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When I think of Strapping Young Lad, I think of the overplayed video clip a number of years back ("Toxic" I believe). To me personally, this band has always seemed Nu-Metal. I'm not sure if that's because of the fans, the type of production they've used, or the lyrical content. I have no problem with this band, they write catchy death metal which is nice to hear every now and again - but this album is in a completely different vein to previous releases.
First off, I'm surprised noone has made any comments about Black Metal in their reviews. When hearing a few tracks on a local metal station, I had absolutely no idea it was SYL. I actually thought it was one of those new "We've popped out of nowhere" well produced Black Metal bands (You know the ones!). If you compare it to say, the latest album from Mayhem, there is a definate similarity. Production wise, as well as song structure. I'm not saying this as a bad thing, but the parallels to (newer, well produced) Black Metal are very clear.
What drags down the quality of this album is the lyrical content. (This is the most "Nu" element of the album, other than the over-produced overlaying keyboards.) I grew out of the "I hate my life, fuck you all, fuck this fuck that" attitude a very long time ago, but I guess maybe that's to appeal to a wider fan base.
The vocals are pretty good, Devin has a good range - although I have found when he does the melodic "scream" they always have the same structure/effect/whatever - I'm not sure what the word is, but you might understand what I mean. (Same rythmic structure.)
The guitars aren't particulary special, as the vocals and effects are what really drive this band of music (like Cradle of Filth, vocal driven) - sure there are moments of "riffing" but these are nothing special. The drumming is very Nu-BM inspired (probably because Gene drummed for Old Man's Child) but catchy nonetheless.
Overall, this is a very accessible album - I'm sure it will appeal to those bordering the Nu/Nu-Black/Cookie Cutter DM sound. I wouldn't call it original, groundbreaking or anything - it's simple and catchy. If you like melodic, cheesy aggression, then you'll like this album.
On a side note, if you want something similar to this, but far more interesting - check out the Mezzerschmitt album "Weltherrschaft" - but maybe that's just me :)