Maniacal Canadian extremists STRAPPING YOUNG LAD have just entered Armoury Studios in Vancouver to record the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2002 release, "SYL". Devin Townsend (vocals, guitars) checks in with the following studio update.
"Here's a heads up from the Dev, speaking on behalf of the STRAPPING camp. We recently put in a long touring year and we all went through many changes as a result. We took this year for everyone to get their shit together on a personal and business level and really analyzed what it was about, what SYL represents that makes it (to us) so powerful.
"We toured with MESHUGGAH last year, and everyone really connected. Gene Hoglan (DEATH, TESTAMENT) and I saw the musical connection established by those guys and really wanted to see if we could finally do the same. It seems the more shit you get over and out into the open in terms of a band relationship, the more you realize that the only job we have to do and do well is rock. And not in a 'group hug, lets all hold hands and pray' kind of way, but more to do with the fact that we spend a fuck of a lot of time together, not discussing something as trivial as maybe somebody’s stinky feet.
"Christian and Raymond (FEAR FACTORY) seemed to mirror this connection when we met up with them during the writing of their latest album, and it got Gene and I thinking...'Why don't we explore the freaks within' and try to make something really unique. And thus, after 7 months of preparation, we have finally started recording what we think of as being a new chapter in the SYL evolution. I personally was really discouraged by 'metal' lyrical themes. I relate to anger and anxiety, but I'm not really free-floating in terms of it anymore. Life gets pretty complicated with mortgages, relationships, age, death, family, children and money. These are now the things I find myself and the people in my age group more focused on now.
"For a few years, I've had the idea of the ultimate metal band, and after 'SYL' (the album) laid the re-establishing framework coupled with the hectic touring season last year and our kick ass new DVD, we figured it was time to put it all together. We wanted to really be objective with our catalog and new material in terms of what was below par, or 'songs to illustrate an effect' when I think of SYL. I now want to think of us in terms of 'extreme music' as well as extreme metal. We are now in a position (if we kick ass...and we do) to become something really fucking neat.
"Metal gets a bad rap. The reason a lot of us are involved in it is there are few ways artistically to convey this amount of tangible EXTREME emotion than heavy music. Its bluntness in terms of the conveying of raw emotion is the key I think to its appeal. We want STRAPPING to be appreciated by jazz dudes, classical dudes or whomever. We're musicians first who choose to play extreme metal / music because of its ability to really make an impact when it needs to. Times are fairly strange. STRAPPING is a forum for a whole bunch of friends and artists to come together and FUCK SHIT UP...with the best sounds, production, tunes, drums, vox, guitars, bass and keys we can possibly do. We don't want to please anybody, but we want to give people panic attacks and temporary mania (catharsis!!!).
"We entered the Armoury Studios in Vancouver about a week back, and Gene played the best drums of his career. His drumming on this record is fully unique, and we have been filming a 'making of' the record for the digipak release."
Songtitles (so far):
09. What's New, Pussycat? (TOM JONES cover)
About the TOM JONES cover, Devin says: "Trust us, it's cool... God help us to never make a video for it or we'll be fucked for the rest of our career..."