Review by Michael on June 15, 2001.
How many people are in this band? It sounds like a metal-orchestra with 50 members!! Layer upon layer of guitars, drums, synth, vocals, samples.., it sounds like the soundtrack to the end of the world!!! The reality of it is it is just one man, Devin Townsend is a musical genius.
I have to class this CD in the Metal/Industrial category only because that’s the closest thing, but I think this album goes a lot deeper than any title gives it justice. ‘City’ was recorded during the very emotionally turbulent period in Devin’s life and the music certainly reflects this. The raw emotion poured into these tracks is evident and the end result is an amazing piece of work. This CD is chaos. One second it takes your breath away with its sheer strength, power and speed, but can then slow down and almost sooth….then you are punched in the face with another huge turn in the song. Thus creating some very sever and incredible dynamics. Strapping Young Lad definitely have an original and instantly recognisable sound...
The guitars sound fantastic, the lines themselves are very distorted and very heavy industrial-like riffs but still displaying characteristics of a musician who grew up listening to classic 80’s metal like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The drums are very fast, usually moving with the guitars giving the music an incredible feeling of tightness. This CD is littered with hundreds of digital samples, synth lines and modifications to organic sounds etc. Devin’s vocals are superb. He has an excellent, strong and clean singing voice (as all of you who own ‘Sex and Religion’ by Steve Vai would already know) and an even better tortured-sounding screaming voice. One thing I noticed about this CD is it seems really loud. Especially on ‘All Hail the New Flesh’ and crazy ‘Oh My Fucking God’. It just blows you away. Devin Townsend is a very talented musician indeed.
Bottom Line: ...and thus ends this part of Devin Townsend’s musical genius....owning this CD is a pre-requisite to proceed to the next chapter.
Rating: 8 out of 10