Strapping Young Lad
City


5.0
classic

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (190 Reviews)
June 22nd, 2017 | 151 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Are you listening? ARE YOU?!

Looking back at Devin Townsend’s more recent work and collaborations, you would never suspect that the man who recorded an atmospheric country album or created the jokey Ziltoid the Omniscient in all his coffee-obsessed glory was also the frontman in one of the most relentlessly visceral, ferociously spiteful albums that heavy metal has to offer.

Just over 20 years ago, Strapping Young Lad released an album that was instantly classified a classic in extreme metal. With the finesse of an enraged bull in a china shop, “City” was the explosive product of Devin Townsend just before he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Captured within this album is the erratic moods and traits that accompany those with bipolar disorder only amplified by the maniacal stereotypical sounds of melding Industrial and Death metal together. In short, it is a breathless sonic rampage delivered with affronting, shameless and uncompromising conviction.

Perhaps the greatest strength of “City” is Hevy Devy’s brutal vocal delivery along with his blatant lyricism. Few artists are able to channel and project such genuine rage as Devin does on Strapping Young Lad’s second album. “Velvet Kevorkian” sets things off in a panicked state of mind through impending rhythms and chants. Before the stunningly belligerent “All Hail the New Flesh” explodes into action, Devin even asks “Are you ready…” in the first few moments. An apt question considering what follows is nothing short of literally breath-taking as Devin’s hellish howls open the song. His screams are drawn out during the chorus as if he is exuding every last drop of anger within him and lyrics such as ‘hey man, I’m gonna f*ck this *** up’ and ‘all of you as*holes can stay rotting here’ leave little to the imagination. Throughout the album, Devin’s vocals are delivered with such spite that they’re tangible enough to make the most devout Buddha frown.

Having recorded “City” with a complete Strapping Young Lad line-up, Devin is supported heavily by his peers in projecting as much anger as possible. “Home Nucleonics” starts almost instantaneously with tides of rapid riffs and blistering blast beats courtesy of drumming mastermind, Gene Hoglan. Despite the chaotic approach each member of the band takes during “Oh My F*cking God”, the sudden pauses or abrupt guitar slides affirm that the band are very much in control, contrary to the asphyxiating singing. This is the core feeling of “City”: as chaotic and unrestrained as it sounds, it’s not aimless. All this anger is targeted with meticulous attention to how Strapping Young Lad can make themselves sound even more destructive.

Consequently, there are certain aspects in this album that exhibit different types of fury, particularly the climax to ‘boiling point’. Commencing with perverse, eerie riffs, “AAA” is more of a seething sounding track than a full-on riot and the repetitive lyrics of ‘no one, no one ***s with me’ enhance the dominant attitude one feels when angry. Bountiful amounts of grinding, mechanic, technical Industrial effects are scattered throughout the album to make it sound as loud and purposefully jarring as possible and, in places, are added calculatingly such as the soaring atmosphere during the chorus of “Underneath the Waves”. Conversely, these effects are used in more haunting moods in the droning closer, “Spirituality”, although they are used with the same intent of producing a dedicated mood- be it rage, respite or acceptance.

Call it a cliché, but this album is an absolute beast. Very few albums have come close to replicating the same level of rage that “City” does, and given the time passed since its release, it’s possible that few ever will in their own right. In conclusion, as predicted at the very end of the album, Strapping Young Lad will rock your hairy anus and you’d be wise to not object to it.



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user ratings (1339)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gmork89
June 22nd 2017


7688 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review! One of the most intense albums ever made, easily.

DurzoBlint
June 22nd 2017


1368 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Your review sums up my opinion on the album. My favorite metal album.

MO
June 22nd 2017


22374 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

classics so hard

Funeralopolis
June 22nd 2017


14123 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I really don't get what people see in this, album blows.

Digging: Deicide - Deicide

KILL
June 22nd 2017


81214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Digging: Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up



theres ur prob

Digging: Armoros - Pieces

BigHans
June 22nd 2017


29363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This could literally be a carbon copy of LuLu and Metal Machine Music synced up with a dying cow being raped, and as long as it contained All Hail the New Flesh, its a hard 4

Maco097
June 22nd 2017


2912 Comments


wHAT?

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2017


2768 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

blowz [2]

StickFeit
June 22nd 2017


902 Comments


blowz [3]

jemaiseyeti
June 22nd 2017


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still think Alien is superior to this, but few tend to agree on that tho. Nice review!

Gmork89
June 22nd 2017


7688 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I enjoy Alien more too, both are masterpieces though.

Hawks
June 22nd 2017


58687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

2 wtf lmao are you guys deaf or what???

Digging: Eucharist - A Velvet Creation

Gmork89
June 22nd 2017


7688 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Seriously I can't support you guys with those ratings. Gonna have to ask you to leave the thread.

Hawks
June 22nd 2017


58687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[2]

StickFeit
June 22nd 2017


902 Comments


[3]


Kusangii
June 22nd 2017


1952 Comments


Just Jac things

Scoot
June 22nd 2017


19061 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the beat starts here









GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

MO
June 22nd 2017


22374 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

fuck yea kras m/

DatsNotDaMetulz
June 23rd 2017


3631 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I also think the S/T is grossly underrated. People don't like it as much because Devy stepped back from the writing a bit and most of the actual music was written primarily by Jed and Gene

jemaiseyeti
June 23rd 2017


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Is it that good? Never really took the time to listen to it thoroughly.



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