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December 6, 2023

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Strapping Young Lad
Alien (Century Media)

By: Mike SOS

Devin Townsend's warped mind has once again spawned a work of genius, as the uber metal quartet Strapping Young Lad's fourth album Alien has landed. The 11-track collection takes extreme metal to new and exciting heights, as Townsend, backed by drum guru Gene Hoglan, bass master Byron Stroud, and guitarist extraordinaire Jed Simon, turns up the intensity to astronomical proportions, blending industrial, death, grind, and groove into their mighty metal cauldron. Speed freaks will rejoice over the frenzied pace of "We Ride" and the volatile velocity of "Shitstorm", but there's a lot more to SYL than speed. The tortured choir-led anthem "Love?" and the moody acoustics of "Two Weeks" which lapses into Opeth-esque dreamscape of "Thalamus" seem out of place, and may have belonged to another one of Townsend's musical projects, yet both manage to make a discernible impact with SYL at the helm. The musicianship here is flawless, and Devin's maniacal vocal delivery and infinite musical visions are wondrous to say the least. Alien is experimental, gritty, brutal, and above all, a masterful array of metal that anyone who enjoys the extreme side of the genre should explore.
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