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Review: Strapping Young Lad - City
Strapping Young Lad

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 1997
Duration: 39:22
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death/Thrash

Rating: 5/5

Review online: October 18, 2001
Reviewed by: Michael A.
Readers Rating

Rated 3.81/5 (76.25%) (16 Votes)

Strapping Young Lad is mostly a Canadian band, whose soul is a mad genius named Devin Townsend (vocals, guitars). He is also known to us from his other projects, such as Physicist, Ocean Machine, Infinity. If you are not familiar with SYL, then it can be described to you as something like Fear Factory during the middle 90's, but only faster, and noisier (because of many samples that were loaded into the tracks). Samples add something interesting to the music. Production here is great: guitars sound energetic, and don't overpower the rest of the instruments. Drumming is excellent too; it is done by Gene Hoglan, who is simply one of the best metal drummers out there. The vocals are quite different from Fear Factory, they are much better. Devin provides us with the whole range of voice: screaming, singing, and just doing god knows what. :) Devin's voice is really powerful, in fact he passed out in studio and on stage from screaming too hard. His doctor warned him that screaming his lungs out is killing him.

The album starts out with slow but heavy intro Velvet Kevorkian, which progresses into fast and furious song All Hail the New Flesh. Next songs might not always be as fast, but are just as aggressive and emotional. Killer energy. The album slows down at the song Room 249, which is a Cop Shoot Cop cover, and the song sounds way better than the original. The song is not as heavy as the rest of the album. Devin uses clean vocals on it, and it really adds something to it. The last track is Spirituality, slow, but heavy, provides an excellent conclusion to this record.

You might wonder what does Devin sing about. He sings about things that get him angry, people, and this world in general. For example Underneath The Waves is about being tired of this world "I'm tired of waiting, I'm tired of fighting, I'm tired of waiting for fucking nothing", or just aggression in All Hail the New Flesh: "Hey man, I'm going to fuck this shit up, No fear, no compromise, I want it all. I will never be afraid, and I'll die with what I believe".

If you only listen to something melodic, this is not the album for you. But if there is even a little room in your heart for brutality, then definitely pick this up. Industrial metal doesn't get any better than this. Although I have some bad news for you. Devin doesn't really plan releasing another SYL album in the near future. Maybe he is afraid of what the doctor told him, but his reason is that he doesn't feel this kind of anger in him anymore. Someone should piss him off again.

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