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Devin Townsend - Addicted (Devin Townsend Project) CD (album) cover

ADDICTED (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT)

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.86 | 263 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
5 stars A lot, and I mean a lot, of thought has gone into this review. I try not to give out too many five star ratings, and I certainly try to take a fair look at artists whose outputs I consistently enjoy. I am not rating this album five stars just as a fan of Devin Townsend. I kept thinking about it, wondering what I'd rate it, and figured somewhere in the three or four range. And then I noticed it: according to last.fm, Addicted was my most played album. That's many hundreds of plays since I first bought it last fall. And so a serious reconsidering of what I actually thought of the album began, and the end result is that this album is clearly one of Townsend's top-tier releases, one of the strongest of the year from any artist, and defiantly progressive in its own zany way.

Coming in as part two of the planned four part Devin Townsend Project, Addicted follows the general mellowness and stripped-down nature with something closely akin to its opposite. When you mention Townsend playing a heavy, upbeat, wild record, you conjure up images of Strapping Young Lad sorts of growls and screams and general fast-paced anger. Addicted is not at all this beast, and that is one of its best moments. Instead, we get songs built around clever riffs, zesty drumming, and, despite the fact that this is a progressive release, catchy melodies. The addition of Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals (a girl who likely is my favorite female voice in metal or in rock) gives the hard-hitting crunch of this album a softer, sweeter vibe. For example, if you enjoy her work on Ayreon's 01 or Into the Electric Castle, you'll be even more pleased with her work here. Unlike on Ki, where the female vocals occurred only a couple times and then were nothing special, Anneke on Addicted takes whole choruses, verses--even her own song.

The first track of the album, the title track, is likely its least new and exciting. It's a good song, but if any of the ten tunes here might bring the album down to four stars, it's this one. The chorus is solid, though, and the instrumental section in the middle is delicious noodling goodness (not in the usual shreddy prog metal sense, so don't worry). With only a long drum fill to separate the two, the second track appears on the scene. Universe in a Ball! is a very heavy song with consistently amazing drumming and some very well-mixed walls of guitars. Its layout is fairly nonstandard, so it might take a few listens to find any direction to it at all. Next comes Bend It Like Bender!, an appreciably controversial track. Anneke makes her first lead debut here on the chorus, and yes, it is mildly ABBA-esque. But that says nothing for how stylish and grooving of a chorus it is, with her strong vocals soaring over heavily electronicked metal. I can see this song on principle bothering prog fans, but it really is a good song, if we are willing to admit it.

Supercrush! brings not just massive walls of guitars but a massive wall of bombast. Devin's vocals in the chorus (countered by Anneke's soft vocals in the verses) are about as over-the-top as they come. Very fun, and a very entertaining song. Hyperdrive! is a reworking of the Ziltoid classic. Some fans prefer this over the old one, others the old one over this. The only real difference is instead of Devin singing it very mellowly and softly, we get Anneke belting it out solo. And whether or not this is the version you'll prefer, I don't think there's a person alive who could listen to this and not appreciate the raw enthusiasm and skill she pours into her performance here. She is, as they say, incredibly good at singing. And to follow that comes the highlight of the album (at least to my ears): Resolve!. This one is very straightforward (well, once you get past the quirky keyboard solo at the beginning and the beautiful verse that only appears once). It's primarily a chorus dueted between the two vocalists, and boy do they sing it crazy. Subsequent appearances of this chorus result in layers being added and power just flying out of the CD.

Ih-Ah! has its share of opponents as well. It is almost reminiscent of Coldplay or something, being a largely piano/guitar ballad. However, despite the weak lyrics and the simple song structure, the harmonies sound just fantastic. Like Bend It Like Bender!, Ih-Ah! might be one of those tracks, the enjoyment of which entirely depends on whether or not the prog fan can get over its subprog nature. Well, if you wanted something more progressive, The Way Home! wanders in next. The music itself is very fast, almost like a SYL song sans the distortion and screaming. Townsend's vocals are fairly subdued save for a few moments where he leaps out like on Supercrush!. The end result is a very unique and interesting-sounding track. Numbered! follows, and Awake!! after it: both are much heavier than the tracks before them. Numbered! features a wonderful ad-lib by Anneke, and Awake!! features the only moments of growling on the entire record. Also, as a note, Awake!! isn't really a ten minute song--it's about five, five and a half minutes of music followed by a fadeout that turns to electronica and meanders around becoming this beat and that (think Project EKO except with much more change and much more creativity to it).

And that leaves us ready for Deconstruction, if that is the name that Devin plans to keep for the third Project release. Either way, if you can enjoy metal with bizarre elements (no, I do not mean maudlin of the Well or Behold... the Arctopus--is that how you spell it--elements, just abnormal songwriting), and if very talented, bombastic vocals, then Addicted should be lots of fun for you. This is happy metal. This is metal that dares to defy the demands of its genre to be very upset and upsetting. Sure, other bands do this too. But none as well as Devin does on Addicted. Give it a shot, I recommend. Even people who aren't big fans of metal will find plenty to enjoy on here.

LiquidEternity | 5/5 |

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