without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
...that's the first word that comes to mind with this album.
Imagine having your head strapped to one end of the anvil at the Hellforge while a devilish-looking clown slams a giant hammer repeatedly down on the other end. All the while, a twisted children's choir chimes away as Lucifer himself plays epic melodies on a keyboard and Devin Townsend goes completely overboard with his wildly unstable vocals on top of it all with lyrics that are completely fucking insane... and there's Alien's sound signature. This album is relentless in its punishment, non-stop in its aggression, and utterly adept at not taking itself seriously. Filled with massive riffing, tight and inhumanly accurate drumming, huge bass dives, and monstrous production, Alien never apologizes for leaving your brain splattered all over the wall.
The album is also catchy as hell. Between Devin Townsend and Jed Simon ripping heaviness incarnate out of their guitars, Gene Hoglan pounding you over the head incessantly with beats and patterns that are not of this earth, and Byron Stroud holding it all together with bass hits that threaten to implode your skull, Alien still manages to display touches of glorious melody and epic stature that turn this entire experience into one sadistic trip that you'll probably end up welcoming with open arms.
Devin's voice is one of the highlights here. He rages, screams, soars, and sings like a madman ready to take out a city full of people with an army of demonic teddy bears at his back... and his lyrics resemble the ramblings of a brain on the verge of collapse from attempting to calculate Pi to thirty million digits. The insanity of it all is what makes this so awesome. The music is absurdly spontaneous... what sounds like vibraphones, small children singing innocently, and harmless keyboard lines are interspersed through ass-kicking metal... and there's Devin singing about stealing your heart and soul, having babies, Disneyland, gods and demons, infinity, polynomial colors, the multiverse, and who knows what else.
There's some small respite in "Two Weeks", which is Floyd'ish psychedelia that seems to have jumped in a time machine and landed face first into the completely wrong genre of music, but I guess it just reinforces the fucked up nature of this album as a whole.
The only real downpoint to this album is the last track, Info Dump. This isn't really a song so much as it is a bunch of static that goes on for about twelve minutes. I have no idea why bands like to do shit like this, but at least they put it at the very end... so I just look at Alien as a 42-minute album and consider the damage reversible.
Anyway, this kicks ass. Completely insane. Devin Townsend is mad... simple as that.