Alien Syndrome 777 is an Italian, French and Spanish recording project, featuring Alessandro Rossi, Smohalla's Vincent Cassar and As Light Dies' Oscar Martin on vocals. Formed in 2007, this act has been exploring the bizarre edges of the black metal scene, influenced not only by a large array of bands but also by their own skills, craftsmanship and by science fiction. After a few releases, they now come up with an inner journey named 'Outer'.
And what a journey it has become.
This might be one of the most varied black metal albums to date, without stepping outside of the genre's boundaries much. Listening to some of these songs, bands like Abigor, Limbonic Art, Mörk Gryning and Dodheimsgard often come to mind, which is something I can only applaud as those were bands I was fascinated by back in the days. This album seems to have a similar effect on me.
The frightening intro 'An Unconscious Reflection' is a great piece of dark ambient and so is the outro 'Black Box' by the way. You don't really know what exactly is going on but you know something horrifying is about to happen. It's like you're trapped somewhere in an unknown region of outer space and you can feel something approaching but you have no idea what.
Then it happens. 'Symmetriads' immediately comes up with an astounding blend of atmospheric black metal and industrial. Fierce riffs, an inhuman set of blast beats and simple but eerie keyboards blast through my skull, accompanied with great vocals, awesome vocals even. I really dig the use of electronics and effects on this song and on most of this album. It adds a lot of intensity.
THere also seem to be some post-black metal elements but in a way I don't think they're intended to be there, much like the earlier mentioned industrial influences. Hardcore punk and sludge metal might also be seen as influences but again, not intended to be there. It really feels like the whole comes quite natural to this trio. The confusing strangeness of songs like 'The Bleeding Anthill of the Universe' sounds organic, as if the music grew and evolves on its own.
Hell, you can even add gothic or folk metal to the list of influences since there's a number of brilliant clean chanted, mid- to uptempo passages. Just when I finally discovered all these different elements, 'Unearthly Reveries Unveiled' comes up with something I can only describe as 'true black metal'. Damn, this is a fierce piece of extreme music, well able to wipe its ass with everything Immortal has ever done.
So, if you're still reading this instead of buying this album, you should stop reading now and go buy the album. It's a masterpiece and it just might be this year's number one black metal album. At least, if you're in for something bizarre, frightening and throat piercing. Yes, 'throat piercing, believe me, it's a bloody good description. No go buy this thing dammit...