Review: “Pariahs” by Alienatör

Alienatör are a Sludge Metal band from Thunder Bay Ontario Canada who want simply one thing. To destroy your mind. Guitarist and vocalist Brad King writes the lyrics while the band as a whole write the music with Josh Hogan handling Drums, Percussion and Back-up Vocals leaving Sean Skillen to play Bass. The full debut from Alienatör is a independent release following their 2016 demo and a two track album teaser of unmastered cuts. It was recorded and mixed by Sean Skillen at Exit Music Studios and features cover art from Peter David Wragg.

After the radio station channel tuning of “~~~~~~~~” that serves as a 21 second introduction “False Hope” kicks the truck into gear with a groove laden Sludge Metal riff and screamed vocals with lyrics offering an insight into the mind of Brad King and his view on modern society. That is that false hope of anti-depressants are keeping us alive when we can’t cope with the pressure of our modern lives. Which is the simple truth of it all. The whispered vocals for a bridge that steps up into the final chorus is a impressive note. Including a surprise blast beat section and some interesting chord progressions “Morgue Bait” gets heavier as it plays out with some deeper Death Metal inspired growls from Curtis Wilson of Norris alternating between Brad King’s gruff uncleans. Lyrically it’s a song that Wednesday 13 would be proud of and the pause break ending with feedback makes you think it’s going to step into another verse but instead it cuts dead. “Wish In One Hand….” Starts in more classical Metal with harmonic guitar introduction that then comes back as a lead part later on. It has some solid tempo shifts and the step back into that melodic lead part is flawless. The production of the album overall is clean and clear with a decent balance in the mix and a fuzz to the guitars that gives it an uncharacteristic warmth for the genre.

Achieving the same thing as the introduction piece is a cut actually called “((((((()))))))” but… iTunes wouldn’t accept that title so the band cunningly re-titled it “Interlude 1”. It’s the pallet cleaning break of an iced lemon sorbet during a 25 course tasting menu. It’s a group of speech samples interweaved neatly that then bursts into “Renovicted” the bands ode to Vancouver. A thunderstorm of a cut that has a Cancer Bats esq Hardcore Punk sound to it, it’s the shot of bourbon to the sorbet. Their are a couple of interesting drum patterns in it that give it a Louisiana Jazz feel in places which is very nice indeed. “Drag The River” has a couple of choice tempo shifts with the Sludge Metal moving to the Hardcore Punk pacings while King delivers some seriously savage uncleans. We should mention the likely influence of Weedeater at this point because it’s them rather than Crowbar that you can hear in the bands sound. “LHR” is fast and free, a 126 second shotgun blast of riffage that is distinctive and catchy.

The third interlude “oooo0OO0oooo” is a strange combination of Moog and programming that is strange enough to make you want to listen again and when it dies, instrumental “Intravenous Flytrap” takes over as the next member of the relay team. A 2 minute riff fest without the vocals it is a full on headbangable track with no holes barred. The gallop of “Reptilian Endoskeleton” has a fresh vigour after the instrumental break with the vocals hitting like a wolf in the face threatening to bite your ears off. Musically it has a clever rise and fall to it and the progressively faster change ups are more than sufficient to satisfy even the most hardened metalhead. “Neon Black” is the oxymoron of a title that injects a sense of humour into an album of blitzkrieg thunder and lightening sludge. It’s a cut that is lyrically light instead taking you on a largely instrumental rollercoaster thrill ride second to none. Taking things back down the route of “False Hope” for its subject matter “Dead Inside” is either King telling himself to quit modern society or telling us that it’s causing us to all be dead inside. It’s a brutally fun cut that makes clever use of a buried synth in places before fading to close on a piano note. “Pariahs” is a very fine velvet jacket on a homeless man and we love it! [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. ~~~~~~~~
  2. False Hope
  3. Morgue Bait (ft. Curtis Wilson of Norris)
  4. Wish In One Hand….
  5. Interlude 1
  6. Renovicted (Ode to Vancouver)
  7. Drag The River
  8. LRH
  9. oooo0OO0oooo
  10. Intravenous Flytrap (Instrumental)
  11. Reptilian Endoskeleton
  12. Neon Black
  13. Dead Inside

“Pariahs” by Alienatör is out now

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