Sound — 7
"And once there was a bear out there; A real life bear, and he...Ate the kids" As the opening monologue opens, you hear a sweet innocent child talking about hanging with "Devy." Then Suddenly, the little girl goes twisted, (wouldn't be a metal album if she talked about flowers and cute kittens huh?) and starts talking about bears eat the kids, I'm not sure about any of you, but, That's Metal. So Here It is, Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing; I have a lot of story and review for this album so lets get it going! Released in 1995 By "Strapping Young Lad," a solo project by Devin Townsend after he got done touring with Steve Vai for his Sex and Religion album. Devin then sent some Samples of his musical chops to different labels, and almost inked a deal with Roadrunner Records, but then they decided his music was just flat out unsellable "noise." He then got picked up by Century Media Records and inked a 5 album deal for some "Extreme Albums" and Strapping Young Lad (SYL) was born. There is one word to describe this album, its Heavy. According to Devin about the album, he wrapped up the touring cycle for Steve Vai and was broke and decided to record an album to show his frustration on the music scene and the corporate Bull shit of record Companies. Let me tell you this album sounds very stressful and you can feel the anger and aggression in the first 2 songs. As far as the sound goes, the album sounds a bit sloppy and the production seems a little forced. The guitars are there, but not in a big huge way, Devin Sang and played most of the instruments on the album with the help of a drum machine and session musicians. For being in his early 20's at the time of production for this album, Devin's voice is perfect and his singing and screaming show what he can do. Devin's joined by tons of session musicians and ultimately his full time Strapping Young Lad Bandmate, Jed Simon. Devin Sang and played most of the instruments on the album with the help of a drum machine and session musicians. To end this part of the review, the production doesn't sound amazing, but its enough to get your through the songs and understand what he was trying to accomplish with all the music. Devin said this album is basically a collection of demos that were remixed."
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics of this album are mostly about stress and aggression, As there are a few songs on here that I'm gonna review, every other song is up to you whether you like it or not.S.Y.L. is a great example of the anger and the pissed off attitude of Devin at the time. "Devy worked in the corner of the piss yard, Bored and plagued by pain, Devy got a taste of the corporate community, And never went back again." The level of stress is relevant in the lyrics and you feel for him and cannot help but wonder why he is feeling so angry, and pissed, and who? "I worked for you f--king bastards, I worked for your f--king lies, I went and pissed away too may f--king opportunities, To try and make you f--kers feel right, And I f--king hate you... " Now that hatred. The next song up is track number 2, In the Rainy Season. Now I don't know what that other Reviewer guy is talking about when he said "Devin Was Raped" that statement is absolutely ridiculous. As far as I know, it just seems like a story about whats going on to a girl who is being abducted and she's freaking out, but Devin raped? Not a chance. "My Name is Devin, Welcome to A&W, can take your stinking order?" Great opener to the song. In my opinion, what makes a great metal song is that you have fun with it, always show the humor in it and people can relate to it, And Devin has tons of humor to go around, from dark humor, to 5 year old farting humor, and that's what makes him a great song writer. This song is honestly better played live than album. The most memorable part of the song is the breakdown at the end, its just a solid headbanging moment and an homage to every headbanger. All in all, the lyrics make the songs great, but weak in the level of content. Still though, they make the songs the songs and the songs are great.
Overall Impression — 8
As the start of Strapping, This album shows what they are capable of and what their roots are, digging deep into the ideas of death, thrash and industrial metal. Of course it doesn't go up against any of the Devin's other albums or any SYL albums but this album lives on as the stressful thoughts of Devin Townsend in his early 20's. This album unfortunately sold only 143 copies in its first 6 months of release and was considered HIGHLY underground. But it was received positive reviews and went very well with the critics. Critic Andy Stout from Metal Hammer called it "one of the most disturbing albums you'll hear for a very long time" and if you hear it beginning to end, it very much is a disturbing album. It really gets the ball rolling for More Strapping Young Lad to come and its pretty interesting to see the transformation they made from 1995 to 2006. If you are a big fan, you will enjoy this album, if your starting out with this band, then give it a try, and the songs with grow on you, but this album isn't a great album to start out with, Alien is the best to start with, but nevertheless, this album should never be missed.