Alien Ant Farm make a welcome return with ‘Always and Forever’

Alien‘Always and Forever’
Alien Ant Farm (The End)
3.5 stars out of 5

Alien Ant Farm were riding high in 2001. Their alt-metal cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” topped the modern rock charts, spurred major-label debut “ANThology” to platinum status and earned the California quartet a Grammy nomination for best hard rock performance. The band was involved in a deadly bus crash later that year, but bounced back in 2003 with first-rate sophomore slab “truANT.”

Alien CDMusical tastes shifted away from nu-metal, however, leaving Alien Ant Farm in limbo. Their 2006 effort “Up in the Attic” failed to make much of a dent and the band faded into obscurity. Until now, that is. Almost a decade after their last studio effort, AAF are back with the surprisingly solid “Always and Forever.”

“The curiosity for this band and its new material has been insane,” frontman Dryden Mitchell explains. “I was wondering if anyone would care about a new release, and it’s been exciting to see that there’s thousands — tens, maybe hundreds of thousands still rooting for this band to bang out studio tracks and tour. I cannot wait for the future.”

Though not quite as good as their first two records, “Always and Forever” marks a welcome return for AAF. The 13-track release is filled with plenty of high-octane tunes that should appeal to new and old fans alike. Among the standouts here are “Simpatico,” “Let Em Know,” “Homage,” “Little Things (Physical),” “American Pie” and “Better Weather.”

Local audiences can check out Alien Ant Farm live and in person on Tuesday, April 21, when they co-headline at Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar with (Hed)P.E. Should be a terrific show. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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