When Devin Townsend, heavy metal alchemist and all around musical genius, set about creating his musical project, Strapping Young Lad, it was a shock to the Canadian metal scene.

With the perfectly titled debut, ‘Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing’, Townsend combined elements of thrash, death, and industrial metal, and more, into a monstrous wall of sound we now pretty easily recognise as “that Devy sound”. It also heavily incorporated complex time signatures and polyrhythms, demonstrating Townsend’s innovative musical talent.

SYL also introduced the world to Townsend’s insanely versatile vocal abilities. Death metal growls, black metal shrieks, and a wide spectrum of cleans all played a part in Strapping Young Lad’s music, and Townsend handled it all adeptly.

Over the next decade a and change, with Townsend recruiting a band around him, SYL toured consistently and released a further four albums. With the exception of a hiatus from ‘98 to ‘02, Strapping Young Lad remained at the forefront of extreme metal for their entire career.

In the end, however, it was Townsend’s need to retreat from the public eye and focus on solo material that saw Strapping Young Lad’s run come to a close.

Of course, Hevy Devy had much more to say…