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Devin Townsend - The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra CD (album) cover

THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND: SYNCHESTRA

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.08 | 350 ratings

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horsewithteeth11
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Synchestra is the second release from The Devin Townsend Band, as well as Devy's seventh release as a solo artist assuming you count both his ambient albums, Devlab and Hummer, as studio releases, which I do. Synchestra is by far the most upbeat and light-hearted release to date by Devin, although given that Strapping Young Lad's Alien came out earlier that year makes total sense that this release seems pretty jovial. Actually, to be quite honest, when I first heard about Ki, I thought it would sound something like this album.

Out of all the DT albums I have, this one probably took the longest to grow on me. While The Devin Townsend Band is supposed to be cheerful in and of itself, this still stands out pretty well. Given that Devin sounds pissed off (or at least slightly irate or unnerved) on most of his work, this work is almost as if Devin swallowed a few ecstasy pills before writing down and recording the music on Synchestra. There are a few headbanging moments to be found here and there, yes, but there's plenty of lush keyboards and some almost folksy feel to many of the songs. There is even a tribal element, which is most noticeable on Notes from Africa (one of my favorite DT tracks). The one sound that I sometimes wish Devin would use more in his slow and mid-tempo songs are also found on the album in healthy quantities: acoustic instrumentation. And yet at the same time, this album also features a combination of many of the elements on all previous DT albums. That is understandable, given that he disbanded Strapping Young Lad and The Devin Townsend Band the following year and began a long, musical exile that led to a period of recovery and self-redemption which is starting to be revealed to the general public. In other words, after this album, Devy changed his outlook and work as a musician. Time will tell if that is for better or for worse, but I can definitely say for sure that the first era of his solo output is of excellent quality. And Synchestra is the culmination of all that hard work.

For newcomers, this is honestly the best place to start. It gives you a little taste of everything Devy has done up to this point without overburdening you with humongous walls of sound and heaviness on every song (although it pop up from time to time). I have no problem giving this excellent release 4 stars. Parts of the second half tend to make my mind wander, but it doesn't hurt the high quality of Synchestra all that much for me.

horsewithteeth11 | 4/5 |

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