Released: 2006, Black Lotus Records
Guitar fans – listen up! There is a new name for you to pay attention to: The Alien Blakk, and its leader, Joshua Craig. Joshua is a Los Angeles-based guitarist who has worked with everyone from Rob Halford, to Fear Factory, White Zombie, KISS, Stuck Mojo, and even some decidedly non-metal acts like Coolio and Cypress Hill. Hell, the guy even auditioned for Guns ‘N Roses at one point. However, it’s his current project, The Alien Blakk we’re concerned with.
Featuring Craig Nielson from Flotsam & Jetsam on drums and some guy named David Ellefson on bass, it’s obvious that Joshua was able to gather some top-shelf talent for The Alien Blakk. Make no mistake – MODES OF ALIENATION is an instrumental guitar album through and through and Joshua rips it up throughout. However, it is not a shred album. There are songs on here that range from full-on metal to country to Latin-styled music.
The common thread throughout though is that these are SONGS, not just extended guitar solos with rhythm section backing. As such, both Ellefson and Nielson get plenty of time to show their skills as well. Ellefson especially impressed me as his bass is very clear and he gets to show several different sides of himself that we wouldn’t have heard in Megadeth, or even his newer Avian project.
This album was a complete surprise to me as it totally won me over on my first listen; despite my negative feelings on it at first (I usually hate these types of projects). All three guys on this album are extremely talented musicians and the songs are catchy as hell, despite the lack of vocals. Highly recommended.