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Strapping Young Lad - The New Black

In fall of 2001, I won tickets to go and see a Fear Factory show. I remember a very dissapointing Godflesh opening up, followed something billed as 'Devin Townsend'. A weird little man, this Townsend. Dreamy songs, and killer grindfueled smashhits in one. Later on I learned that what I had witnessed was actually a group called 'Strapping Young Lad', billed under the name of the leadsinger. The sound this group produced was completely new to me, a thick multi-layered slab of grindcore, industrial and death metal. Highly mechanical, insanely fast. It took about twenty seconds after I got home to get on the internet and buy their two albums. 

Let's break it down, there is still just one 'real' Strapping album. After their debut Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing, Townsend gathered the band you know today and recorded the epic City album. Still unmistakenbly one of my all time favorite metal albums. In the new millenium the band recorded two more albums, (SYL and Alien). Even though SYL was a great album, it somehow had a different sound. Less mechanical mayhem with a more raw violent sound. Alien returned to the industrial sound, but failed to grab the listener by the balls with remotely interesting songs. It is Strapping's least inspiring album to date. After five albums (counting their live effort No Sleep Till Bedtime), City is still the defining moment in the band's history.

...and here's a new one! The New Black, just a tiny year in the trail of Alien. And well, with a slight surprise in my fingers I type to thee: it's actually quite an entertaining album. 'Decimator' takes us back to the City-days with lightning speeds. 'You Suck' can even be called catchy and a potential live hit. But the real fun starts with 'Anti-product'. A true cacophony of metal genres blended together, that ends up with a hilarious horn part. A song you might want to press the 'programme-button' on your cd-player for, as their's tons of cool stuff you don't hear the first few times you listen this cd. Less smiles for songs like the too straightforward 'Monument', 'Hope' or the superfluous re-recording of the classic 'Far Beyond Metal'. However a dissapointment is avoided with a great ending. A two piece ensemble 'o hellish death and elimination. 'Whot Fun'! Would Helga off 'Alo Alo say. The dreamy 'Plyphony' (more like a Townsend solo project song), merges with the closing down 6 minute epos 'The New Black', where the Strapping boys open up a real can of metal. Loads, and loads of cool bridges, bleepy stuff and very exciting song build-up. It even has it's own Slayeresque ending! 

All in all it seems that Strapping are expanding their sound, and slowly leaving the City for outerspace I guess. Some may be excited, and most of the time when a group broadens their horizon I am too. But to me, it would have been better if the group had called it quits after their second album, as it seems nothing will ever come near that masterpiece again. But tell that to their ever expanding fanbase, who will be becoming even bigger every album they release, and every show they play. Cause Strapping, is still a killer band. It's just a different one than 5 years ago.

Strapping Young Lad - The New Black
79/1001Details Century Media
Released on Tuesday Jul 18th, 2006
Industrialish Grindy Extremy Metaaaal

Writer @Lex on Saturday Aug 5th, 2006

Tags: #Strapping Young Lad
Tracklisting 1. Decimator (2:54)
2. You Suck (2:40)
3. Anti Product (3:56)
4. Monument (4:12)
5. Wrong Side (3:35)
6. Hope (5:02)
7. Far Beyond Metal (4:36)
8. No Title (3:53)
9. Almost Again (3:44)
10. Polyphony (1:55)
11. The New Black (8:48)
Line up Devin Townsend - Vocals, Guitar
Gene Hoglan - Drums
Byron Stroud - Bass
Jed Simon - Guitar
Willy Campagna - Keyboards