Strapping Young Lad, "City"

There are some albums that reek of mediocrity. There are some that stun with excellent musicianship. But there are also some that leave you baffled and motionless; scrambling your brains as you try to comprehend the systematic chaos emanating from the speakers. Strapping Young Lad is such a beast. And with City they have perfected their creation of a pure, unadulterated tidal wave of sound. Although the music has been categorized as industrial death metal, I don't believe there is any rational or reasonable classification for music of this calibre.

As soon as I popped the disc in the sheer ambience amazed me. I couldn't really tell what the volume was like so I kept moving the dial up until my ears were saturated. Big mistake! After the short intro it felt like there was a river gushing through my ears. Even as I tried to lift my hand to turn the thing down (and maybe relieve the neighbors a bit), I couldn't. This is music that immobilizes the brain cells and leaves you rooted to the spot. The ocean of sound drowns you and your senses to the utter depths and then tosses them around in massive ripples. From hyperfast rants in Oh My Fucking God only matchable by Araya's diatribes in Reign in Blood to the unreachable and sonically challenging breakdowns in Underneath the Waves the music is emotionally cringing from beginning to end. The layered melodies paint a very melancholy atmosphere, only seemingly comparable to the sheer hopelessness of the lyrics:

"I'm tired of waiting I'm tired of fighting I'm tired of waiting for fucking nothing I'm sick of lying I'm sick of trying I'm tired of waiting for fucking nothing."

There is also a very enjoyable and maniacal cover of the Cop Shoot Cop song Room 429.

There is very little more I can say about this album. If you like to live in mediocrity and be worried that the world might change someday without warning and you will left all alone contemplating your past; don't even go near this album. Heed this though: a thousand years from now as the next level of humankind [if man exists till then that is] inspects the past and its music, they will worship this unholy artifact for they will have never heard anything similar. The future is behind us and spinning in the player for an eternity.

Standout Tracks

   Underneath the Waves
   All Hail the New Flesh