Rating:
10
Strapping Young Lad - Strapping Young Lad
2003


01. Dire
02. Consequence
03. Relentless
04. Rape Song
05. Aftermath
06. Devour
07. Last Minute
08. Dirt Pride
09. Force Fed
10. Bring On The Young
11. Detox [live] [Australian bonus]


Armageddon is upon us folks, and it's not the acts of terrorism or the imminent threat of war I'm talking about here, it's the fourth Strapping Young Lad album! While the ever prolific Devin has kept himself busy with such projects as Conjure One [with famed Fear Factory producer Rhys Fulber], Eko [Devin's pop project], The Devin Townsend Band [another personal project along the lines of 'Terria', 'Ocean Machine' and 'Infinity'], overseeing the construction of a new home studio and various production credits [Soilwork, FryGirl, Just Cause, The Almighty Punchdrunk, December and Lamb Of God], there is no denying that most fans have been waiting a long five years for this album. As little as a year ago, Devin considered Strapping Young Lad a closed book. On numerous occasions he had stated that a follow up to 1997's classic City was unlikely to happen, and that the name of Strapping Young Lad wouldn't be defamed by releasing anything sub standard. However, that was all to change with the events that unfolded on September 11th 2001. The attacks prompted a new creative anger deep within Devin that led to the eventual early writing stages for one on the most anticipated album releases of 2003. With the classic line up intact, Devin Townsend on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Byron Stroud on bass, Jed Simon on guitars, Gene Hoglan on drums and newcomer Will Campagne now filling in on keyboards.

There's a sense of familiarity with the 'Velvet Kevorkian' sounding instrumental 'Dire', before delivering a sonic assault to the senses with 'Consequence'. There's an immediate feel that Devin has opted for a sound that relies less upon the feel of digital technology, and more of a live band, with the guitars steering the material rather than samples and programming. 'Relentless' is a rather fitting title for this pile driving mass of noise, while 'Rape Song' may bring the speed back a notch, but still retains that aggression. The real highlight of the album is delivered within the crushing grooves of anthem like 'Aftermath' and 'Devour'. The hooks within these songs are sure to guarantee their inclusion within the live set from this point on. The black metal tinged 'Last Minute' is a welcome new sound from Devin, while 'Force Fed' and 'Dirt Pride' are delivered in punishing crushing style. The curtain closer 'Bring On The Young' is an epic building track that climbs to a seething anger high that brings this monumental war ensemble masterpiece collectively known as SYL to a climatic close.

There's little in the way of compromise or mercy, and the lyrical content paints a bleak and primal landscape for the listener. The fact that Devin recognised Strapping Young Lad as a fully-fledged band and allowed it to become a democracy [both within the song writing and performing in the studio] has given SYL a distinctly metallic and earthy sound over its predecessors.


Band profile: Strapping Young Lad
Album: Strapping Young Lad


 


written by Justin | 24.09.2003


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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BloodTears - 25.01.2008 at 21:12  
Im very curious about this album.
Dangerboner - 26.01.2008 at 02:04  
I first listened to this album when it came out, and I was immediately turned off by it, mostly because of the annoying lyrics. But, I played it the other day and I guess I'm used to SYL now because I love it. I'd be willing to say that it's their thrashiest album, but it's not their best, and definitely not deserving of a 9.9.
jupitreas - 26.01.2008 at 02:27  
this, together with the new black, is SYL's worst album. Uninspired, with tepid lyrics, ofter reverting to speed for its own sake. Naturally, its still better than a lot of stuff out there but compared to City, this is really mediocre.
b0000mst1ck - 27.01.2008 at 00:55  
i wouldn't give this a 9.9...maybe an 8 at the most. it's still a good CD, but nothing special. city is a helluva lot better. in fact, alien is too IMO.
Opium - 27.01.2008 at 09:58  
This is their 3rd worst album, IMO. Alien and their debut were more bland than this, at least this has something you can enjoy about it, as mentioned: thrashiness. It's also definitely not deserving of a 9.9, but I must admit I was addicted to this album when I was younger
Marcel Hubregtse - 27.01.2008 at 20:25  
Well though definitely a great album but not worth the 9.9 IMO. Strapping's best is still City, and then closely followed by this one. SYL is far better than the boring and monotonous Alien or the rush-job and overrated The New Black.
Baz Anderson - 27.01.2008 at 21:05  
indeed, I actually agree with Marcel. hahaha - this is a really really great album, maybe not as good as "City" but it is close..
this is the album that got me into Strapping Young Lad - so I will always have a fondness for it. it is way better than the two that followed
Dangerboner - 28.01.2008 at 01:10  
Well, yeah City is their best but at least this album is more consistent. I have to skip some tracks on City, while I can listen to the entirety of SYL.
GULCH OF ROT - 25.04.2009 at 02:11  
This album will melt your face off i like alot
Maxx666 - 09.09.2010 at 19:30  
Written by Baz Anderson on 27.01.2008 at 21:05

indeed, I actually agree with Marcel. hahaha - this is a really really great album, maybe not as good as "City" but it is close..
this is the album that got me into Strapping Young Lad - so I will always have a fondness for it. it is way better than the two that followed

Same here, This album definitely comes next to City.
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.09.2010 at 19:32  
I also agree with Marcel. Wonder if Marcel still agrees with Marcel?
Marcel Hubregtse - 09.09.2010 at 19:49  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.09.2010 at 19:32

I also agree with Marcel. Wonder if Marcel still agrees with Marcel?


yes, I still agree with myself
of the SYL albums it's only City and this one I still play. And I still find them great.
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.09.2010 at 19:54  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 09.09.2010 at 19:49

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.09.2010 at 19:32

I also agree with Marcel. Wonder if Marcel still agrees with Marcel?


yes, I still agree with myself
of the SYL albums it's only City and this one I still play. And I still find them great.

Yeah same here. Alien has a couple of good tracks but it's too slow and boring and I keep half meaning to give The New Black another spin but then I remember that awful production/guitar tone and it puts me right off.
Baz Anderson - 09.09.2010 at 20:29  
Yep, still the same this end too.

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