Today in Metal: ‘The New Black’ by Strapping Young Lad turns 8 years old

Posted by on July 11, 2014


Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. 8 years ago today, Devin Townsend released the final Strapping Young Lad album, The New Black.

At time of writing, it seems like this might have been the last Strapping Young Lad album ever. The best part, as always is that Gene Hoglan is drumming on this album, which instantly one-ups any album in at least one way. Devin Townsend always makes for interesting musical compositions, even though I’ve never really connected much with him. I’m not sure if Devin or Jed Simon plays lead guitar on the album, or if they both do, but the solos all across the album are really cool sounding. Every single song, I looked forward to hearing the solo. Devin is a very unique singer, in the sense that he has both a great clean voice, and a really interesting growl too. “Far Beyond Metal” (which could EASILY be a Manowar song) also features vocals from the late Dave Brockie.

I don’t think Devin is funny. Never have, and I never will. Songs like “You Suck!” and “Fucker” are just complete wastes of space for me. And no, I refuse to buy into some meta joke that the joke is that the song sucks. The entire album felt like one big Devin joke, so I hope you like his sense of humor, or you probably won’t find much appealing in terms of lyrics. I also didn’t enjoy the odd shifts musically that I personally felt the album took. Sometimes songs were incredibly technical, while others songs were simple and incredibly repetitive. Some tracks were heavy as hell, and others were borderline poppy.

Favorite Tracks: “Far Beyond Metal,” “Decimator,” “Anti Product.”

I didn’t like this album, but as I said above, I’ve never connected to Devin Townsend. In general, I also have heard other Devin albums that I thought were more consistently good than this one. All of that being said, I feel Devin Townsend is a very ‘love him or hate him’ musician. There’s a LOT of fun, and GREAT music on this album, so fans of Devin will probably smile the whole time while listening to it. If you haven’t heard any Devin Townsend album before, either solo or with Strapping, you should give any of them a try, to see if you enjoy him. This may not be Devin’s best work, but it’s still solid. Just not one I enjoyed.

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