Search - Strapping Young Lad :: City

Strapping Young Lad
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

2007 digitally remastered, expanded and enhanced reissue of this 1996 release, one of the most brutal albums of all time (some even consider it THE most brutal album) featuring five bonus tracks plus the enhanced video cl...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Strapping Young Lad
Title: City
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Century Media
Original Release Date: 2/11/1997
Release Date: 2/11/1997
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Style: Alternative Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 727701785127


Album Description
2007 digitally remastered, expanded and enhanced reissue of this 1996 release, one of the most brutal albums of all time (some even consider it THE most brutal album) featuring five bonus tracks plus the enhanced video clip of 'Detox'. Perfectly executed by the four partners in crime Devin Townsend, Gene Hoglan, Bryon Stroud and Jed Simon, City offers tunes of totally unmatched brutality. Century Media.

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CD Reviews

Help! I'm being crushed by the wall of sound!
TheDarkPrince | Scotland | 07/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Strapping Young Lad are a band who have been at the forefront of my attention for some time now. Their unorthodox approach to extreme metal, innovative song structures, industrial sound effects and near-unrestrained brutality, all of it laced with an undeniable sense of irony make for a listen which is intriguing to say the least. With my eventual purchase of "City," I felt that perhaps they don't quite live up to the hype, but even so are well worthy of attention.

The first thing that comes to mind when "City" begins to play is of something unstoppable; a huge, blugeoning, aural juggernaut crushing everything in its path. The guttaral roar of the guitars, the utter devastation of drums churning out blastbeats, and Devin Townsend's manaical shrieks, all held together with an inhuman, steely, industrial undertone, makes for a huge, suffocating, monstrously heavy dirge. However, upon closer inspection the listener begins to distinguish between these layers of sound, revealing the inventive and unorthodox sonwriting.

The guitar work "City" has to offer is, at its heart, oriented towards industrial metal; guttaral and mechanical, in the vein of Fear Factory except more skillfully written. While not as technical as I like to hear in extreme metal - the absence of solos and dual guitar harmonies is noticable - its mechanical, inhuman tones, capable of turning on a dime and bludgeoning the listener with on/off riffage and immediate time changes is worthy of merit. Traces of groove can be found, and yes! Even melody is present in the epic chorus hooks on songs such as "All Hail The New Flesh" and "Underneath The Waves."

Much more immediately obvious however, is the drum work. My first reaction to this overwhelming wall of blasting was (pun intended) "oh my f**king god." Gene Holgan, who has quite clearly improved since his early days in Dark Angel, is a MONSTER. In terms of sheer speed, he is up there with the likes of Horgh, Trym, Inferno and Flo Mounier. Hevilly reliant upon the double bass peddle, china cymbals and larger toms, his brutal aural assault is enough to knock you out of you chair. Satisfyingly tight and heavy though it is, this unrelenting barrage has the tendency to overwhelm the guitar work at the points where it's REALLY going balls-to-the-wall. While this is mostly due to flawed production rather than songwriting, the drumming plays a large part in creating the inaccessible "wall of sound" effect on tracks such as "Home Nucleonics," "Detox" and most of all, "Oh My F**king God." This being said, Gene does synchronise remarkably well with the guitar work and is also capable of producing a sardonic, malevolent beat on the slower tracks like "AAA" and "Spirituality."

And then of course, you have Devin's vocals, possibly the most schizophrenic aspect of an already varied album. He operates mostly in higher a higher pitch, ranging from the almost-clean singing on the choruses of "Detox" and "Underneath The Waves" to grindcore-esque, banshee like howls. I am left slightly confused as to why more use of Devin's aforementioned singing vocals isn't made. Why? Because he's brilliant at it, giving the music a fluid, soaring quality you almost never hear in industrial metal. But then, beggars can't be choosers.

So, in conclusion: "City" is not an easy album to listen to. Music with so many layers - sometimes indistinguishable - played all at once at such speed and ferocity makes for something of an overwhelming experience. But take the time, get into it, and you have a rewarding album waiting for you. I have difficulty thinking of it as a real classic, but "City" is a worthy addition to any headbanger's collection."
Loud. 4.5
General Zombie | the West | 07/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'd been hearing for years how Devin Townsend is a metal genius, but I'd never gotten around to getting any of his stuff. I remember hearing some tracks on metal shows at various times and thinking that it was pretty decent, but not entirely my thing. Anyway, I finally got around to picking up a couple releases from him, and obviously I should've done it sooner. On one level, it still isn't entirely my thing, as I generally prefer to keep excess electronic and industrial influences out of my metal. Still, something different can be nice at times, and Devin and the rest of SYL definitely know what they're doing.

Some people will try and argue with you about just how heavy this album is. I find these debates fairly idiotic, but I must say that I think, at its loudest, 'City' is probably as heavy as anything I've ever heard, and it readily swings with even you're most brutal death metal bands. (I love those who are complaining about how they 'fake' how heavy this is with the production. HA! Sorry dude, that's the way it works. It always comes down to the production and the hardware. Origin ain't getting those sounds out of acoustic guitars, in case you didn't notice.) That being said, this isn't liable to blow any serious metal fan away, as we've pretty much hit the limit for just how massive you can sound with out fundamentally changing the form of the music. So, basically, there aren't any bands that are perceptibly heavier than SYL that I'm aware of, but there are about a million of them who are approximately as intense as SYL. Still, SYL do take a different approach to heaviness than plenty of extreme metal bands, which may be why so many people cry foul. This is pretty much a total wall of sound approach with the impossibly distorted guitars blending in with the numerous synths and Gene Hoglan's crushing drumming.

'City' also sets itself apart from most extreme metal by being immediately memorable. Many of the songs here are staggeringly anthemic, particularly the devastating openers, (after the little intro, anyway) 'All Hail the New Flesh' and 'Oh My F*cking God'. These two songs practically demand that you scream along with their huge choruses. The album is a bit monotonous and occasionally repetitive, I'll admit, but most of the other tracks manage to be fairly memorable in spite of the similarity. They change things up a bit late in the album with the cover of Cop Shoot Cop's 'Room 429'. This is the ballad of the album, though it's still pretty damn intense, and features a lot of fun, surprisingly smoky singing from Townsend. Perhaps the finest song on the album.

Yeah, that's it, I guess. Quite a unique album, and one of the rare extreme metal album that isn't afraid to be fun. Good stuff."