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Devin Townsend - Terria CD (album) cover


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

4.20 | 658 ratings

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La fraisne
5 stars Terria is simply the biggest artistic statement prog rock has made. Townsend has here mastered his style, and broken massive new ground. Whether or not this is the greatest album of all time is a different matter, but it is safe to say that nothing in the history of music has ever sounded like this. Here's how I see it:

The mix on every single song is HUGE. Sometimes an entire song will play under the main song, in a different, but related, key, producing some very strange and beautiful harmony. Sometimes effects will be played that can barely be heard under the primary harmony, but distort it slightly in a strange way, like you are listening to a big waterfall, and a flock of birds fly through it. I'm not shocked that some people do not get this, as this is progressive in the truest, strictest sense. And it is serene, it is graceful, it is mind-shatteringly beautiful. This is no longer the music of a young man, as Ocean machine and Infinity are. This is the production of a developed musical mind. This is Mozart's 9th piano concerto. Breakthrough.

Olives opens the whole thing up, inviting the listener: 'Come in / Right this way / Sit down / Martini? / Stir your drink? / OLIVE?' Yes, this is strange, but as an introdution, it is sensational. The main riff from Mountain, or a version of it, plays in the background, and the whole thing gradually builds until a massive dynamic shift leads into Mountain. The main riff is a four note tutti cataclysm, and the whole thing experiences a sort of relief with the 'So far' section, which is major the first time it happens, minor the second time. 2 minutes in, the B section is an introdution to the harmonic complexities in the album. A 6/8 section is played behind, in different time and key, by two synths, one running scales over the whole thing, the other playing a wierd, wandering melody. As both of these are quiet, there is no sense of dissonance. About 5 minutes in, the whole thing stops, revealing the song playing in the background, which is soloed over in a different key. Both song and solo are unrelated to the main song, but the whole effect is wonderful, and mainly in place to divide Mountain from the Main Statement piece, the tone setter, Earth day.

Earth day crashes into the quiet peace with which Mountain ended, holding off chord I for the intro, a series of simple question/answers brilliantly performed. Then, into chord one for 'Eat your beets. / Recycle. / Don't eat your beets. / Recycle.', and the first lyrical major statement of the album: 'The message is; 'there is no message.'' Then, a modulation into the main verse, which is the strangest, heaviest swing you will ever hear, and brings up the drugs theme that runs through the album. 'I saw God... / But I didn't even know / If it was true / Or just a result of chemicals.' The section that follows, which might be described as a bridge, is about as angry and loud as Townsend has ever got, and it leads into the massive, sledgehammer like power of Chorus one, a simple two chord riff with the lyrics hammering over the top 'it's a way, it's a way, it's a way, it's a way' at the top of Devin's voice. This produces a beautiful effect when we go into what might be a break, or maybe verse 2. This is much more mellow than the previous section, but is nowhere near as interesting as the next section, a repeat of the first section: 'Eat your beets. / Recycle.' into chorus 2, the breathtaking peak of the whole song. The 'peace love joy' section is essentially a repeat of verse 1 in a tweaked key with different melody, and this leads into a repeat of the last few sections. This is a mighty fine way to open an album.

That's just one section of the overall coolness of this album. It stands with the best prog albums of all time.

La fraisne | 5/5 |


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