Zestone; Release date: Sept. 3, 2011
Charlotte rock quintet Scapegoat's fifth album, I Am Alien, merges melody with metal forging forward on the same path the band created over its 12 years together. Hitting the ground running, the title track kicks things off with technical riffs, thundering drums and Kit Walters' singing and screaming. The choruses can be catchy — "Welcome to the Space Jam" and "Hell Ain't Freezin' Over" — or fueled by angst-filled emotion that's more guttural — "Transylvania Castlevania" and "Blackbird Medicine" — than just yelling for the hell of it. Overall, the album is smarter than the typical Warped Tour swill that's drowning in soulless screamo sentiments. Scapegoat fuses together genres, balancing the best parts of metal, rock and hardcore without overdoing it. While "White Horse Crash Course" sounds a bit too forced in the '80s style of "we need a ballad on the album to balance things out," the lyrics on "Spellbound" are far too sappy for the strength of the music behind it. "Your love is like a fairy tale, and I can't believe it's real" sounds more like something you'd hear from a boy band than any brand of metal. The strongest parts are solid and show the maturity the band has developed over more than a decade, while the weakest moments show there's always room to grow.