Hevy Devy Records
Release date: July 11, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Devin Townsend and his virtuoso compatriots are on the run again, and just to make it clear – those who are already fans of the band shouldn’t really bother reading this review, you should just run out and purchase The New Black straight away. This is another gem by this incredibly talented outfit, bending and breaking the boundaries of what is usually labelled “Heavy Metal.”

The band Strapping Young Lad (SYL) was founded by Canadian multi-talent Devin Townsend after having completed the vocals to Steve Vai’s Sex & Religion album. He recorded all the instruments (except drums) to what became the band’s debut album, Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing. Townsend is still the band’s center of attention, handling guitar, bass, and vocal duties, but SYL officially became a band –- and not a solo project -– with the release of the second effort City. Today, the lineup showcases the talents of guitarist Jed Simon, bassist Byron Stroud, and drum legend Gene Hoglan.

In a world of copycats and rip-off bands, SYL presents something truly unique, and describing their style can be compared to getting in J-Lo’s pants; it’s hard to do with just words … Anyway, ranging from blastbeats and discordant riffs to almost Power Metal-ish melodies, all topped off with virtuoso guitar lines and a broad range of vocal styles, the musical content offered is highly entertaining, and Townsend has once again penned some very good songs where he displays his musical wizardry. “Wrong Side,” “You Suck,” “The New Black,” and “Decimator” are all great tunes, but the coolest of them all may very well be “Antiproduct” — the opening ‘Core-ish riff isn’t all that impressive, but when the song suddenly kicks into a Jazz Metal Henry Mancini/John Barry-meets-Chuck Schuldiner (sick) style, every hair stands to attention and it’s basically impossible to sit still.

That last paragraph describes much of what SYL’s music is all about –- this is Progressive Metal in its uttermost form. Anything can really happen here, but whatever happens, it seems like it was meant to be all the time. This “logic illogic” is what makes SYL unique, and is exactly why every thinking man should own at least one copy of this CD.

Buy it. Just buy it.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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