Friday 5

Friday 5: Five Moshingest Devin Townsend Jams #HolySh*t

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Happy Friday, MetalSucks reader! Welcome to MetalSucks Friday 5, our awesome series that appears every Friday (duh) on MetalSucks (duhh) and involves the quantity of five (duhhh).

Here’s how it works: A list of best/worst/weirdest/whatever five somethings is posted by one of your beloved MetalSucks contributors or by one of our buds (like you?). Then you, our cherished reader, checks it out, has a chuckle, then chimes in with a list of the same. No sweat, just whatever springs to mind, k? (Just like that movie about those losers working at a Chicago record store!) After all, it’s Friday — the day dedicated by the gods to mindless, fun time-wasting. 

Today, let’s talk about the heaviest dude in metal … not anymore!

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THE FIVE

What are the five heaviest songs by Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad?

THE LISTER

Anso DFMetalSucks senior editor

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1. “Goat”
from Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing
Century Media | 1995

Last week, Devin Townsend and I engaged in a brief online conversation about Sting, bass playing, and the perils of one’s own excellence. His vibe was measured and mellow, and stubbornly deflective of even the most distantly implied compliments. He’s gracious to a fault, almost skittish. But you may recall when his public persona, like his jams, more closely fit the traditional definition of “metal.” If in 1995 I had tipped him to a mainstream soft rock album for olds, he may have done a 180 and taken a dump on my shoes. He would’ve been forced to. He had a rep to maintain: the most unpredictable fucker in metal. Jams like “Goat” make us equally unpredictable!

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2. “All Hail The New Flesh” 
from City
Century Media | 1997

It’s fun to look back to those SYL days, for this balanced, enlightenment-seeking adult was once a raging, antagonistic scream-bot from Uranus. We know him now as a content-ish, self-effacing smooth metal auteur; then, he authored the heaviest shit on earth and peppered it liberally with F-bombs. His identity came later; first, he had some anger to exorcise. It was Dev vs. Earth, no mercy. And he liked it that way.

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3. “Far Beyond Metal [live]”
from No Sleep ‘Till Bedtime: Live In Australia
Century Media | 1998

“Far Beyond Metal” got a studio version on 2006’s The New Black, but first it arrived via a live mini-album eight years earlier. O, how effortlessly Townsend could belch out a jam for the ages! Its lyrics seem tossed off, its performance one of its first, and its subject quaint and insubstantial. Yet it provides a snapshot of Townsend’s intense study of metal and its charms, for it is so heavy and memorable — almost casually so — that it can be one of your favorite jams anyway.

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4. “Devour”
from Strapping Young Lad
Century Media | 2003

After 1997’s City, Townsend rolled out a live SYL EP (above), an album-length hybrid of touchy-feely Dev and Strapping titled Physicist, and a trio of sprawling solo albums. The latter dominated this period and displayed him in his safe zone where anything goes; aside of a few moments of bitterness, this was the soundtrack of Devin’s quest for understanding. By 2003, Strapping returned with a self-titled album — probably against its mastermind’s better judgement. Still, it never fails to convince that he rage anew. He might’ve been nearing contentment, but the post-9/11 world was scary enough to make anybody scream. See “Devour” (above) you are moshing!!

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5. “Possessions”
from Alien
Century Media | 2005

Like Physicist, Strapping Young Lad’s final album marries Devin Townsend the philosopher to the Devin Townsend who screams directly into your eye socket. That is, on fourth and ultimate SYL album Alien, Townsend expressed a new discomfort: family life. As Ziltoid The Omniscient would later play like a message to his offspring — a sort of extreme metal via Douglas Adams play to function like Michael Keaton’s videotape in the movie My Life — Alien attempts to author an user’s guide for his loved ones. Being Devin Townsend’s Family While He’s Freaking Out For Dummies, if you will. It rips!  

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Did we get it right? Have a great wknd!

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