ALIEN CD Release
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Report & Pics by Lord of The Wasteland. Other pics courtesy of Seventh Frame Photography.
?Taking extreme metal to a new level!?
These terms have all been used to describe the music of Vancouver?s Strapping Young Lad and their brand new release, ALIEN, is no exception. Admittedly, the CD was a bit of a ?grower? for me as tracks like ?Love?? and the Pink Floyd-like melodies of ?Two Weeks? narrow the gap between SYL mastermind Devin Townsend?s solo projects and the skull-crushing intensity of this band. Listening to ALIEN is an exercise in unadulterated chaos but?most importantly?that chaos is organized. Every element is right where it should be from the punishing drum work of Gene Hoglan, to the out-of-nowhere guitar shredding present on ?We Ride,? to Townsend?s own brilliance as a producer in capturing this megalith of sound and presenting it in such a way that pummels the listener into submission.
As has become the norm with each release, SYL descended upon Vancouver?s own metal haunt, Scrape Records, on release day to roll out the red carpet for its fans and sign any and all things brought before them. Just past 5:00PM, Scrape owner/guru, JJ, pressed play and the impending mayhem was ushered in with the majestic opening of ?Imperial? echoing through the store as the throng of devoted SYL fans eagerly awaited entrance to meet the band: Devin Townsend (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Jed Simon (guitar), Byron Stroud (bass) and Gene Hoglan (drums). For nearly 90 minutes, the guys posed for pictures, signed CDs, vinyl, magazines, t-shirts, arms, homemade silk hangings?you name it, fans brought it down. Even a chocolate cake emblazoned with ?SYL ALIEN 2005? was presented to the band.
One thing Strapping can never be accused of is being distant or unapproachable to its fans. Hoglan is in the audience at every metal show that rolls through Vancouver and Townsend will also stop and chat with anyone who asks. Simon is the chattiest of the bunch, while Stroud focuses on the business of the band itself. This is a group of professional musicians from diverse backgrounds that somehow manage to come together and create instant classics like 1997?s CITY, which was recently given the honor of being on Revolver Magazine?s list of ?Must Have Metal Albums.? While maintaining their underground cred, the cult following of Strapping Young Lad remains die-hard. Pumped for a six-week North American tour with The Agony Scene, Misery Signals and Reflux, Strapping Young Lad brings the metal masses ALIEN?a manic slice of heaven that will surely continue this band?s march towards the throne of heavy metal domination.
UPCOMING SYL TOUR DATES
04/02 Sugar - Victoria, BC
04/04 The Generator - Prince George, BC
04/05 Starlite Room- Edmonton, AL
04/06 Warehouse- Calgary, AL
04/07 Amigos - Saskatoon, SK
04/08 Riddel Center- Regina, SK
04/09 Pyramid Cabaret- Winnipeg, MAN
04/10 Ascot Room- Minneapolis, MN
04/11 Ranch Bowl- Omaha, NE
04/12 House of Blues- Chicago, IL
04/13 QC Live- Davenport, IA
04/14 Peabody?s Down Under- Cleveland, OH
04/15 Rex Theater- Pittsburgh, PA
04/16 Northern Lights- Clifton Park, NY
04/17 BB King?s- New York, NY
04/18 Caf? Campus- Montreal, QC
04/19 Barrymore?s Music Hall- Ottawa, ONT
04/20 The Opera House- Toronto, ONT
04/21 Penny Arcade- Rochester, NY
04/22 The Chance- Poughkeepsie, NY
04/23 The Palladium- Worcester, MA
04/24 The Trocadero- Philadelphia, PA
04/25 Webster Theatre- Hartford, CT
04/26 Jaxx- West Springfield, VA
04/27 Jesters Pub- Fayetteville, NC
04/29 The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
04/30 The Masquerade - Tampa, FL
05/01 Culture Room - Ft Lauderdale, FL
05/03 Sanctuary- San Antonio, TX
05/04 Trees- Dallas, TX
05/06 The Mason Jar- Phoenix, AZ
05/07 House of Blues- West Hollywood, CA
05/08 New Oasis - Sparks, NV
05/09 The Boardwalk- Orangevale, CA
05/10 The Pound @ Pier 96- San Francisco, CA
05/11 Roseland Grill- Portland, OR
05/12 Fat Tuesday?s Concert Hall- Spokane, WA
05/13 Graceland- Seattle, WA
05/14 Commodore Ballroom- Vancouver, BC
Visit Strapping Young Lad?s official site
Watch the making of ALIEN here
Listen to mp3s of "Shitstorm" and "Love?"
Read my review of ALIEN here
Read the MASSIVE 95-minute interview I did with Gene Hoglan the day before the ALIEN release here.
***Thanks to JJ and Dennis at Scrape for their ever-gracious hospitality & especially to the guys in Strapping Young Lad for giving their time to the local fans.