SCORE - 70%
Legacy Swedish AOR act Alien deliver their seventh studio album here, the first to see them turn their traditional style on its head in an attempt to reach a new crowd.
So Alien have ‘gone metal’ here, albeit metal with a strong melodic edge and the unmistakable voice of Jim Jidhed reminding us of their true AOR origins.
I’ve seen some very mixed fan responses to this and my initial reaction was very negative. However, despite an absolutely horrendous production (yes, that issue again and a pretty consistent theme of the last 3 Alien albums), there are some great songs on here to enjoy.
I do think the guys are having a bet both ways, with the album split between the new hard rock sound and several lighter AOR songs that could have come from any previous album.
It’s a hard call – do you fully embrace a new sound with all the risks that entails, or do you try and do something different and mix in the old sound to try and keep old fans happy.
Hard to make a cohesive album with two different styles and I think that’s what holds this album back. Not to mention that Jim really struggles vocally on some of the heavier numbers, especially the painful to listen to What Are We Fighting For and Into The Future.
Of the ‘metal’ songs I really like the opening salvo of You Still Burn and Night Of Fire, the band don’t sound any better than they do on these two tracks.
On the other hand, ‘classic’ Alien can be heard with the more keyboard friendly Time Is Right, Freedom Wind and Fallin Way Down.
It’s a mixed album with mixed results and yes, mixed feelings. I think I’ll probably pick a few tunes here and there for separate playlists, but as a start to finish album, there’s something not quite right about ‘metal’ Alien and the production/mix is very muddy to say the least.