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One of the Best Metal Albums Ever - 100%

Deadwired, June 29th, 2006

I don't have any sort of rhyme or reason as far as the music I like goes, but a lot of it has to do of whether or not it's an individualistic concept or not. Of course, songwriting can always overshadow that, but let's not go off on tangents here. So, here, we have Strapping Young Lad. Devin Townsend's quasi-serious outlet for aggression, but complete joke as far as Metal goes. That's probably insulting somewhere, as his joke is single-handedly more brutal and intense than every other album ever crafted, save a handful.

Immediately, you'll notice an industrial influence. That's about as far as genre-picking will take you, thus the individualistic concept. There is NEVER a quiet moment, or a chance to breathe on this entire fucking album. There's no ballad, there's no touchy-feely acoustic bullshit, it's one-hundred per cent fucking Thrashing-ass, brutal Metal that makes that utopian balance between those odd, dissonance-covered-by-synth melodies that Devin Townsend's known for. The album starts with a violent marching beat, "Velvet Kevorkian," before introducing the substance of the album with the Thrashy "All Hail the New Flesh," a song jokingly proclaiming a self-centeredness about Strapping Young Lad. The song builds intensity one momentous section after another, and features fantastic drumwork, as always, by way of Gene Hoglan. Epic vocal performance, as well. Devin's gritty yell and high-pitched squeal works wonders for making this band a bit more distinctive.

That's all fine and dandy, though. "Oh My Fucking God" is the heaviest song ever recorded. I'm sure it's pretentious, but when we were all children, and we heard our first Slayer song, or Anthrax song, this is where those bands were made to take us. This song is so bludgeoning heavy that even on a studio LP, it inspires complete violence. God forbid you be driving in a school zone, you will try scoring points for children down. This is the type of song that any Metal band dreams about making, but never seems to pull it off. It starts off heavy with incredible drumming from Gene Hoglan, and builds. And builds. And builds. Faster. Speedier. Thrashier. Deathier. Noisier. Until your goose-bumps are gone and your cephalic blood vessels have caused a strangle-hold on your brain, and still it's not over. You sploosh your pants and then it's all over. Listening to this song is essentially milking your prostate, but in a good way.

Though "Oh My Fucking God" has been crowned heaviest song in the universe, things do not let up throughout the course of the album. Next is "Detox," an epic but Thashy song with a beat that's so mosh-friendly that you might just burn a hole in your floor stomping around. Second to "Oh My Fucking God" on "City," is "Underneath the Waves." Though most reviews tend to overlook this song, and I don't see why, this song is the most frantic and psychotic of the bunch on the album. The blistering guitar work spirals out of control as Devin Townsend gives you a straight-jacket atmosphere while he yells "Say goodnight" in the most insane vocal performance I've ever heard. Period. It won't take long for you to begin screaming your lungs out to the most anger-friendly chorus ever assembled.

"City" is the Metal album of the 90's, and I feel completely comfortable saying that. Sure, there are albums that are mind-blowing, redefine genres, whatever. None of them are "City". None of them are a complete assault on your ears. None of them will inspire a smuch angst as this album will.