City (Strapping Young Lad album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 11, 1997
RecordedJuly 1996[1]
StudioRed Stripe Studio, Burnaby
Mothership Studios, Los Angeles, California
LabelCentury Media
Strapping Young Lad chronology
Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing
No Sleep 'till Bedtime
Devin Townsend chronology
Punky Brüster – Cooked on Phonics
Ocean Machine: Biomech

City is the second studio album by Canadian extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad, released on February 11, 1997. Frontman Devin Townsend assembled a permanent lineup of Strapping Young Lad to record the album, including prolific drummer Gene Hoglan, and Townsend's former bandmates Jed Simon on guitar and Byron Stroud on bass. The album was critically acclaimed, with Revolver naming it one of "the greatest metal albums of all time",[2] and it is widely considered Strapping Young Lad's best work. The album was re-released in 2007 with several bonus tracks and altered cover art.


After releasing the first Strapping Young Lad album, Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing, as a solo album, Townsend recruited a permanent line-up for the second album: Jed Simon on guitar, Byron Stroud on bass and Gene Hoglan on drums.

Devin moved to the UK to work with the Wildhearts, before moving back to Vancouver to work at a restaurant. He then decided to move to LA and "move in with some mutual friends and (I) slept on their couch and wrote Ocean Machine and City.[3] The album was written about the city of Los Angeles,[3] as well as being majorly influenced by the 1980s Japanese television anime series Dirty Pair as well as Yukito Kishiro's 1990s manga series Battle Angel Alita[4]

City was remastered and re-released in 2007, and included several unreleased tracks, as well as a Japanese bonus track and the video for "Detox".[5] The album was re-released in 2012, and includes a CD version of For Those Aboot to Rock: Live at the Commodore as a bonus disc. Teddy Möller (credited as "Septic Ted") from Loch Vostok appears as a guest saxophonist on the joke-track "Headrhoid".[6]

Bonus track "Centipede" is featured on all versions of No Sleep 'till Bedtime, and samples a percussion loop from "Happiness in Slavery" by Nine Inch Nails.


Professional ratings
Review scores

City received highly positive reviews. Kerrang! praised the album for its heaviness, claiming it sounded like "sticking your head into the jet nozzle of a Stealth Bomber",[8] while Metal Hammer ranked it No. 13 on its "Top 20 Albums of 1997" list[9] and also included it in another list released in 2020 and containing what they considered to be the top 10 albums of that year.[10] The album gained a cult following and a loyal fan base for the band.[11] City is considered to be the band's best effort by a large number of fans[12] and critics alike.[13][14]

In 2002, the album was No. 45 on Revolver magazine's "69 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time" list,[2] and was on their "Must Have Metal Albums" list in 2005.[11] It also appeared on the "100 Most Important Albums of the Nineties" list conducted by Terrorizer.[15] Townsend himself stated City "is the real Strapping record. That's the ultimate one out of all of them".[16] City sold over 9,000 copies its first week.[17] The song "Oh My Fucking God" was later covered by fellow Canadian extreme metal band Cryptopsy, for a compilation album by Century Media.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Devin Townsend, except where noted.

1."Velvet Kevorkian"1:17
2."All Hail the New Flesh"5:24
3."Oh My Fucking God"3:34
5."Home Nucleonics"2:31
7."Underneath the Waves"3:40
8."Room 429" (Tod Ashley) (Cop Shoot Cop cover)5:21
Bonus tracks
10."Centipede" (available on Japanese release and 2007 remaster)7:55
11."Home Nucleonics" ('96 demo, available on Japanese release of No Sleep 'till Bedtime and 2007 remaster)3:02
12."Headrhoid" (Gunt demo, available on Japanese release of No Sleep 'till Bedtime and 2007 remaster)1:38
13."Detox" ('96 demo, available on Japanese release of No Sleep 'till Bedtime and 2007 remaster)5:48
14."AAA" ('96 demo, available on Japanese release of No Sleep 'till Bedtime and 2007 remaster)5:22


Strapping Young Lad[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

The Cruxfrog Choir[edit]

  • Val (Chris Valago)
  • Stoolie B. Flames (Byron Stroud)
  • The Tower
  • Pete "this beer reminds me of the beaches in Portugal" Maia

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Daniel Bergstrand – audio (Drums and reference tracks) engineering, final mix.
  • Matteo Caratozzolo – audio (overdubs and hell) engineering, Red Stripe Studios Burnaby BC
  • Danne the Manne – additional production
  • Mercello Gomes – assistant engineering
  • Steve Good – assistant engineering
  • The Tower – second recording engineering
  • Steve Good – studio coordination
  • MC2 – editing
  • Lulu Devine – editing
  • Adrian White – additional drum arrangements on "AAA"
  • Strapping Young Lad – additional arrangements
  • Masa Noda – photography
  • Dan Collins – photography


  1. ^ "News for 1996 on Devin Townsend's official website". February 2, 1999. Archived from the original on 1999-02-02. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "The 69 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". Revolver. 2002, September/October.
  3. ^ a b "Devin Townsend: 'I Wanna be Part of Something. I Don't Wanna be the Thing' | Interviews @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com". Archived from the original on 2014-12-25. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  4. ^ @dvntownsend (21 May 2019). " fact, that and 'The Dirty Pair' played into the writing of City in a huge way..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ City at AllMusic. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Omega Experiment on Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.[user-generated source]
  7. ^ City at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  8. ^ Sheils, Liam. "Strapping Young Lad – City". Kerrang!. February 1, 1997, Iss. 633.
  9. ^ "Top 20 Albums of 1997". Metal Hammer. December 1997.
  10. ^ "The Top 10 best albums of 1997". Metal Hammer. Future plc. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Strapping Young Lad: ALIEN CD Release". 2005-03-23. Archived from the original on 2005-03-28. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  12. ^ Rademacher, Brian (2005-08-11). "Interview with Jed Simon". Rock Eyez Webzine. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  13. ^ Bergman, Keith. "Strapping Young Lad – The New Black review". Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  14. ^ Begrand, Adrien (2005-03-25). "Strapping Young Lad: Alien review". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  15. ^ "100 Most Important Albums of the Nineties". Terrorizer. February 2000, Iss. 75.
  16. ^ "Strapping Young Lad Are All Rocked Out". Exclaim!. July 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  17. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET – Metal/Hard Rock Album Sales In The US As Reported By SoundScan". Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
  18. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET – CRYPTOPSY Covers STRAPPING YOUNG LAD's 'Oh My F**king God'; Audio Available". Archived from the original on 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2012-02-09.