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A sign of great things to come - 80%

Xeper, May 23rd, 2003

Boris's review is understandable. If you're into thrash and the likes, lots of old school metal especially, this definitely won't be your thing. It is certainly a noisy record, very angry metal with industrial influences, kind of blind rage put on CD, and sometimes it works really well, but a few songs aren't as organized as later ones. It's a great album though, in my humble opinion. Opening song "S.Y.L." (simple enough, eh?) has almost manically sung verses, with sparse instrumentation until the chorus explodes in your face. This song is damn intense live. Devin's way of screaming is kind of unique, because it's not generic growling or shrieking, but he actually sounds like a pissed off person (on their first two albums, anyway), despite having the ability to sing quite well also. The chorus is sung quite nicely over the vaguely melodic riffing, until it goes into some headbanging breakdown-style material, with the by now well-known "I fucking hate you" chant. Don't look for insight in their lyrics, it's pretty much the soundtrack to the worst day of your life, and the lyrics reflect that quite accurately, as it's pure fury but generally with direction, not just typical "I'm a slacker and I hate the world" bullshit that you find on a mallcore CD. It's also funny to think about when this album came out, since it was after Devin sang on Steve Vai's debut album, 'Sex & Religion', and then pursued this pretty radical change of musical direction. (I can imagine Steve's face when he heard this...heh.) S.Y.L. has a great sense of climax too, the song builds up heavier & heavier until you're screaming against the pounding double bass at the end. Next song, "In the Rainy Season", is another testament to, you guessed it, anger, abandonment, and hatred toward fucking assholes (it's the general theme here, in case you haven't noticed). More singing on the chorus, but not some kind of formulaic clean vocal chorus *coughSoilworkcough*, just well-placed only when needed. Other songs like "Critic" sport some SAVAGE riffs that rock you to hell, and "Happy Camper" is practically industrial grindcore. Some tracks, like "Goat", are just silly and pretty useless, cause SYL never take themselves too seriously, which is admirable, but it's a bit excessive on here. All in all, a quality and angry album, and the following one, City, would perfect this style.