Released: 2005, Frontiers Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Alien was one of the first major melodic hardrock act from Sweden during the late 80’s-early 90’. When the band was laid to rest in 1997 they had gone through some serious member changes which we will come to later on. It all began in Gothenburg, Sweden, back in 1987 with the band leader Tony Borg which is the only remaining original member in the band today. After the band had split up, out came two albums, one was a double disc collection called BEST OF (1997) and the other one was a live album simply called LIVE IN STOCKHOLM 1990 (2001).
Now Tony Borg has reunited with the original singer Jim Jidhed. Besides Tony and Jim we have the newcomers in the band, Bernie on bass, Jan on drums and Mats on keyboards. Alien still plays melodic hardrock but I think that it sounds like they have used a little less keyboard compared to before. You can also sense some influences by 70’s retro rock. Even though they play more guitar-based music today, they still have the distinct Alien sound intact.
Unfortunately, the production sounds not good at all, sounding tired and leaving more to wish for, like heavier guitars, more space for keyboards. Also, why isn’t Jim higher up in the mix? Tony has done the production and I wonder if maybe he isn’t able to produce anymore because a production of the 21st century should definitely NOT sound like this.
I have listen to this album quite a lot and feel that almost all of the 11 tracks feel more or less weak, tired and poor. The musicians are great but the material hasn’t got what it takes in the long run and the band have a long way to go before they are in the same class they were when it all began. But there a few songs that stands out a bit and those are “Dark Eyes” and “Don’t Go Away”, which are two melodic hard rock songs containing a lot of tempo changes and heavy guitar play. Jim is at the top of the mix and gets proper help in the catchy choruses. In “Fallen Eagle” Alien sounds just like when they were at the top, it’s keyboard based melodic hardrock at its absolute best. “Wild One” starts off with an intro consisting of acoustic guitar and lead vocals; this is a song that has a distinctive flair of blues in it. We have some 70’s retro hardrock in the veins of Thin Lizzy in the song “Riding with the Wind”.
“Oh Sara”, “Fire (The Game)”, “Don’t Fight It”, “Are You Ready” are just as the titles say ballads and up tempo ballads. It’s in these songs that Jim shows that he still has the ability to sing damn good, it’s just sad that he don’t shows us that in the rest of the 11 tracks.
This album feels like a half-hearted way of getting in the business once again, but unfortunate I don’t think that Alien is going to gain any new fans with this album. I do think though that the older fans are going to buy the album in order to check out what their old heroes are up to.
Killer tracks, “Dark Eyes”, “Don’t Go Away”, “Wild One” and “Riding with the Wind”.
Also available at: http://www.atenzia.com