STRAPPING YOUNG LAD
Industrial Metal • Canada

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Strapping Young Lad was an influential industrial metal band from Vancouver, Canada, started by Devin Townsend in 1994, Now disbanded (see Devin Townsend Project). Strapping Young Lad is the angrier, more aggressive side of Devin Townsend, The Devin Townsend Band is popularly known as the happier side.

Strapping Young Lad began as a solo project by Canadian musician Devin Townsend. Once he had completed his work as vocalist on Steve Vai's Sex and Religion and that album's subsequent tour, he recorded the majority of the instruments on the debut album, Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing.

Rather than remain a solo project, additional members and the release of the album City, saw SYL secure their line-up permanently. City was released to a huge response, prompting Kerrang! magazine to call it one of the heaviest albums ever.

SYL's third album, the self titled Strapping Young Lad, marked SYL's first release
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Heavy As a Really Heavy ThingHeavy As a Really Heavy Thing
Century Media 1995
Audio CD$40.00
$0.88 (used)
New BlackNew Black
Century Media 2006
Audio CD$4.78
$2.09 (used)
Strapping Young Lad - SYLStrapping Young Lad - SYL
Century Media 2003
Audio CD$8.92
$1.65 (used)
CityCity
Remastered
Century Media 2007
Audio CD$8.75
$8.99 (used)
AlienAlien
Century Media 2005
Audio CD$8.67
$4.58 (used)
CityCity
Century Media 1997
Audio CD$209.59
$0.99 (used)
1994-2006 Chaos Years1994-2006 Chaos Years
Import
Imports 2008
Audio CD$13.62
$19.91 (used)
No Sleep Till BedtimeNo Sleep Till Bedtime
Century Media 1998
Audio CD$36.40
$2.96 (used)
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STRAPPING YOUNG LAD Discography

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.07 | 12 ratings
Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing
Industrial Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.91 | 26 ratings
City
Industrial Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.44 | 12 ratings
Strapping Young Lad
Industrial Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 4.27 | 25 ratings
Alien
Industrial Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.80 | 12 ratings
The New Black
Industrial Metal 2006

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Tour EP
Industrial Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
C:enter:###
Industrial Metal 2007

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD live albums

.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
No Sleep 'till Bedtime: Live in Australia
Industrial Metal 1997

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
1994 - 2006 Chaos Years
Industrial Metal 2008

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD singles (0)

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
For Those Aboot to Rock - Live at the Commodore
Industrial Metal 2004

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD Reviews

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD Alien

Album · 2005 · Industrial Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
After a brief hiatus and the warmup which was the self-titled album, Strapping Young Lad deliver a true followup to City in the form of Alien. If City had been an angry album, Alien unleashes downright world-shattering fury on the listener, with Devin Townsend's shocking rant on Shitstorm representing one of those rare, magic occasions in metal where an artist unleashes their most extreme, shocking lyrics and sounds absolutely, impossibly sincere throughout it. With the rest of the group more than pulling their weight, Strapping Young Lad pull out a late-career classic that outstrips even the mighty city when it comes to ferocity.

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD City

Album · 1996 · Industrial Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Although I find Devin Townsend's progressive metal material very hit and miss, Strapping Young Lad's second album (their first as a fully-fledged band project as opposed to a Devin Townsend solo project. And it's a beaut too, offering an incredibly angry industrial-thrash hybrid which demonstrates than when he wants to, Townsend can reach deep down inside himself and draw out a truly volcanic eruption of fury. One of the few Townsend albums I've encountered where the technical proficiency on display is matched by genuine-sounding emotional expression to the fullest extent, this makes me see his catalogue in a whole new light.

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD City

Album · 1996 · Industrial Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
topofsm
Ask any Strapping Young Lad listener and they will point to one of two albums: Alien and City. While Alien is fantastic too, this came before all the over the top synthesized orchestras, gigantic layers of sound, and orchestrated goofiness. So basically what you're left with is an over-the-top pissed off album.

This album is mostly industrial metal with a few thrash elements. It's difficult to categorize, but most of Devin Townsend's work is difficult in that respect. You can see where Fear Factory got a lot of inspiration since there are tons of dry, pounding riffs all over the place. Admittedly, there is a lot that nu-metal seems to have taken from the album as well, most often through Devin's singing voice (The Track AAA is egregious in nu-metal too). But overall if you know Strapping, you know what you're getting into.

