Strapping Young Lad
1995
Canada
Music group
Once an underground phenomenon, the Canadian quartet Strapping Young Lad are now on the verge of a major genre-defying breakthrough with Alien, their highly anticipated fourth studio album. This offering is quickly going to redefine the meaning of extreme, and you can’t possibly comprehend what form of insanity awaits upon pressing play.

In 1995, frontman Devin Townsend (ex-Steve Vai) quickly caught people’s attention with the debut Strapping Young Lad album, Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing, created solely to punish the senses of the metal underground. Although, it was the sheer blast of utter insanity and carnage caught on 1997’s City that brought the entire metal community to its knees and helped the band garner a cult-like status. The album was recorded at Vai’s Mothership Studios in L.A.

with acclaimed Swedish engineer Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah) and would be the group’s first offering to feature the current lineup of Byron Stroud (now also of Fear Factory) on bass, Jed Simon (ex-Frontline Assembly) on guitars and the mighty Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, ex-Death, ex-Testament) on drums. In the spring of 1997, SYL embarked on the Full Of Hate European tour alongside Crowbar, Entombed and Obituary, which immediately led into a U.S. tour with Stuck Mojo and Testament.

In an effort to capture the unfiltered and uncompromising nature of their performances, the band recorded two shows in Melbourne, Australia in 1998, resulting in the once again self-produced live No Sleep Till Bedtime album. Unfortunately, that same year the band would take an unwelcome hiatus as Townsend nurtured a flourishing solo career, while concurrently honing his talents as a producer. In the midst of a slew of solo releases, including the highly acclaimed Infinity, Ocean Machine, Physicist and Terria projects, he also cultivated production credits on Zimmer’s Hole (featuring SYL bandmates Simon and Stroud), December’s Lament Configuration, Lamb of God’s As The Palaces Burn and Soilwork’s critically acclaimed Natural Born Chaos album.

Over time, the desire for new SYL material only grew stronger, and fortunately, in 2002 Townsend’s angst and insanity reached a breaking point. He decided it was time to vent the only way he knew how. This catharsis would result in 2003’s SYL, which garnered critical praise from the fans and media alike.

After spending the better part of the past two years on the road alongside such genre titans as Nile, Meshuggah, Superjoint Ritual and an European headliner tour with his "family" (Devin Townsend Band & Zimmer's Hole), Townsend realized the group’s potential, and it quickly became his sole focus over his many side-projects. The group’s mesmerizing live show was recently captured on their first-ever DVD, For Those Aboot To Rock, Live at the Commodore, released in November 2004, featuring a full set from a sold-out hometown show in Vancouver, B.C.

Strapping Young Lad’s lineup is now more determined and focused than ever. It took Hoglan only three days to pound through 11 tracks at Armoury Studios (Kiss, Van Halen) in Vancouver before the band moved on to Greenhouse Studios (also in Vancouver) to record Simon’s guitars, Stroud’s bass and all vocal tracks. This is the first SYL album written as a cohesive unit and Townsend promises that it is the group’s most maniacal and outlandish offering to date.

Townsend further describes the recording process, “The record isn't about anything in particular; it's just a freak out. The idea is to have something cathartic to put on, and the title Alien just seemed fitting. It has no meaning beyond that. Metal is our life; we are qualified to do little else and we can do crazy things with our instruments. We are too ugly to play pop, so we decided to fuck shit up again. This album seemed a good excuse to exercise full excess.

The only theme worth mentioning on the record is that it starts bitter and ends 'resolved to be confused.' It's definitely metal and if you have any doubts, please listen to it first to see if it's something you would like. But know this: We live for this shit and it has never been about spandex, eyeliner, wigs and ironic Dokken shirts. It's about the crunch, the kick and the power. The new themes might be closer to more everyday topics than City, and you may or may not relate, but it really doesn't matter as long as you get our drift (...it's about unicorns and rainbows and stuff.) Alien is just the next SYL record, and the acoustic song is supposed to make you feel worse...not better. Unhealthy music for healthy minds."

This is the soundtrack to the Armageddon, and SYL wouldn’t have it any other way.

Beginning and endb>
Strapping Young Lad (usually abbreviated as SYL or Strapping) began as a solo project by Canadian musician Devin Townsend. Once he had completed his work as vocalist on Steve Vai's Sex and Religion and that album's subsequent tour, he recorded the majority of the instruments (except drums by Adrian White; excluding where drum machine is used) on the debut album, Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing.

Rather than remain a solo project, additional members and the release of their album City saw SYL secure their line-up permanently.

On the 11th May 2007 Devin announced he was burnt out concerning SYL, DTB, touring and interviews.

Your Strapping Young Lad stats
Strapping Young Lad's artists (4)

releases (6)