Strapping Young Lad
The New Black


3.5
great

Review

by Seth T. White (Cravinov13) USER (61 Reviews)
July 17th, 2006 | 119 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Strapping Young Ladís Devin Townsend is best known as the mad scientist of metal and is also a very productive musician of several other styles of music. With Strapping young Ladís 5th (and supposedly final) release, The New Black, Devin Townsend brings some of his other musical influences into the industrial/ melodic death metal act, including jazzy funk rock and dance/ techno music. The album also features two unlikely guest stars, comedy death rock band GWARís frontman Oderus Urungus and punk influenced Indie singer/ songwriter Bif Naked. Even with itís great musical influences separating it from the bandís earlier work, The New Black still contains all the insanity and heaviness as the previous Strapping Young Lad records. The one thing I noticed with the album though are itís lyrics, which instead of being based on random lunacy focus almost entirely Devin Townsend's hate for todayís music media and the negativity metal gets in the mainstream (which may explain why he deliberately put so much different influences into the songs, to prove a point).

The New Black kicks off with the crushing, grooving riffs of Decimator. The song immediately kicks off into some wicked guitar work before Devin Townsend comes in with his sinister style of chanting/ singing. Near the end of the songís repetitive insanity, the band members take the liberty to scream their bandís initials ďS.Y.L." until the song comes to a halt, making the listener either prepared for more chaos, or already sick of it. You Suck is another standard, apocalyptic riffage hit-and-run with some powerful vocal performances expressing Devin Townsendís hate for the media. The song is pretty straightforward with a chorus basically saying how much everything and everyone (including themselves) f**king suck. The song has a very strong and dynamic presence on the album, and ranks among one of the better songs on the album.

Anti Product is the first song to show some musical difference on the album. After some grooving heavy riffs, the song goes into an upbeat bass groove as Devin Townsend does his raspy operatic singing. The song has a lot more funk influenced grooves in it then usually Strapping Young Lad songs. Although the idea works for the most part, the song fails to make much a standout as a dynamic track. Monument begins with some heavy riffs and atmospheric background ambiance. The big change with this song is when Devin Townsend actually says the words ďWe love you", which makes the funk grooves and random horns played on the song not the only drastic change to the bandís style. Although Devin Townsend still keeps his well known pissed off voice for most of the song, the chorus definitely brings the bands sounds even further into insanity no one could expect Strapping Young Lad to reach.

The next track, Wrong Side, starts off with some standard thrashy guitar riffs and scathing harsh vocals. The song is more standard, older Strapping Young Lad, with furious guitar solos and catchy harsh mixed with clean vocals. The only real change in the song is the keyboard backdrops unusually happy tone and Devin Townsendís dramatic chant singing a bit past the halfway marker of the song. Hope starts off with what sounds like the band playing before a cheering audience before it goes into some grooving riffs and harsh chanting vocals. The riffs take on some strange new grooves on this track, and some of the background ambiance twists the songs atmosphere, making any listener feel just a tad uncomfortable. The song then goes into a standard thrash number before repeating itís chorus and ending abruptly.

Far Beyond Metal, the song featuring Oderus Urungus, is also one of the most insane song paying tribute to metal. The song contains all the right swinging guitar riffs, war cries, and keyboard synths to put electronica and GWAR inspired rock into the aura of insanity. The song basically swings back and forth with brutal screaming and blistering vocals screaming ďDonít you f**ck with metal!" Devin Townsend then goes into an operatic singing voice as he soars over the chaotic music. After a jazzy guitar solo (that sounds a little like one of Children Of Bodomís solo), Devin Townsend introduces the crowd to Oderus Urungus (introduced as ĎThe Maggot Masterí) giving the GWAR singer a minute at the mike alone. The song finally ends, leaving me personally in awe at the ingenious originality of the song. F**cker is another song a lot like the more typical Strapping young Lad pissed off anger. The big difference is the techno influenced atmosphere and the intro featuring punk style female vocalist Bif Naked. The song then goes into some chaotic riffs followed by some grooving vocals and bass work and a chorus that repeats the album title over and over again. Ironically, the songs dynamics and unique atmosphere along with its Nintendo-esque guitar solo makes the song one of the best songs on the album.

At the beginning of Almost Again, the song has Devin Townsend singing a very mellow tune over some slow bass work with insane drum work. By the chorus, the song loses all subtleties and breaks into heavy riffs and blast beats and harsh vocals. The song is a lot more typical Strapping young Lad aside from the suddle intro. The song ends without changing as much as any of the other songs on the album. Aside from being more or less an intro track to the last song on the album, Polyphony could also be considered the ballad of the album. Barely clocking 2 minutes, the song is mostly bass driven and has an ascending atmospheric presence as Devin Townsend delivers some amazing vocal work. The song bleeds straight into The New Black, which starts off with some heavy drum rolls that lead into some quick slashes at the guitar before bursting into some chugging riffs that lead to a ballistic atmosphere of insanity. By far the heaviest song on the album, the track contains some great death metal growls and shrieks. The keyboard backdrop gives the song some powerful atmosphere as Devin Townsend sings the chorus in his normal clean voice. The track is pretty much straightforward after that, and ends in some atmospheric ambiance and static.

