Strapping Young Lad - _SYL_
(Century Media, 2003)
by: Xander Hoose (8 out of 10)
When Devin Townsend released the _City_ album back in 1998, he pointed out that this would be the last Strapping Young Lad release. In an interview, he confessed the reason: most of his projects revolve around a certain drug/medicine he was taking at that moment, and he had completely given up on the drug that inspired him to do Strapping Young Lad. With his anger and psychosis more under control, his newer work showed less chaos and more structure and was released under his Physicist moniker. Until 9/11 happened. Inspired by the tragic events in New York, Devin began working on a new Strapping Young Lad album of which the result, _SYL_, lies here before me. I've been steadily playing it over the last two months, but it's hard to come to a closing conclusion about it.

What attracts me in _SYL_ is the vileness of the songs and lyrics. To call it 'war music' might be overstepping it a little, but 'war' is definitely in the music. Leaning more towards death metal in especially the guitar/drum combination, _SYL_ is heavier than the first two releases. On the other hand, Strapping Young Lad has always been about a total frantic, uncontrolled, chaotic and over-the-top way of making music. _SYL_ is way too melodic and conventional to fit being a direct successor to the first two albums, and I assume that is exactly what is disappointing to me about this album. _City_ is in every respect a better album than _SYL_, because the latter lacks the impact of leaving you breathless and wondering what the fuck just happened. If you're in it for the melodics, _SYL_ is passed on the other side by Devin Townsend's other new album (_Accelerated Evolution_).

On the other hand, yes -- _SYL_ is a good album. An excellent album, compared to most of the other releases I've listened to lately. Some of the songs keep sticking to you ("Relentless", "Aftermath", "Devour"), and the production is quite decent. I guess it would be best to give this album a try yourself.


(article published 16/4/2003)

7/13/2006 J Smit Strapping Young Lad: None More Black
6/12/2003 A McKay Strapping Young Lad: The World Makes Way
10/1/1995 A Bromley Strapping Young Lad: Bracing for Success
6/27/2006 J Smit 8 Strapping Young Lad - The New Black
2/22/2005 J Smit 10 Strapping Young Lad - Alien
7/8/1998 A Bromley 9.5 Strapping Young Lad - No Sleep Till Bedtime
2/4/1997 A Bromley 9 Strapping Young Lad - City
10/1/1995 G Filicetti 7 Strapping Young Lad - Heavy As a Really Heavy Thing
9/14/1997 S Hoeltzel Testament / Stuck Mojo / Strapping Young Lad Demonic Pigwalk
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