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Strapping Young Lad – SYL 
The Hobo Review 

(Note this review is of the Australian release)

After an agonizing six years wait since Strapping Young Lad’s previous studio effort City, comes the death metal inspired follow-up titled SYL.  

Devin Townsend, a god to some, an idol to others, hits back hard against the grain again with his own brand of ultra-heavy metal (Devy-metal if you will).It seems producing high profile metal acts such as Soilwork, December and Lamb of God has done wonders to help Townsend refine his band’s sound.

SYL was written somewhat differently to all other previous releases. Townsend decided to let his fellow bandmates join in on the writing process. Devy commented in Guitar World “I’m so glad I brought other people into the writing of this record. Before it was just me in the studio, screaming at the world. Now we’re all screaming together”.
And scream he does, throughout the entire ten songs we as listeners are not even given a brief moment to take a break from the insanity that is Strapping Young Lad. The first track on the record Dire acts merely as an introduction to prepare you for what is to come. You listen, confronted with layers of dark guitars, inhumane screams and the consistent pounding of the double bass.
Consequence is where it all begins. Enter pounding double bass from that drumming god known as Gene Hoglan, intense metal riffing Jed and inhumane screams from the notorious Canadian frontman. Damn heavy and catchy.
Relentless begins with a rolling drum fill which most metal drummers wouldn’t dare even have a wet-dream of. Townsend jumps in on the three-minute song to give a quick commentary on the world: “This is our World, this is Relentless” With a skull crushing riff-come-double bass in the chorus, this song represents everything that SYL has become.

Next comes Rape Song. This song is messed up. Here come the death metal influences in three minutes of pure heaviness. Aftermath follows as one hell of an epic metal song. The double bass, the layers of guitars, the lyrics, the buildups. My favorite track on the album and one hell of an effort. Last Minute also deserves a special mention, pulling in a possible close second.

But ‘midst all the heaviness, Townsend still refuses to relent from his tongue-in-cheek, genre-deflating lyrics. Strapping still sticks to its roots, refusing to budge for an instant. This album is heavier and darker than City, while still being characterized by the sound which got Strapping Young Lad where it is today. 

 While not being overly successful in the United States and Canada, SYL has an immense body of fans in Europe, Japan and Australia. Perhaps this latest release can take SYL to the position of recognition it deserves in the States and in Devy’s home country.

While Strapping’s sound may seem a bit daunting at first, just remember you’re in safe hands, sit back and relax as you slip into Devy’s post S-11 hell. 

And don’t pass up the opportunity to catch these guys live.

Strapping Young Lad is back, and thank god its heavy. 

CD Info 

Strapping Young Lad – SYL 
Rape Song 
Last Minute 
Force Fed 
Dirt Pride 
Bring On The Young 
Detox Live (Australia Only)
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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