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Devin Townsend - Physicist CD (album) cover


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

2.92 | 168 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars Like "Ocean Machine," Devin Townsend's "Physicist" was an album that originally began as a separate project, but ended up as another solo record. Originally envisioned as a band called "Fizzicist," the record was going to be a collaboration between Townsend and Jason Newsted, however Metallica's notorious "no side projects" policy of the era prevented the partnership from happening. Never one to let a music-making opportunity go to waste, Townsend assembled his Strapping Young Lad bandmates in the studio to make "Physicist," an album that is to Strapping what Steve Hackett's "Voyage of the Acolyte" is to Genesis.

The thing that jumps out about "Physicist" is that it's probably Devin's worst-sounding record. His talent as a producer has never been in question, however, by his own admission, the production is completely botched here, with many otherwise good songs marred by murky, muddy sound. Townsend would later rectify this error somewhat, by saving the album's most beautiful and memorable song, "Kingdom," from the slop, giving it a polish for Devin Townsend Project's "Epicloud."

"Physicist" is also a torn album. It wants to be an extreme Strapping Young Lad record, but it also desires that spiritual tone of the final act of "Infinity." Songs like "Namaste," "Victim," and "Material" sound like Strapping Young Lad love songs, while "Death," "Devoid," and "The Complex" seem more comfortable with in their heavy shoes. The big, prog finish comes in the form of "Planet Rain," but it's disappointingly tedious.

Ultimately this is an odd duck in Townsend's solo career, there's plenty here to like, but it feels like rushed and confused as to what it wants to be. It's the one album I that comes to mind in Townsend's output that begs for a remaster to fix the dull production and give some of these songs the spit-shine they need.

What did come to mind when revisiting "Physicist," was that it served to highlight that despite Townsend's neglect toward Strapping Young Lad, the specter of his popular extreme metal project would always haunt him, even long after its death.

HunterD | 2/5 |


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