Alienatör Celebrates their Regrets

By Justin Allec

It’s a fitting time for local trio Alienatör to release their second album Regrets. For most of us, including the band, this “new normal” looks and feels just as bad as the “old normal,” meaning this local trio have all the justification they need to bring the misery. The band’s 2019 debut Pariahs was a cold shot of sludgy metal, a punked-up collection of bangers announcing to Thunder Bay that hey, here’s a band with convictions and the abilities to match. One pandemic and a lot of downtime later, Regrets finds the band leveling up with confidence.

“It’s a more cohesive batch of songs. The pandemic allowed us to slow down, to focus on writing the best songs without any distractions. We couldn’t play any shows or do any promotion, so that whole side of being a band got ignored,” band member Brad King says.
Regrets goes for the throat from the first track. This is a different band from their debut album. For one, the line-up has been solid for years. Brad King still mans guitars and vocals, the ever-reliable Sean Skillen provides bass and backing screams, and not-so-new drummer Simon Paquette shows just why he was such a catch with propulsive, inventive skin bashing. Alienatör’s new songs may be misanthropic, but they’re also exciting, with a unique blend of the downtrodden sounds of punk, sludge, noise, and crust. There’s more room to breathe on each track, which makes the multitude of twists and turns hit a lot harder—by second listen you’ll be screaming right along with the choruses. It’s tough to pick favourites, but the band did you a favour by filming three live-from-the-basement videos that showcase the intensity. Check out “The Priest” on YouTube for starters, then dive into the rest of the album.

Along with making new music, Alienatör is also playing shows again, which is a different kind of work. “Ugh, we had to get back in shape again. I hadn’t sung in years,” King laughs. It’s here that Alienatör does notice a change for the better. With restrictions on social gatherings in place for so long, a live show feels more like a celebration than an obligation. “There’s a whole group of kids that came of age during the pandemic that didn’t get a chance to go out. People are excited to be at shows again; no one is taking it for granted,” King says. With recent performances at Tumblestone and an album release show at Black Pirates Pub reigniting the band’s spark, Alienatör are ready to show audiences how much fun it can be to tear it all down.