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The 2003 release from Strapping Young Lad shows us a much different band then the one that gave the world the brutally heavy "City". While "City" was great, but was mindless brutality at times, "SYL" is still heavy and retains the death/industrial sound that they have while showing a more melodic side to them. All of the individual songs have been spoken of enough, so I will concentrate more on the overall sound of the album.
The guitar has a slightly grainy sound which I do not like as much as on "City". The drums (by Mr.Hoglan, drum god) are spectacular as always (listen to Devour and see what I mean). Devin's vocals are great and he not only screams (Relentless) but also sings (Force Fed). The production is very nice and not muddy in the least.
The best part about this album is it's unpredictability. The band will be playing one riff for a minute, then it will change without warning or buildup into a completly different riff or beat. One would think that with this, the songs would sound disjointed but they manage to stay together much better than one might think. Great riffs are to be found all over this album.
I was fortunate enought to see SYL live in Sept.03 and the show was excellent, with most of their take coming from this album. And rightfully so, it is a faithful follower to "City". The reason it did not rate as high as it's predecessor is simply because "City" is heavier and better for head banging.
Oh yes, and the lyrics are much better this time around. Buy this album, it is one of the most original and heavy albums to come out in 2003.