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Devin Townsend - Ocean Machine - Biomech CD (album) cover

OCEAN MACHINE - BIOMECH

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.98 | 305 ratings

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Raccoon
5 stars Besides a few songs from Terria, Ocean Machine was my first endeavor into the Bizarre World of Devin Townsend. This holds no bias though, as I honestly believe this debut is a masterpiece. I hold it higher than Terria, even. Recently, (a year back) I've become obsessed with the Mad Scientist of Metal, so in dedication to him, I thought I'd spread awareness about this contagion. This addiction. Why not start at the beginning?

After Sex & Religion's massive success (gold-status in Japan), Devin was recommended by his A&R rep to start his own label; get his name out. In return, he created the strange and eclectic Ocean Machine. Through the rage he displayed in Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing and City (a few months before), he created an album that channeled that anger, while at the same time entering a spacey scene.

Ocean Machine revolves around a cold, industrial tone. Think of Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream, a bold move with some fans embracing the change, while others yearning for more of the same. Strapping Young Lad never interested me, so this was a WELCOMED change.

Throughout the album's course, I find it more 'Heavy Rock' rather than Metal. "Seventh Wave" starts us off with heavy guitars, kicking drums, and Devin's multitude of emotion shown through his vocals. His voice belts extended yells and the heavenly "Ahhhhh!!"

"Life" displays an alternative-friendly sound, "Who we are, what we are! I'll see you on the other side!" This in no way means this song is dull, or 'poppy', but it means it's extremely catchy.

"Night" features the tough side of Devin's vocals, anger-fueled and excited. Not for the light-hearted. There's a break in the chorus, a sense of relief as he says, "Falling down?" and that's repeated at the end, leaving you relieved.

"Hide Nowhere" is one of my favorites. Easily. Quick guitar riffs, plenty of cymbals. Then it leads up to a frenzy of Devin vocal layerings, reminiscent of Gentle Giant. Such a memorable track.

"Sister" is short, sweet, and (as most have stated already) a nice break from the fast-paced guitar-drum work. Calm guitar, icy keyboards, smooth vocals. Many disregard this track, but you need diversity in a metal album or it becomes tiring or annoying. Opeth does it right also, breaks in-between the dense, metal sound. If there wasn't, I probably couldn't listen to the album (Opeth and Townsend alike) in its entirety.

"3 A.M." continues on this path, where "Sister" left off. Again, great keyboard work calmer than "Sister" even. This leads up to "Voices In The Fan," opening with heavier riffs and Devin's signature yelling. This all follows a steady beat, every word stated clearly to add emphasis, which makes it catchy and powerful. Ends peacefully; a moment of silence, and a choir comes in.

"Greetings" has a build-up of magnificent proportions in its short length. "Regulator" is a complex, punchy (while still being spacey) song with a drum beat pausing between each beat. Nearly impossible to not headbang, just try to contain a slight head-nod. Rough vocals, rough guitar, and occasional keyboard-backing.

"Funeral" starts off reminding me of OK Computer, a silky, electronic-induced keyboard. Following with a mellow, steady guitar riff, soaring vocals. May take some time for first-timers of this album, could seem too slow to them. Soon, you'll learn to love the totality of its 8-minute length. The last minute features a Gilmour-like guitar, a perfect ending.

"Bastard" goes through various tempos, various emotions of Devin's voice, perhaps the most passionate display of his vocal-work. It's mainly based around his lyrics and his voice setting the mood, like Van der Graaf.

Last but not least, and let's make this clear: CERTAINLY not least, is "The Death of Music." A haunting track consisting of (what sounds like) sound clips of conversations. Over this, is Devin's strained voice: "And things I am, are things that should not be." This builds to a grandeur of keyboards, airy guitars, and that same programmed drum beat throughout. That rattle. Then, in a moment of seeming clarity, he sings (in an almost operatic-fashion): "It's like a death!! Becomes musical, musical..." The laughing and conversations continue again, little jokes like, "F**k you, okay, eh?" and the programmed drums continue... It seems simple, or silly, but this'll stay with you forever. That same beat surrounding the song.

Townsend has stated on his website (hevydevy.com) that he's "very proud of this album, and has a very obvious 'blue' feeling to me." Every album's unique in Devin's discography, though this'll always remain as one of my favorites. It changed the game for Devin, venturing further than just metal. The music had an atmosphere to it, and explored a whole new territory.

Raccoon | 5/5 |

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