Here it is, where it all started, the first album from Devin Townsend's Strapping Young Lad, remastered and given the official release treatment it always should have had. Not that Heavy As a Really Heavy Thing is a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination-in fact, Devin pretty much sums that up in the hilarious liner notes included in the CD's booklet. However, this debut from one of the most unique and radical of all the extreme metal bands needed this sort of re-release, as the original CD version sounded pretty crappy, as well as the fact that the booklet contained no lyrics. Here, not only do you get enhanced sound, lyrics, comments from Townsend himself, but four bonus tracks and a video clip as well. Reason to buy again? You bet!
After the first two gems, "S.Y.L." and "In a Rainy Season", both strong Strapping songs that also have a similar feel to Townsend's solo material, things get rather manic and chaotic after that. Tunes like "Cod Metal King", and "Happer Camper" surge along at a frantic pace, led by Townsend's maniacal wailings and plenty of raging guitar riffs, but there are also some crunchier pieces, like the thrash metal mania of "Critic" or the pounding metal riff-o-rama of "Goat". Fans of the City album will love the cyber-metal of "Filler-Sweet Jesus" and "Drizzlehell", two excellent numbers with plenty of electronic elements, soaring melodies, and wild guitar playing.
The bonus tracks are very interesting indeed. "Satan's Ice Cream Truck" is a humorous little ditty, almost like a polka-metal tune, complete with bizarro kazoo sounds, oddball vocals, and a nifty guitar solo. Grinding, industrial metal is all the rage on "Japan", while "Monday" is an all-out progressive thrash piece. The kicker is a unique take on the Judas Priest classic "Exciter", done at high-speed with Devin doing his best Halford impression.
Heavy As a Really Heavy Thing shows SYL as an idea that had yet to really blossom, but the foundation is there. Joining Devin for this recording was Jed Simon on guitar (still in the band to this day), Adrian White & Chris Byes on drums, Chris Meyers on keyboards, and a few other musicians to help round things out, but for the most part it's Devin handling most of the parts. SYL would shortly thereafter morph into a full fledged band, with drum legend Gene Hoglan and bassist Byron Stroud joining the fray in what would become the current, and classic line-up of Strapping Young Lad. For a glimpse of what the early days sounded like in 1995, check this one out.
2. In the Rainy Season
4. Cod Metal King
5. Happy Camper (Carpe B.U.M.)
7. Filler-Sweet City Jesus
8. Skin Me
10. Satan's Ice Cream Truck-bonus track
11. Japan-bonus track
12. Monday-bonus track
13. Exciter-bonus track
14. S.Y.L. [Video Clip]