My first (belated) meeting with the music of Mister Townsend was with his excellent latest solo album “Synchestra”. Now he’s back with STRAPPING YOUNG LAD to give the world an ultimate display of how music can be extremely heavy, infantile without being annoying and overall brilliant.
The album is filled to the top with fat guitars that both thrash like mad and still provide big loads of melody. But if you want to talk about a real extraordinary performance on this album besides Devin’s it has got to be the insane drumming of Gene Hoglan, who despite his already excellent reputation still knows to surprise in every possible way; oftentimes his drumming is so brutal, technical and groovy it can only be described as inhuman. As per usual the vocal ability of Townsend is awe-inspiring with the styles ranging from clean and smooth, to extremely angered and simply really raw.
Outstanding songs are “You Suck” and “Fucker” which lyrics are so utterly ridiculous it becomes brilliant; superb angry sing-a-long music. But there’s also a song like “The Antiproduct” featuring some crazy twists and keyboards. Or progressive takes like “Almost Again” and “Monument” that are pretty reminiscent of Devin’s latest solo work. Basically each song has something special to offer.
In a way you could say that SYL creates brilliant Metal in a manner that Nu Metal bands also attempt, but fail miserably at. Where those bands sound angry, childish and crap, SYL sounds far more angrier, chaotic and add loads of guitar wizardry, out-of-this-world drumming and blinding solos; ergo: a real Metal album. “The New Black” is a superb album for people with a hyperactivity disorder, but also for everyone in need of some angry music to shout a long with! (Online August 22, 2006)