 off this intense, industrial, almost symphonic death metal beast (I’m just stringing words togethers as genres these days and hope that it works), and I was instantly hooked on the chaos.

Devin Townsend is nothing short of a music genius, but lets not forget that the man was once a complete mess. Mix those two things together and the outcome is worryingly brutal; I genuinely fear the twisted mind who decided “Skeksis” was a good idea for a song. Gene Hoglan’s drum performance on this record is nothing short of pummelling – nonstop as if Agoraphobic Nosebleed sampled Fear Factory’s drum sounds. If I had to say one thing bad about this record is that the whole thing is a bit over-compressed, but even that kinda works with the wall-of-sound style of production that is going on.

Devin and pals are now onto pastures far more progressive and calmer, but this will always be one of my absolute favourites from that ever-revolving canon of musicians. There’s so much more to this record than the “Love?” single; this is a tangled, schizophrenic, digital web of distilled hyper-speed industrial metal (kinda like Meshuggah on intra-muscular steroids and bath salts).

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