The offer was ultimately rescinded by the head of Roadrunner, who regarded Townsend's recordings as "just noise". According to Townsend, the recording process took "about a week". A few songs, however, featured local session musicians , including guitarist Jed Simon, Townsend's future bandmate. Released on April 4, , Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing was not widely recognized in the metal community.
Its unusual musical ideas—a synthesis of death ,  thrash , and industrial metal influences—prompted Andy Stout from Metal Hammer to call it "one of the most disturbing albums you'll hear for a very long time". He dismissed the album in the liner notes of the record's reissue, contending it contained only two great songs. That's the ultimate one out of all of them". On May 30, , they performed at the Dynamo Open Air festival in Eindhoven , Netherlands , then continued touring the next month in Europe.
Century Media was not initially interested in releasing a live record, but impressed with Townsend's production, the label agreed to release it. On hiatus — [ edit ] At the end of , Townsend placed Strapping Young Lad on hiatus to concentrate on his solo career and on his work as a record producer. He had already released two solo albums, Ocean Machine: Biomech in and Infinity in and produced several other artists' albums.
I signed a shitty deal, but luckily it was non-exclusive. I got tired of doing Strapping so I said, 'I can't do it anymore.
My lawyer said that I was under mental duress when I signed the contract so the contract is void. At that point it was like, 'I just won't do another Strapping record. Although Strapping Young Lad was officially on hiatus, they gave occasional live performances, including an appearance on the Foot In Mouth Tour in with Fear Factory.
During this period, Townsend's bandmates were active musically; both Stroud and Hoglan recorded with other bands, and all three were involved in Townsend's solo efforts as studio musicians and as part of his live band as well.
Hoglan and Simon also formed a side project called Tenet with Grip Inc. He emphasized he was not "forcing" his product upon fans to generate record sales, arguing his band—and its contract with Century—was never a lucrative endeavor.
Instead, Townsend's motivation was the "creative anger" sparked by the September 11, attacks and further cultivated during their tour. The band toured heavily throughout and , making stops in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia.
Although Townsend stated Strapping Young Lad might be the last album,  the band re-signed with Century Media Worldwide in March and announced plans for a new album. Live at the Commodore , which documented the band's January 16, , performance at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. Bonus features included two music videos , "Relentless" and "Detox", and interviews with band members. Alien was released on March 22, , selling 3, copies in its first week.
It was also available as a bonus DVD of the limited first edition of the album. Allmusic described its chorused harmonies as " King's X from hell". Its accompanying music video, inspired by the cult horror film , The Evil Dead , was directed by Joe Lynch. Although planned for release in , the EP was eventually canceled. The band embarked on a headlining tour in the United States in April and May , then went on to tour in Europe.
Throughout the tour, Fear Factory bassist Stroud performed with both bands at every concert. Strapping Young Lad concluded the year with a tour in the UK. While on tour, the band started writing the next album,  then continued the work in January ,  and finished the album by May.
Century Media imposed a strict deadline on the release date of the album; it was to be ready before the Ozzfest. Despite this, Townsend stated the recording was not rushed,  and The New Black became a critical, as well as a commercial, success.
It was more melodic than any of the band's previous albums and brought back the debut album's tongue-in-cheek humor. Dissolution [ edit ] Townsend recalls that after Alien, he already knew that he wouldn't want to continue SYL as a project,  and that he already wished to abandon SYL after the release of City already, considering the project's purpose fulfilled. So I was just like, I'm going to make this record, and do this stupid Ozzfest thing, and tell a bunch of stupid jokes in front of a lot of people at Download, then I'm just going to fuck off for a while.
The bigger this gets, the less I care, to the point where I just need to go spend some time with my family. I don't wanna bastardise Strapping and all these other projects by doing it for the money.
Strapping was about the big middle finger, and it still is, but I don't think it needs to go any further than this. Although Hoglan initially denied the definitive break-up of the band, saying they would go on tour in March ,  he later stated Strapping Young Lad is on "extended hiatus", and might never reunite again.
Townsend discussed his future projects in a May Metal Hammer interview, where he stated "there may be some stuff I do in the future that is as brutal and heavy as Strapping, it's just not going to be Strapping". A career spanning best of album , entitled — Chaos Years , was released on March 31, , with a bonus DVD of live performances and all of the band's music videos. Townsend has since stated that this was a one off performance and that he is not interested getting SYL back together or playing songs at future shows.
He posted to Twitter that he no longer feels the same connection to SYL's music and that this performance was closure for him and Strapping. In , on tour with the Devin Townsend project, he would sometimes play a humorous acoustic version of Detox.
Musical style[ edit ] Strapping Young Lad's music combined genres such as industrial metal ,   thrash metal ,  and black metal. According to Townsend, the band functioned as his "outlet to freak out",  and his two main projects, the more melodic The Devin Townsend Band and the aggressive Strapping Young Lad were "supposed to be the positive and the negative". Townsend used the newest technology available, such as Pro Tools , Steinberg Cubase and Logic Pro , when recording, mixing and producing the band's songs.
Townsend cited, amongst others, Judas Priest , Jane's Addiction , Zoviet France , Grotus , and Frank Zappa as his influences,  and also expressed his admiration for Meshuggah on several occasions, calling them "the best metal band on the planet".