Strapping Young Lad

By Eddy Metal

On Sunday, May 11 at Headliners, I got to see Canadian shredmonsters Strapping Young Lad again and it was worth the wait. At this show, I witnessed a drum and guitar exhibition like no other: it should have been called "Shredfest 2003." Double bass drums and lightning fast guitar riffs were the order of this day.

Local death metallers Gaebalein opened with a tight set of well-written songs. I was impressed having never seen them before. I liked the vocals. The vocalist mixes high screams with the low growls and screams.

Then local demons Incursion502, the Obi Wan Kenobis of screamers, played their original brand of Kentucky metal to a somewhat zoned crowd. I thought it sounded good as usual, but I miss the old guitar player, Kenny, who added power and intense riffage to their sound.

Then an equally heavy band called Reflux played. I don't recall where they said they were from but they were pretty good, though the vocals didn't do it for me. One the plus side, their guitarist was smokin' and had a jazzy, nearly classical feel to his style.

Then came another local act, Assisting Sorrow, led by guitar wizard Chris Leffler. They stole the show, as far as Louisville acts went, putting out some classically inspired death metal that's pretty damn cool. They presented their new singer, a respectable young lady named Ginger, who belts out black metal screams that would equal Dimmu, Cradle or Goatpenis, for that matter. They did a cover of Death's "Suicide Machine" that sounded great. This band jams.

Then came headliners, Century Media recording artists Strapping Young Lad. Seeing SYL is like standing on the highway and having a rig drive by real close doing 90 MPH!. They are the high masters of speed metal.

My drummer and I agreed that SYL drummer Gene Hoagland is probably the best metal drummer on the planet. It was worth the price to get in just seeing him go to town. Vocalist Devin Townsend is a smart and funny guy, whose brutal guitar riffs, both high and low vocals and engineering skills have dubbed him somewhat of a musical genius in the metal world. And well justified, too.

The crowd of some two hundred people ate up the chance to see SYL. I was getting crazy, too, I must admit.

Unhappily, some poor fools in this music scene don't realize the precision it requires to play music such as Death-, Speed- and classical black metal. They think its just noteless screaming and the pounding of guitars, but in reality, it takes very fast picking and muting on the guitar, and insanely fast and deadly precise footwork on the ol' skins. In other words, the average schmoe can't play the types of aforementioned music.

Props to Terry Harper and Headliners for bringing in such a heavy evil band, thank you; my drummer and I had a great time at this show. Please note that there wasn't any trouble at this show.