Alien Strapping Young Lad - Devin Townsend

This album changed everything for me. After Alien, I knew I was finished with SYL. After Alien, I knew I needed to change my lifestyle. The events leading up to this album, as well as the circumstances surrounding the recording were disruptive to the point where I truly thought I had destroyed myself and my mind. The patterns of my creative cycles are very obviously circular (as we see from the timeline here), but the realization of that has lead me to where I am today (thankfully).

Essentially, Alien was a manic episode that I encouraged, and that was encouraged by the people in my life at the time to the point of a psychological collapse. I felt that because I had become ‘known’ (despite my best intentions) for the self-titled SYL record, I suppose my ego couldn’t abide the criticism again of another half assed record. I decided to really give Alien my all, and go as far into my process as I recalled myself doing for Infinity.

Despite Infinity being a complete drama, there was this nagging ‘romanticism’ of the ‘martyr-artist’ thing I had driven myself to that I thought I could reach again and make a ‘classic statement’ in the metal genre. Based on pushing myself further than ‘anyone had gone’, The things that came naturally during ‘City’, were now having to be ‘forced’ and the scene that surrounded SYL had become increasingly more violent and entwined with things I admit in hindsight I knew very little about, so my lyrical bend was skewed.

There is a thought that some people can’t be happy unless they’re angry, or depressed, or what have you, and when I was capable (and willing) of taking myself to that limit, I found myself in a scenario that fed on itself to a dark and malignant end. I dug the attention and allowed myself to stop taking the medications that had controlled this during Terria, however, I refused to admit that my dependence of marijuana and alcohol had any ill effects, but were what was ultimately fuelling the distorted vision.

I wrote very closely with Gene Hoglan on this album, rehearsing every day at his house. In fact, if there’s anything from Alien that I can recall as truly positive, it was the steps I had made as a musical friend with him during that time. We argued, we compromised, and we ultimately made something that was better than either of us could do on our own. To say I miss that is an understatement, however, the product of the two of us together created something that I was so ultimately uncomfortable with that it left me despondent for the entire tour cycle following.

I wrote the last song in my basement at 4 in the morning ‘Info Dump’ with Morse code and mathematical ideas that although was clever and I thought ‘pushed the envelope’, left me a horrified shell of a person. The paranoia and fear of myself and my situation haunted me till very recently. However, from a distance, and several years away from it… I would say this album is a very proud moment for me as an artist. But a huge portion of that pride comes with the knowledge that I learned my lessons the hard way, and have no intention of repeating them.


6.“We Ride”2:37
8.“Two Weeks”3:28
11.“Info Dump”11:56