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Devin Townsend - Devlab CD (album) cover


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

2.14 | 90 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
2 stars When Devin Townsend released his Devin Townsend Band album "Accelerated Evolution" in 2003, he gave us a taste of what was to come in the following year with a bonus disc that was included with the Special Edition version of that album, that was called "Project EKO". It was a 3 track bonus EP that had a very ambient feel to it, very much more experimental, and so very much unlike anything Townsend had ever produced before. Well, this experimental, ambient side of Devin was not the end for that particular personality, because his next album was called "Devlab" and would continue with that strange, experimental side, and it was released in 2004. So, how would those fans of the Heavy Devy sound react to this? Not very well. In fact, many of them had never heard music like this, and made it obvious that they were not happy. But, Devin has his experimental side, and he loves to explore all types of music, so, it wouldn't be the last time he would be so adventurous.

On "Devlab", Townsend would be in charge of writing, producing, and "all that", with an occasional, unnamed guest showing up to help out. This album would have 15 unnamed tracks of varying lengths running for just over 1 minute to over 10 minutes, and overall running for almost 66 minutes. It was quite a risk, but this was what Devin would call his "heavy metal ambience" sound.

Devin's strange sense of humor would start off the album with the first track being a short, introductory track where he says "I'm going to melt you guys" in several varying speeds with layers of happy, crazy music playing behind him. From there, the album continues through a collage of noises, loops, odd recordings, manipulated sounds from various sources and the like, it's basically Devin playing around with recording equipment and synthesizers. There is no melodic quality to any of it, but it is a study in sound manipulation and such. There are some very noisy, chaotic passages and some very ambient and minimal sections. Think of The Beatles "Revolution #9" or Frank Zappa's "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet" except that this time, it goes on for over an hour. Yet, there is something intriguing about it all, but it is very difficult to listen to all the way through. The best parts are the ambient sections, the noisy bits are just too harsh and annoying.

Townsend is at his best when he sticks with the more traditional form of music, whether it be heavy metal or country music, he is almost always in top form. But this noise just doesn't have much in the way of entertainment value or listen-ability. I can't even consider this an avant-garde classic or an experimental break through, because, in the end, I am sorry to say, that there just isn't enough salvageable material here to even make a single out of. This one is only for completionists or fans, and that's about it.

TCat | 2/5 |


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