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Classic Album Reviews: Strapping Young Lad | No Sleep ‘Till Bedtime / Samael | Exodus

The Canadian maverick and & Swiss goths showcase two sides of the metal coin.

This came out in 1998 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


There are two kinds of metalheads: The ones who get the joke and the ones who take it way too seriously.

The Canuck quintet Strapping Young Lad, led by Vancouver’s Devin Townsend, belong in the former group. Along with the requisite boom, blast and bombast, this live CD showcases Devin’s devilishly twisted wit on songs like Velvet Kevorkian and Far Beyond Metal, which joyously “accents the cheesier parts.” Is Devin laughing with fans or at them? Who cares — as long as he makes us laugh. Swiss foursome Samael, by contrast, brew their metal like high-test coffee — black, strong and bitter. With a flair for the operatic and dramatic, Samael mine a heavy-goth vein similar to Type O Negative. Full of fire-breathing vocals, macabre melodies and superbly programmed drum machines, this is metal worth taking seriously.