Get down there and... well, you know the rest

Strapping's greatest album is...

9
1%
9
1%
278
22%
278
22%
5
0%
5
0%
25
2%
25
2%
258
20%
258
20%
58
5%
58
5%
#248219 by ctfod
Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:22 pm
City is number 1 for me, definately. It seems like the absolute embodiment of what people who don't like metal think metal is. Pure, sheer agression, relentless double kick and blastbeats, fast, grinding distorted guitar, and larynx-bursting screaming. Of course, it's damn near flawless for what it is, there's nothing I'd really like to change about it. Every instrument is tight, sounds great and compliments one another, Devin obviously has a great voice both for the harsher vocals and the clean singing, the production is great, and last, but in no way least, the songwriting is superb. There's so much raw emotion and sheer anger flowing through the album that it's almost unrivalled, I mean, come on. Home Nucleonics is probably the most savagely pissed-off and hostile sounding song I've heard.

Alien is a close second, but it took a while to grow on me. Sure, so did City, but after 2 or 3 listens I was completely besotted with it (similar to how I feel about Synchestra), whereas with Alien, I had to adapt and grow to like it (similar to Terria). It also seems to have a bit of filler-ish stuff, mainly Two Weeks. Lately, a couple of tracks I've overlooked in the past have been massively growing on me, mainly Imperial. I always used to think of it as just an intro track, being Alien's version of Velvet Kevorkian/Dire.

The self titled album is at number three, and it is somewhat of a departure from City. This was one of the instant clickers, along with The New Black, so it's a bit wierd that they're regarded a bit lower for me. Still, it's not a bad album by any means, it just feels a bit more restrained and conventional. It has some of my very favourite Strapping songs, like Consequence and the vastly underappreciated Force Fed, but overall doesn't quite meet the standards set by City.

The New Black was probably the first SYL album that really hit me, and it did hit me hard (cue sex joke here). It does feel very very inconsistent though and in hindsight it does have a good bit of filler (Fucker, etc.), but the best parts are well worth waiting for. Of course, I am referring to the ending trio of Almost Again > Polyphony > The New Black. Three great tracks, which while they don't have the classic Strapping vibe to them, are a fitting send-off as the last tracks before they broke up.

HAARHT does feel very varied, and I know the general consensus on this album, including Devin's opinion of it being a collection of remastered demos. I can't really make say too much about the album, since I haven't really given it a massive chance, but it does have a few personal standouts, like Goat, for instance. Listening to Goat makes me feel like I'm a 14 year old locked in my room with a Pantera CD, like when my uncle Pete came to visit.
#256669 by Jaglavak
Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:03 pm
A little late to the party, but...

I went with City; Alien being my close second and SYL coming in third. The New Black and HAARHT are pretty inconsistent for me; thus, why they didn't make the top three spots on my list. SYL is a fantastic album, containing what might be the best harsh vocal performance of Devin's career (Don't agree with me? Listen to Bring on the Young), but the songwriting is a bit too... restrained, I guess, for a Strapping album. Last Minute and Aftermath come close to what I feel the record was trying to achieve, but... it just never makes it all the way there. Alien might very possibly have been my number one pick, but it loses me after We Ride ends. Possessions just doesn't keep up the level of intensity that the previous six tracks have; Two Weeks just... really feels unnecessary; Thalamus and Zen are good, but not great, and Info Dump isn't something I really even take into consideration. The last 5 tracks aren't bad, by any stretch, just not up to the standards I feel the first half of the album establishes. I'm not asking for every song to reach Shitstorm-level intensity, but... the energy level just drops too much for me, the second half of the album.

City, however... absolutely rips, from start to finish - yes, even Room 429. There isn't a single track on that album I skip while listening to it, because every single one of them is incredible. Home Nucleonics, the aforementioned Room 429 and Spirituality all took time to grow on me (the rest clicked on the first listen), but when they did, City literally became the 'perfect' metal album, for me. It's definitely my favorite of ALL the Strapping albums; as well as my favorite of all of Dev's 'metal' output. I'm actually pretty confident that Deconstruction is going to change my opinion, come June, but for now... City is the best. :P
#261369 by atrex
Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:44 am
No Sleep 'Till Bedtime cause i love lives ... and it's a good little "best of" (no Alien on it but whatever !) . But album speaking, my heart can't go far from City .... It was really a new kind of music i was discovering amost 15 years ago.

Dev's univers is pure magic. (Don't forget to come back to Paris , you owe us a frakking show ;) )
#262715 by bassbait
Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:13 am
Although it's REALLY hard to disagree with the man himself, I go with Alien. That album is his masterpiece, and I might think that it always will be. He went ALL OUT, and created something not even HE could have dreamed of. Alien is the ultimate symphony of chaos. It's one of the greatest albums ever recorded, and if it hadn't been for Alien, I would have never gotten into Devin's work. Alien stands, in my eyes, as his best record. Flawless production, incredible writing, and I even believe it to be a concept album about the fear of having children and getting married and settling down, something he later became ok with. The album's themes mirror that of Eraserhead, one of the greatest movies ever made, and for all of these reasons, I consider Alien the best. Also, it's the most technically dynamic album to me. Alien = PERFECT. For City, I could have done without Room 429 or Spirituality. To me, they just aren't that great of songs. But for Alien, every song is fantastic.
#262717 by bassbait
Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:21 am
Jaglavak wrote:A little late to the party, but...

