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Devin Townsend - The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution CD (album) cover

THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND: ACCELERATED EVOLUTION

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.90 | 233 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Accelerated Evolution was the first album that was released by The Devin Townsend Band. Previous albums by Devin were named as solo albums. This album was recorded at the same time as the Strapping Young Lad album (Another Devin Project of extreme metal) of the same year. AE was supposed to be the polar opposite of the SYL album. Even though this album is more listener friendly than the SYL album and most of DT's other albums, it still has plenty of explosive riffs and emotional sound. You still have Devin's Wall of Sound made with multi-layered guitars and keyboards. However, you can still notice a difference in the intensity here. There is also a lot less use of progressive elements in order to make the music more accessible. Devin does this well without compromising his signature sound too much. DT was praised by the critics in that he was able to do this so well.

Even with things a little more listener friendly, there is still plenty to love on this album and it is still a worthwhile addition to DT's discography. Devin still has an extreme amount of passion in his voice, which I love. Many people think this is screaming, but there is a difference here because you can hear Devin's passion in his music, and it moves me every time. I typically don't like screaming or growling vocals, but I love the sound that Devin gets from his voice, and like I said, it resemble passion more that just mere yelling and screaming, plus there is a lot of musicality when he reaches his extremes of his voice. Don't worry though if this scares you a bit, there is a lot more clean vocals on this album, and that still doesn't take away from his passion.

The album starts out with "Depth Charge" which is a very upcharges track, very similar to his usual style, and immediately you don't notice any changes. This is an amazing song that introduces you to his signature sound and is one of the more progressive songs on the album. Next, on "Storm", you hear a slight lift on the wall of noise sound, but there is still plenty of passion, even though his voice is clean now. This one builds and then explodes near the end, and the intensity is so high at the end that it almost brings tears to my eyes. After that, the track "Random Analysis" has a steady beat that goes through most of the song. This one to me is not as interesting in that it really offers not much change from start to finish and it doesn't stick with me so much.

The tone turns darker now as the feeling of "Deadhead" approaches a hard but slower beat, almost blues style but not quite. This gives us a nice change of pace to make sure things stay interesting. DT's voice is a lower register here, and things stay very interesting throughout this piece as it leads into a sort of psychedelic feel with layered vocals before it returns to the main theme again. This is followed by "Suicide" which remains dark but is driven by a harder beat and an amazing guitar riff that also drives the song. I love this one.

"Traveller" is more of a radio friendly song and doesn't really do much for me. "Away" comes next, and almost seems to segue from the previous track, so you think maybe things are going to sound same-y here, but this develops into something beautiful and flowing, somewhat similar to "Deep Peace" from the "Terria" album, but not quite the same. It is mostly instrumental, but has some subdued vocals deep in the mix. You notice now that somewhere along the way, the wall of sound is gone most of the time now, but there still is an intensity. "Sunday Afternoon" is also a beautiful track, more atmospheric and relaxing, yet still intense. "Slow Me Down" is just too typical MOR almost and I tend to lose interest in it before it's over. Even though the 2nd half of the album still has plenty of highlights, it does tend to lose some strength here which might get better after repeated listens.

The special edition of the album included a 3-track EP entitled "Project EKO". This is a completely different style from the regular album in that it is electronica done by Devin Townsend. This is nothing like anything he has done prior to this, but he will explore more of in the future. "Locate" has a steady mid tempo beat throughout with a short section with vocals mixed at a lower volume. Nothing much really happens here, just what sounds like some electronic noodling and etc. "Echo" is a little more interesting with some spoken word samples mixed in here and there. The rhythm is a more driving beat with some more traditional sounds put in to make it sound more authentic. The melodies over the top of the rhythm are more interesting that the previous track. "Assignable" is the last track. This one has a boring and repetitive rhythm track and a sort of psychedelic riff happening on top. Sort of like early Porcupine Tree instrumentals, but less interesting.

Overall , the main album is interesting especially on the first half. The second half is the more mellow side, but still has plenty on it to keep it interesting. Interest seems to wear thin though when things tend to get too accessible. Not a perfect album for DT, but still a great effort. I feel comfortable enough to give it 4 stars, mostly on the merit of the high points of the album. I am not counting in the EP as part of the rating because on it's own, it doesn't really do much for me, and it was added as a bonus and not part of the album.

TCat | 4/5 |

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