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Devin Townsend - Physicist CD (album) cover

PHYSICIST

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.03 | 111 ratings

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1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Physicist has the unhappy chance of coming after Ocean Machine and Infinity and before Terria. Whereas those three albums explored new territory for heavy metal, Physicist is a straight-forward oeuvre that recalls Devin's project Strapping Young Lad. He even uses his SYL lineup, although this was not planned. Originally, Devin formed a trio called IR8 with former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and Exodus/Angel Witch drummer Tom Hunting. However, label and scheduling conflicts forced Devin to use his band mates instead.

Although Devin doesn't display as much originality as he does on his other works, there are still a number of unusual aspects. For one, despite the heavy, straight-forward nature of the album, keyboards play a more prominent role than they ever have on a Townsend release. There are a handful of highlights to be found on this disc. The album opens with the fierce Namaste, which puts Devin's signature scream at the forefront over a fast beat. Kingdom manages to create a vast atmosphere that could rival anything on an Opeth release, but it does so at speeds even Opeth has never touched. Material has some touching lyrics and it features Devin's trademark layered vocal choirs that give even the most extreme song pop sensibilities. Jupiter slows things down to you a breather, and it is the first place where some real variability is displayed. The real highlight of the album is the glorious Planet Rain, an 11 minute opus that ranks as one of the Dev's greatest songs. Like all of Devin's epics, it builds from a simple riff into a vast soundscape that occupies every inch of your mind, cascading like waves against your cerebral cortex. It is one of Devin's best vocal performances, and the composition is to die for. This track alone is worth the price.

Sadly, the rest of the album is rather uninspiring. While anything Devin makes is worth hearing, this lacks the creative fire of the rest of his recordings and it doesn't warrant nearly as many listens as the moving Ocean Machine or the dense Terria. However, it has its bright moments, and no fan of The Dev should be without this.

Grade: C

1800iareyay | 3/5 |

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