By now we are all probably aware that Strapping Young Lad mastermind Devin Townsend is the mad scientist of modern metal. We also know that his band, Strapping Young Lad, is far beyond any music categorization. With a sound so distinct, not even the most descriptive made-up sub-genre can pinpoint the colossus that is Strapping Young Lad. Their self titled fourth album, is a great example of the band’s immense power. Although no where near as astounding as City
nor an aura of madness like Alien
, Strapping Young Lad
still manages to leave a noticeable mark in the listeners ear. Fueled with screeching vocals, psychotic chants, brilliant clean vocals, crushing bass lines, overlapped guitar structures, dark keyboards, and furious drum lines all mixed over to create a powerful wall of chaotic atmosphere, this album proves Strapping Young Lad is a force to be reckoned with among the metal world.
The album starts off with Dire
, a short, punishing intro with haunting chants and keyboards, dynamic guitar riffs, and an overall apocalyptic sound that prepares the listener for what’s coming their way. The track then bleeds into Consequence
, which quickly ascends into some very thrashy riffs followed soon after by Devin Townsend screaming. The song is rather straightforward, with pummeling blast beats and vicious screams and chants with slashing guitar work. The track also contains some very dark, symphonic keyboards that add to the chaotic atmosphere. Relentless
takes over with more thrashy riffs and punishing blast beats. Although a popular song by the band and even featured on the Headbangers Ball compilation, it is not a track to judge the band nor the album on. Devin Townsend shows off his ghastly vocals on this track as the music continues to deliver the same devastating riff throughout most of the song with the exception of a few heavy guitar and bass breakdowns.
is next, and also the first song to show what it is that lurks in Devin Townsend’s sick mind. The track begins with heavy industrial-like guitar riffs and heavy drum lines. The lyrics to the song are something to be undesired, hence the song title, but Devin Townsend managed to deliver the lyrics in such a way that it fits with the clash of musical instruments throughout the song. Next is Aftermath
, another rather thrashy song, fueled with heavy drum lines and blast beats and scorching guitars along with a very dense atmospheric keyboard riff. The track is the longest on the album (not saying much since it’s only a little less then 7 minutes) and is also a great song to head bang too. The track contains some of the catchiest and most devastating riffs on the album. The song keeps a similar structure of heavy riffs broken only by Devin Townsend’s powerful vocals. The song then jumps into a powerful aura of blast beats and riffs before settling down for a few moments before taking on a slightly different form of the same riff as before.
The next track is Devour
, with a very quick to ascend drum and guitar intro, the track bursts into vicious howls and blast beats. The song has some of the best lyrics on the album, though that doesn't really say much. Devin Townsend again proves to be a great vocalist on this song. The song even contains a lot of haunting background chants that fuel it’s need to ‘devour’ all other sounds from the listener. Probably one of the best songs on the album, Last Minute
follows, with a quick drum roll and a few strokes at the guitar, the song has a very dark keyboard intro followed by an aura of crowd screams before bursting into a wicked guitar riff and more pummeling blast beats. The vocals on the track are also another force to be reckoned with (if we haven't established that before). The song delivers riff after riff of shear madness until the it suddenly comes to a halt.
If the last track is not the best song on the album, then Force Fed
is. Beginning with heavy riffs followed by Devin Townsend screaming lyrics like “Animal, you’re an animal, you’re a godd*mn f*cking animal”, the song keeps a very heavy structure on it’s first impression. This ends when Devin Townsend uses his clean vocals and proving that as a vocalist he is a near replica of perfection. The chorus along with some of the second half riffs create a devastating aura of chaos and confusion and awe as the band shows their most melodic side while still being heavy as f*ck. Dirt Pride
is another track like Relentless
, meaning very thrashy riffs and a rather simple structure of music mixed with very ‘out there’ vocals creating another good track. Not great, but still good. The album finally comes to an end with very dark and somewhat ambient Bring On The Young
. Only Strapping young Lad could possible create an epic sounding song in only a little less then 6 minutes. The song has a very steady bass intro that ascends throughout the entire song into a devastating climax to the album before almost abruptly ending. The vocals once again are something to take note on the song, and even reminds me a bit of Devin Townsend’s self titled other band. The song is one of the most dynamic on the album and is another personal favorite of mine.
-- Great production.
-- Astounding vocal performances.
-- Overall great musicianship (no wonder Gene Holgan, the drummer, is known as the atomic clock)
-- Boasts a number of great Strapping Young Lad songs.
-- A lot of songs tend to be a bit repetitive in musical structure.
-- The lyrics aren't very good overall.
-- It’s not City
1. Dire (4/5)
2. Consequence (3.5/5)
3. Relentless (3.5/5)
4. Rape Song (4/5)
5. Aftermath (4/5)
6. Devour (3.5/5)
7. Last Minute (4.5/5)
8. Force Fed (5/5)
9. Dirt Pride (3.5/5)
10. Bring On The Young (5/5)