I went with City; Alien being my close second and SYL coming in third. The New Black and HAARHT are pretty inconsistent for me; thus, why they didn't make the top three spots on my list. SYL is a fantastic album, containing what might be the best harsh vocal performance of Devin's career (Don't agree with me? Listen to Bring on the Young), but the songwriting is a bit too... restrained, I guess, for a Strapping album. Last Minute and Aftermath come close to what I feel the record was trying to achieve, but... it just never makes it all the way there. Alien might very possibly have been my number one pick, but it loses me after We Ride ends. Possessions just doesn't keep up the level of intensity that the previous six tracks have; Two Weeks just... really feels unnecessary; Thalamus and Zen are good, but not great, and Info Dump isn't something I really even take into consideration. The last 5 tracks aren't bad, by any stretch, just not up to the standards I feel the first half of the album establishes. I'm not asking for every song to reach Shitstorm-level intensity, but... the energy level just drops too much for me, the second half of the album.

City, however... absolutely rips, from start to finish - yes, even Room 429. There isn't a single track on that album I skip while listening to it, because every single one of them is incredible. Home Nucleonics, the aforementioned Room 429 and Spirituality all took time to grow on me (the rest clicked on the first listen), but when they did, City literally became the 'perfect' metal album, for me. It's definitely my favorite of ALL the Strapping albums; as well as my favorite of all of Dev's 'metal' output. I'm actually pretty confident that Deconstruction is going to change my opinion, come June, but for now... City is the best. :P


I mentioned that I think Alien is a concept album, and the reason why Possessions onwards loses steam for you is the reason I mentioned - Possessions is the "orgasm" of the album, and Two Weeks is the aftermath. The reason why it loses steam and the energy level drops, at least in my eyes, is because the theme is about a basic character similar to Devin that has an internal fear of settling down, getting married, and having children. "Imperial" is about his own birth - "the two became one, 'till we collide, two worlds collide", and also about the return of SYL. "Skeksis" is about his growing up, with the song being titled after his favorite film growing up, The Dark Crystal, and the majority of the lyrics being about child-like things such as mathematics and his "awkward soul" which sounds much like adolescence. "Shitstorm" is his lashing out at everything, and the first introduction of his fear of sex and kids, with the "Ladies" portion of the song, as well as the "little baby" parts of the song. "Love?" is pretty obvious, mainly being about his hatred for the concept of love and his analysis of the subject, but with the line "Suicide at home", I think that he's suggesting that love for him is like suicide, the thought of going home to his girlfriend or wife (not REAL Devin, but Alien Devin) is like suicide. "Shine" is more about his personal life, and "We Ride" is when the ultimate fighting that results from his personality with the tendency to lash out, causes them to "connect and emerge", which is a metaphor for sex and relationships in general. "Possessions" is the last moments before the orgasm, all of the things that go through his head about his fears. "Two Weeks" is when he finally succumbs to the "love" that he questioned a few songs earlier. "Thalamus" and "Zen" are about self-realization. He's now free, alive, and he feels alright.

I consider the album to be a concept album for many reasons, and the title "Alien" is appropriate, as all of the concepts of romance and marriage and family are alien to this character, and what Devin created with this was alien to the real life version of him.
#270090 by vt1100
Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:03 am
"by vt1100 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:46 pm
Just listening to SYL (chickenfeather) and absolutely loving it, somehow it has easier "accessibility" than Alien... Well for me anyway. The New Black was my first SYL album, and Polyphony+The New Black is kick-ass combo. City and HaaRHT still missing from my Dev collection :oops: (not for long...).

So SYL gets my vote."

So, some time has passed since that post... Today my list would be:

1. Alien. This is the shit, strongest album as whole from start to last song.
2. City. Some brutal, almost chaos-like sounds.
3. SYL. More traditional and easy listening for beginners.
4. The New Black. Some good songs but as whole not so great.
5. HAARHT. Sounds like demo collection...

I also have Chaos Years but it collects dust in shelf.
#271070 by Kore
Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:53 pm
When I can't decide what album I'm in the mood for, I just go with Chaos Years.
#274404 by Griff
Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:14 pm
I'm not surprised City is the most voted, and that's where I voted also. I am surprised Alien came so close, though I knew it would be second, just not so close. I'm also surprised those two are soooo far ahead of everything else.
#275525 by Shirtstrom
Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:29 pm
Alien to me is life changing. The only album that comes close to the absolute insanity of Alien is of course City, but Alien inches quite a bit more to that point of indefinite madness and destruction. The riffs are more twisted, the drumming and samples are absolutely chaotic, the atmosphere is thick as it can be, and Devin's vocal performance is the most passion filled and convincing I have ever heard in any extreme metal record. I even love Info Dump; it get goosebumps whenever I divulge myself in it, especially right after going through the rest of the album before.
#275547 by mrbean667
Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:39 am
Shirtstrom wrote:Alien to me is life changing. The only album that comes close to the absolute insanity of Alien is of course City, but Alien inches quite a bit more to that point of indefinite madness and destruction. The riffs are more twisted, the drumming and samples are absolutely chaotic, the atmosphere is thick as it can be, and Devin's vocal performance is the most passion filled and convincing I have ever heard in any extreme metal record. I even love Info Dump; it get goosebumps whenever I divulge myself in it, especially right after going through the rest of the album before.


My thoughts exactly.
#278892 by barackobaka
Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:44 pm
Man, Alien changed my life... really nothing tops this as far as heavy music goes in my opinion.
Its massive, glorious, heavy as fuck, insane, and coated in this weird, otherworldly, "detatched" feeling.
Also, Infodump is the only song that has given me nightmares.... ridiculously intense stuff!
City rules, but its a bit too straightforward for me.
#278907 by mrbean667
Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:58 am
I am really liking the chickenfeather album as of late. I always loved it, but the subtlety of its deeper appeal is just starting to creep up on me. Headbangable as fuck with a relevant social message.

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