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The Lad begins to grow up - 78%

Manchester_Devil, February 4th, 2004

This is Strapping Young Lad's second album and first with an actual band (not as in Devin Townsend and chums) with veteran drummer Gene Holgan (Dark Angel, Death for example), future Fear Factory bassist Bryon Stroud, Jed Simon and the man himself, Devin Townsend.

The first three songs have Gene smashing his drumset like a madman and Devin Townsend's vocals rising about them but you can barely hear the guitars at times although the songs "AAA" and "Room 429" (which is actually a cover) being more restrained so you can hear the guitars. The riffs are chugga/groove/thrash all mixed in a way.

Devin actually has a range so he can go from his trademark loud crazy vocals to a death metal growl and even to a black metal shirek! a couple of examples Devin's versatility is the fifth song, "Home Nucleonics", and seventh, "Underneath The Waves".

The album slows down after the speed peaks at "Oh My Fucking Song" (winner of best song title 1995) and ends in the melodic (SYL style) song, "Spirtuality".

The lyrics can seem to be silly at times but they (make some sort of) sense if you read them from a certain perspective. Though there is some daft nonsense immature quality about the lyrics and the sixith song (that being AAA).

There is also the usage of keyboards and samples (not often) in the album that appear at the following songs: Oh My Fucking God, Home Nucleonics, Underneath The Waves, Room 429 and Spirituality.

The album's main fault are the lyrics that don't make sense at face value and the unbalanced mix at the beginning of the album, which Gene's over Enthusiastic drumming drowns the guitars before making way during the course of the album.

Overall, this is a mixed bag of an album, full of musicians of have the talent to produce an album that destroys the boundaries of sound set in stone. It would worth to listen to this album at least once.