Santa Fe thrash metal band The Illegal Aliens to play Launchpad, Desert Dogs Brewery - Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe thrash metal band The Illegal Aliens to play Launchpad, Desert Dogs Brewery

The Illegal Aliens
Santa Fe thrash metal band The Illegal Aliens are set to play at the Launchpad in Albuquerque on Jan. 21, and at Desert Dogs Brewery & Cidery Taproom in Santa Fe on Saturday, Jan. 28. (Courtesy of The Illegal Aliens)

The Illegal Aliens continue to rock New Mexico.

The Santa Fe thrash metal band will play in Albuquerque on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Launchpad in support of Vacant Skies, a punk act based in Flagstaff. They then head back Santa Fe for a gig at Desert Dogs Brewery & Cidery Taproom on Jan. 28.

The members of The Illegal Aliens went to high school in Santa Fe and formed the group their senior year, but in a more fitting setting than the classroom or next to lockers.

“The band was established inside a Hot Topic at the mall. Pretty convenient,” said lead guitarist Gabriel Lucero.

Long before the group decided to start playing together, each member had a background in music from traditional lessons, family influence to mainstream inspiration.

Their talent in undeniable, especially on past tracks such as “Otra Vez,” “The Sands” and “De Rodilla.”

Lucero can shred as well as any seasoned high-profile guitarist, Zack McAlister complements Lucero with clean rhythmic riffs, drummer Kenneth Brito provides an energetic beat on the drums, Gabe Pacheco creates infectious bass lines, and vocalist Eric Gutierrez brings it all together with stories and messages ripe with attitude.

A perfect combination for the group’s sound.

Lucero explained, “Sometimes it feels like we’re too metal for some other punk bands and we’re too punk for some other metal bands.”

Gutierrez added, “We’re just kind of our own little thing.”

The Illegal Aliens produced their first tracks back in 2019 and released an EP in 2020, but, like many other acts, fell into a lull during the pandemic. The upcoming shows, however, are coming off the heels of a busy 2022 for the band, and they continue to push themselves to make more music. They released two EPs last year, “Back in ’22” and “Fright Night,” both a touch thematic.

“Back in ’22” was originally supposed to be released during the pandemic, said McAlister.

“We had all the songs written about mid-2020, but of course we couldn’t get together to record it in the studio,” he said.

Brito further explained, “It’s like one of those years where things were still difficult, but slowly coming back to normal. … If anyone could interpret what was going on in their lives back in ’22, we’re all open to it for the listener.”

“Fright Night” had a different feel, not just because it was Halloween-themed, but because the band took a different approach to recording.

Lucero said, “It’s not professionally mixed or recorded, we did it all with one microphone for the drums and then plugins for the guitars.”

Brito referred to it as a “DIY release,” and Gutierrez said they did “the whole thing on a whim.”

No matter the forced pauses or production changes, The Illegal Aliens keep a consistent sound. The band shared that they will be releasing new music in 2023.

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