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(hopefuly not) strapping's last - 96%

MHITO, April 21st, 2003

"I'll send you the new Strapping Young Lad tomorrow!" Goddammit, that's all I needed to hear to make my heart miss a beat and to let the sweat gush out of every pore in my skin. All kinds of worst-case-scenarios force themselves into my thoughts; what if Al Qaida decides to give the postal system a well deserved lesson in humility? What if the parcel gets the rough treatment courtesy of some postal-hooligan or disappears altogether? What if the album sucks? AAARRRRGGHGHH!!!!! Okay... Calm down.... Get a grip!! Just go to sleep and it'll be tomorrow before you know it.

The next morning on, one of my few free days, I crawled out of my tomb around 11 and stumbled to my mail box. And there it was, a small brown paper parcel like the ones I get on a regular basis. That's when curiosity killed the proverbial cat. In a shark like rage I ripped through the paper almost giving the other CD in the parcel a premature beating and triumphantly held the latest offering by master composer Devin Townsend in my sweaty hands! Feverishly fast I read the back of the promo:

1. Dire
2. Consequence
3. Relentless
4. Rape
5. Aftermath
6. Devour
7. Last Minute
8. Force Fed
9. Dirt Pride
10. Bring On The Young

The short serious somewhat snappy titles immediately grab hold of you,. Something we haven't come to expect from Devy who always got a laugh or two with his weird and funny lyrics and titles. Unfortunately the promo doesn't include any lyrics but I'm almost sure that Devy is not smiling anymore. Music-wise the master is using more or less the same source as on "City" with the only difference that the guitar-riffs have a more prominent place in the mix than before. And god damn those riffs!! One second I hear straight Death Metal in the Morbid Angel vein and the next it's pure Trash like Slayer. You can even hear some Black Metal influences in the divine/infernal racket that breaks loose when the vocals and keyboards unleash their strength. Tight. Fat. Hard. Pounding. Melodic. Brutal. Fast. Groovy. This album has it all! The vocals are a tad less chaotic and at times a bit powermetal-esque. Fans of the overpowering "City" are gonna love this and I'm sure the fans of Physicist, Terria and even Ocean Machine are gonna find something they like in the more subtle layers of this album. And I do mean layers cause it's the kind of subtlety you have to search for to hear. A really hard album to review actually since the music can only be described as: Strapping Young Lad Metal.

This is the swan song of the most misplaced and uncontrolled ‘enfant terrible’ Metal has ever seen and that's no laughing matter. And that's exactly what they will show the world. Because above all else Devin and Co. are still mighty pissed off! These non-conformists pur sang are in agreement with nothing and no one and are determined to choose their own path. Even if Devin told us he wanted to cease all his metal activities he still decided to go in a dignified manner. Job well done!

(This review was originally written for www.lordsofmetal.nl and is republished with kind permission of the webmaster)