The album starts of great. The intro, "Velvet Kevorkian" is a crushing intro. It leads directly into "All Hail the New Flesh", which is filled with bombastic melodies and melodramatic singing that is completely headbanging worthy. The first half of the album is all a total mosh-fest. "Oh my Fucking God" and "Home Nucleonics" are particularly insane, as they are filled to the brim with blasting tempi and gritty riffs.

My main beef with the album is it slows down as it goes. After the blast that is "Home Nucleonics", you're treated to "AAA", which already stated is a midtempo groovy nu-metal track (albeit a good one). A couple songs later, "Room 429" and "Spirituality" close off the bunch, which are pretty slow tracks that don't add much to the album. Overall there's just a couple tracks that don't stand out as much as they could on the album.

However, as for most of it, it's a very cyberpunky angry, blistering, over-the top sandwich of metal. Devin Townsend and Strapping fans will of course have it, and it has a rightful spot in anyone's collection.

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD Alien

Album · 2005 · Industrial Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
topofsm
Who knew Canada could be so insane?

Strapping Young Lad pulls off one intense listen with Alien. Although this may be more progressive than their early offerings, it's far from an easy listen. Right off the bat the album opens up with three crazed songs typical of Townsend's anger and insanity. The opener "Imperial" is as grandiose as it is crushing, and it is very very crushing. The next song "Skesis" is probably the best on the album, a pure showcase of the raw insanity inside the crazed atmospheres of SYL. Just when you think things have to let up they hit you again with "Shitstorm", probably the biggest contender for the embodiment of anger in musical form. All three are big, dark, and heavy beyond expectation.

Most of the albums cools off a bit after this, though not by much. "Love" and "Possesions" are more downtempoed than the others and become more of a groove metal style, though they're still top notch materal. "We Ride" gets back to the thrash style, fast and relentless, with an excellent blistering solo reminiscent of the early 90s. It should also be noted that the atomic clock Gene Hoglan is all over the drums on this one. The masterful technique is obvious, and the drumming is fast and brutal. If you want a nonstop drum performance, this would be an album to hear it in.

Of course, although this album contains crushing metal prowess it's far from standard thrash. There is typical Devin Townsend wall of sound that envelopes the listener, making the listen all the more heavy, even though melody pours all around. Xylophone can be heard occasionally, and an eerie choir of haunting children voices sometimes appears through, most prominently in "Shine". Things even cool down completely with the ambient Floydian "Two Weeks" with tongue in cheek cheesy lyrics. But that's no reason to be comfortable, since the following song to that is "Thalamus", staccato and quiet at first, until everything hits at once with a gargantuan metal assault where double bass, relentless guitar, and Townsend's voice attack from seemingly everywhere. Then everything drops away again into cool synth backed beauty. Truly one of the most creative metal songs out there.

The final track is comprised of ten minutes of static, with faint voices in the background. This is mainly the letdown of the album, though thankfully it's at the end and nothing occurs after it, so it's quite passable.

Overall, if one wants to be assaulted by crushing riffs, giant atmosphere, pummeling drums, and the insane screams of Townsend, then you can't get much better than Alien, a near masterpiece that shines out among a discography of an already great band.

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD City

Album · 1996 · Industrial Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Negoba
Raw Anger and More

So the boss has been on your arse all day with some total crap and you go home, head into the garage to lay into the heavy bag or lift and jam out to some intense music. Metal has been for just these moments for a long time. Back in my day, I listened to Master of Puppets and Cowboys from Hell for this purpose. But even 15 years later, there may be no better album for beating the hell out of something than City.

Of course, raw anger is in alot of metal, but nowhere is it quite as intense and intelligent at the same time as here. "Detox" and "OMFG" are some of the most intense music ever made. (This has been said about this album so many times, but this is the first review here so I had to get that out.) Other songs like "All Hail the New Flesh" are actually just extremely intense versions of Devin Townsend's usual wall of sound.

Devy is perhaps the most talented metal musician of his generation and on City he lets his maniacal self free. Like Mike Patton, Devy can be twisted and complex and still appeal to very deep in the stomach emotions. And the feelings boil over, enough to recruit a fantastic supporting band including the hellacious Gene Hoglan, one of the most precise and brutal drummers ever.

Bottom Line: The Best Album from Evil Devy and the Boyz

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