Pros
-- Great vocals, guitar, and drum work.
-- The keyboard makes for some great atmosphere throughout the CD.
-- The albumís overall statement of ďF**k you to the media, give metal a chance" is very respectable.
-- The featured vocalists (especially Bif Naked) add a lot of fire to the songs theyíre featured in.

Cons
-- A lot of people will miss the old Strapping Young Lad.
-- A lot of parts get rather repetitive.
-- Itís the bandís last album (for a long while at least).

Track Listing
1. Decimator (3.5/5)
2. You Suck (4.5/5)
3. Anti Product (3.5/5)
4. Monument (3.5/5)
5. Wrong Side (3.5/5)
6. Hope (3.5/5)
7. Far Beyond Metal (5/5)
8. F**ker (5/5)
9. Almost Again (4/5)
10. Polyphony (4.5/5)
11. The New Black (4/5)



Recent reviews by this author
Neun Welten ValgMortifera Vastiia Tenebrd Mortifera
Amesoeurs Ruines HumainesHavohej Dethrone the Son of God
The Lust I Seek Ancient [EP]Grey Skies Fallen Tomorrow's In Doubt
user ratings (678)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Jack Mancuso (3)
SYL's final record: some of their best material is on here mixed into an otherwise lackluster outing...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
July 17th 2006


7925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love Devin's vocals on this album. I love it, though, at times it doesnt seem like a SYL (or a Solo) effort, it's still great.

Dr. Jake Destructo
July 17th 2006


86 Comments


This is a great review, man. I really think it captured the brutality and lunacy that is SYL. :thumb:

I've not actually heard the album, much to my own dismay. :-/

ChrisAdlerisGod
July 17th 2006


474 Comments


^^ You know is gonna be good. I mean, its SYL!!!

mynameischan
Emeritus
July 17th 2006


17946 Comments


I should check this out.

ChrisAdlerisGod
July 17th 2006


474 Comments


If this is your 1st taste of SYL, check out City 1st.

Cravinov13
July 17th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd say their s/t, it's way more accessible. I'd say SYL, Alien, The New Black, City, and HAARHT in that order are the best order to uy their albums in if you want to really get into them. City just isn't a very easily accessible album compared to the newer stuff.

mynameischan
Emeritus
July 17th 2006


17946 Comments


If this is your 1st taste of SYL, check out City 1st.

I'm already into them. I just need to buy this.

Cravinov13
July 17th 2006


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I also noticed the album I bought doesn't have the two bonus tracks shown in the track listing...

Shattered_Future
July 17th 2006


1555 Comments


This album, from what I've heard, sounds like a bridge between Strapping Young Lad and Townsend's solo work. Unfortunately, that doesn't pay off nearly as well as it should...it has neither the crazyness of early SYL, nor the ultimate layers of Townsend. Granted, it's still good, but it could be better.

The Locust
July 18th 2006


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Devin says the word "fuck" more times than I've ever him say it in this album.



Almost Again and Polyphony are amazingly written mellow songs. I love it when Devin goes from the soft singing to the screaming.

Spoonful of Shame
July 18th 2006


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album. I just saw them live last night in Toronto and it was amazing. "You Suck" is awsome live.



\m/This Message Edited On 07.24.06

sj_2150
July 18th 2006


251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i only gave it 5 coz im a devy fanboy. i think its really a 4.5... definately not a classic considering its the same band that made alien and city. every track is great except for fucker...

Gore Obsessed
July 18th 2006


8 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Mr. Townsend did amazing vocals on this album.



You Suck is probably their best song to date in my opinion.

f_u_c_t
July 18th 2006


1406 Comments


i didnt know that this was already out. I would love to have this.

south_of_heaven 11
July 18th 2006


5489 Comments


Man...I really do not like this band...at all...

f_u_c_t
July 18th 2006


1406 Comments


Why dont you like SYL?

south_of_heaven 11
July 18th 2006


5489 Comments


Mainly Townsend's voice. I just...can't stand it at all. And I've tried to get past his vocals...but I just can't.

mynameischan
Emeritus
July 18th 2006


17946 Comments


I love his voice.

south_of_heaven 11
July 18th 2006


5489 Comments


Oh yea, and the few songs I heard from sounded like a grinder. I mean, I know I'll get some backlash for idolizing Slayer and most people find their music to be that way...but that's all I could think about it when I heard them.
He doesn't love your voice chan. I'm sure its wonderful though.

f_u_c_t
July 18th 2006


1406 Comments


i have never even heard SYL so i was just wondering. I want this album really bad because Ive been referred to SYL by a few people and ive read alot of articles about them. I might not be happy with it.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy