The Lad's new disc, SYL, is a perfect example of Townsend's "double dose of everything" approach to hard and heavy music. Though just under 40 minutes long, it's jammed with so many thundering riffs, blasting rhythms, and throat-ripping screams, it's like the sound of six lesser metal bands being tortured to death for Townsend's amusement.
Live, the band is always worth seeing -- and frequently astonishing. Mountainous drummer Gene Hoglan releases one blast beat after another, while seeming not even to realize he's onstage. He's the perfect counterpart to Townsend's flailing arms, screams of rage/joy/lunacy, and generally way-too-energetic presentation. Strapping Young Lad recognizes the value of entertainment, even in the self-absorbed world of extreme metal.
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