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Get The Japanese Version With Centipede - 97%

Planex, May 5th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Century Media Records (Reissue)

Someone recommended I listen to Strapping Young Lad, they knew I liked prog, they knew I liked extreme thrashy metal, they knew I liked good music, so they linked me to the music video for Love?, and I didn't love it right away. A couple nights later I tried it again by putting the youtube playlist of City in the background while I worked on stuff, I didn't think much of it but I noticed that AAA had a very unique, very industrial sound. NO ONE, NO ONE, NO ONE, NO ONE FUCKS WITH ME... It was stuck in my head for a few days. I went back and listened to just that song a few more times, and then got the brilliant idea to listen to the whole album again. This time not only AAA perked my interest, but also Detox, and also Room 429. Once again the choruses and melodies of these songs were stuck in my head for days. I then pulled out my studio monitor headphones and bought the high quality version and focused on listening to it the entire way through. In the 6 months after that I probably listened to this album 70+ times and I can say without a doubt that it has become one of my favorite albums ever made.

It's amazing how such a grating, harsh, misanthropic thrash/black/death/industrial metal album can be so darn catchy. The thing that really drew me in was the songwriting. Unlike a lot of metal you don't notice the technicality of the instruments right away, you notice how god damn heavy this album is. Devin's "wall of sound' is in full effect here, and you can just feel how heavy every single track is with that massive weight of production. The songwriting on each track is very impressive and I kept noticing more and more nuance to each track with repeated listens. None of the tracks are the straightforward fuck you death metal you might think of it after a couple spins, the composition in each song is unexpectedly complex. I find the track All Hail The New Flesh to not only be the best song on this album, but probably in the entire SYL discography.

This may be one of the most angry albums I have ever listened to. Lyrically every song is full of hate and contempt for all mankind, but I also found it a little poetic to not be so much about hating everybody as hating himself, I was mostly led to this conclusion from the lyrics of Detox. In that song, the phrase "HEY, YOU MO", which if you don't look into it too much, just seems like the band is just yelling at you in a very angry song, but the lyrics themselves are about social isolation, which makes me think it's not really shouting at the listener, but at himself. After this thought it made me think about all the other songs in a different light as well, adding so much more depth to every song. I can't say for sure this is true, but no matter how you interpret the lyrics they add a lot of replayability to this album.

I don't claim to be a music expert and I can't describe the actual songwriting and instrumentation itself in the depth I would like to, but I can tell there is a serious amount of thought and skill put into every second of every song on this album. There's nothing stand out about any instrument on this album because they are all equally exceptional, including Townsend's perfect vocals throughout, he may have one of the best screams in all of metal.

After finding and loving this album and it's sequels, I am deeply saddened to know that SYL is no longer a band, and I will never get to see this beauty performed live. I don't feel so bad, because this album led me to listen to much of Townsend's later work, such as my next favorite Townsend album, Ziltoid The Omnicient. Which I believe he still plays, and I hope I can go to a Devin Townsend Project concert as soon as possible!