It is hard to think of an album more worthy of praise than this disc. Not only did Devin Townsend secure his final line-up for the band on this album, but he forever earned his reputation as the musical genius of metal. While other metal guitarists and artists are more than happy to list that their inspiration came from other metal acts, it's the like of Townsend that name the classical composers of the 1880's as his heroes.
City is a masterpiece in every since of the word. For those of you not familiar with what the word is supposed to mean, it's very simple; a Masterpiece, or Masterwork, is suppose to be the very embodiment of everything an artist has learned put into one piece. If one wanted to, Leonardo's “The Last Supper” could be considered just that thanks to his use of technique and as it was, in essence, everything he knew and learned and pioneered thanks to his genius.
In that same vein, City by Strapping Young Lad is just that; It is THE embodiment of everything that Devin Townsend is capable of.
If there was ever any album that could be called the very portrait of anger and rage, this is it. There is, and never again will be, something that could describe the very anger and rage that goes through the mind of a person in the history of music. Devin Townsend himself has bi-polar disorder. While others would say he “suffers” from it, it's quite the contrary; It has done nothing, in terms of his art, but to act as the single greatest driving force possible. I have known people who have that disorder; I, myself, suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.). I may have Bi-Polar, too, which wouldn't be too surprising.
Without question, this is the most dangerous album ever recorded.
City opens with “Velvet Kevorkian”, the Deceleration of Independence according to Devin. It states in simple terms that he is sick and tired of it all and he wants more from life, his art, and his future. It's followed up by “All Hail the New Flesh”, the musical embodiment of the previous track. It is an insanely complex song that sounds like he is has actually recorded an anxiety attack with a metal band! It ends with a temper with pulsing drums and Devin screaming, “I want it all! I want it all! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!”; the very sound of anger itself, put on record!
“Oh My Fucking God” starts out as manic as you can get; Devin starts out with a relatively clam scream, leading into a non-stop verbal rant about modern society. This gives way later on to a fierce battle of guitars with Devin snarling like a man possessed, leading way to an intense drum blast that must have clocked close to the speed of sound! Soon, they are over-lapped with a chant of “la-la-la-la” over and over again, getting louder and louder and louder until it's enough to... yes, you have finally reached a point beyond anger and into insanity, greeted simply with yelling “Oh My Fucking God”.
“Detox” works just like that. You've been plunged into the world where you now have taken something, drugs, alcohol... something, anything to kill the pain and anger you were just feeling. The song leaves you feeling better than you came. You finally awaken half-way through this song wondering just how you got to the place you came to, feeling paranoid that your looking like an ass in some manner, only to return to the state you cam from. But your still thankful for the experience.
“Home Nucleonics” acts as the cry against all mankind; a “Fuck the world, I hope you all die” kind of sense. Your left feeling insanely angry, warning everyone not to get in your way. The song is essentially written from the perspective of a rouge robot in a future world. “AAA” is an intensely personal song about... well, we can only assume it was written from personal perspective, though I am not one to take 100% belief in it in this case.
“Underneath the Waves” returns you the intensely pissed off Devy that you met earlier. It is Devin screaming in frustration at how nothing is happening. “Tired of Waiting/Tired of Trying/Tired of Waiting/ For Fucking Nothing”, screams the chorus at the top of it's lungs! The guitars chug underneath, giving the cries even more presence.
“Spirituality” is the calmest of all and the perfect closer. It could possibly reveal that the entire album was written from the perspective of some robot, some experiment pondering it's existence, wondering if there is more to it's life than what it's seen. Something I think we can all relate to.
The album is incredibly powerful. Maybe that's why there's a diagram of a bomb on the front. It has the same power, the same intensity.
It deserves no less than a 10 out of 10.