Arrival

Hey hey hey cool kids and everyone else…. My yet-to-see-print review of Strapping Young Lad’s ALIEN is popping up all over the net, most notably as the first and only review of the disc on the official Strapping website (www.strappingyounglad.com). For those who give a damn, here it is, a full month before you can read it in glorious monotone:

The scariest brutality is that filled with passion, with intensity, adrenaline released with a smile. The angry outlash is one thing, but in a world of car bombs and xenophobic foreign policies and Amber Alerts, anger is the new meme, a joke told so often that the laughter is nothing more than knee-jerk reaction. ALIEN is not the rebellious young man seeking attention or euphoric release, but the laughing man with the baseball bat singing songs that might well signal the end of the world.

In many ways, this is the Strapping Young Lad that fans have grown to love. Press releases trumpet the coming of �City�, part II, and there is comforting familiarity in the haunting harmonies, the cinematic structures, the towering layers of sonic assault. Certainly, frontman Devin Townsend is at his peak, blanketing pounding rhythms and crumbling walls of guitar rumble with a unique melodic sensibility and poetic lyrical approach.

Gone, though, is the adolescent undercurrent of anger and voracious hate; this is radio music filtered through fingers that know better and shaped by one of the founders of the new wave of metal. Townsend, as usual, defies categorization, across tracks and within, venturing from thrash to pop to acoustic ballad, never pausing, breathless walk across the mindset of Armageddon. ALIEN signals the beginning and the end of extreme music, challenging the listener to let go and feel the joy of unhindered release.

I’m particularly proud of this one — an inspired bit. If only more music came along that brought out this kind of writing from me.

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