Strapping Young Lad – 1994-2006 Chaos Years (2008)
Avast me hearties! My name is Mike (although all my scurvy swabs call me Bördi) and this will be my first CD review. Get ready for a bumpy ride, my writing skills may be a little rusty :>
For starters I picked an early 2008 release: Strapping Young Lad’s latest album “1994-2006 Chaos Years” and as the title is already suggesting, it is indeed the SYL “best of” record.
These were (and hopefully will be again some day) the Strapping Young Lads: Devin Townsend (guitar, vocals), Jed Simon (guitar), Byron Stroud (bass) and Gene “The Atomic Clock” Hoglan (drums). The driving force and mastermind behind the SYL madness was Devin Townsend. (Interestingly, he actually never wanted SYL to become “something big”). In 2007, Townsend announced that he has “burnt himself out” and will put his band work with Strapping Young Lad (and “The Devin Townsend Band”) to rest. But for now, back to the album itself!
This “best of” is a very good cross section of the whole SYL experience. From the face melting extreme power of the first two albums “Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing” (which in Townsend’s own regard had only two good songs :> ) and “City” via the ground stomping behemoths “Strapping Young Lad” and “Alien” to finally end with the very melodic “The New Black”. They also included a bonus hidden track called “Satan’s Ice Cream Truck” which was previously published as a bonus track on the very first album. Another (awesome) bonus is the complete live record on DVD of the 2006 Download Festival (Donington Park) in the UK. (Devin’s speeches between the songs are once again fucking hilarious :> )
What should I tell you about the music? All the band members are outstanding musicians and masters of their trade. But hell… the mixture of those guys is just like a truck fully loaded with nitroglycerin heading full speed down the highway! Jed and Devin are putting down some serious heavy duty riff work, which often grazes the border to pure noise (especially on the early albums) but there is no denying of the awesome combination of groove and speed that they can deliver. All in all it’s a very unique sound, quite difficult to describe. Thrash, speed, groove, lots of industrial tones… it’s just awesome. Backup is provided by the rhythm section, consisting of Byron and Gene. The drum work is just amazing! Gene Hoglan is simply one of the most wicked drummers on this planet. On to my favorite part: vocals! Ahhh, the vocals. It’s Devin Townsend at his best! His vocal range seems just endless, from clean and soothing to harsh and extreme harsh… Once again it is very difficult to describe, you just have to listen for yourself.
I better wrap this stinker up before I lose myself in my thoughts!
Final words: If you never heard SYL before and would like to have a superb summary of their doing (or if you just like extreme music with the power of ten thousand supersonic combat jets packed into one little jewel case), go buy it!
~ by boerdi on July 22, 2008.