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PHYSICIST

Devin Townsend

Experimental/Post Metal


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Devin Townsend Physicist album cover
3.04 | 113 ratings | 11 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Namaste (3:34)
2. Victim (3:15)
3. Material (2:47)
4. Kingdom (5:55)
5. Death (2:27)
6. Devoid (1:28)
7. The Complex (3:31)
8. Irish Maiden (2:45)
9. Jupiter (3:36)
10. Planet Rain (11:08)
11. Forgotten (5:59)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Devin Townsend / vocals, guitars, programming, bass

Additional musicians:
- Gene Hoglan / drums
- Jed Simon / guitars
- Byron Stroud / bass

Releases information

INSIDEOUT #IOMCD069 / SPV 085-41372 CD

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to LiquidEternity for the last updates
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DEVIN TOWNSEND Physicist ratings distribution


3.04
(113 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
7%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
28%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (23%)
23%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

DEVIN TOWNSEND Physicist reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Physicist" is Devin TOWNSEND's follow-up to his magnificent "Infinity" album from 1999. It follows the same musical direction: complex, crazy, experimental, humorous, melodic, noisy and outrageous. "Physicist" is less accessible then "Infinity" though and it takes a few listening to get into. Although it's a very good album, I liked "Infinity" more because of its variation. This album is faster and with less nuances between the songs.

Unfortunately I guess that many may be scared away by its noisiness, and don't get the time to hear that it's actually very melodic. But the melody is often hidden under layers of fast riffs and distorted guitars. Industry v/s Speed & Heavy Metal with some progressive inputs. Actually it's quite comparable to MINISTRY or even SLAYER at times. Just listen to "Death" and you'll know what I mean. You would get quite exhausted after listening through the entire album, if it wasn't for some breathing space in "Jupiter" and the Bonustrack. "Material" is one of the highlights.

Devin TOWNSEND has played with many other bands and musicians too: Steve VAI, The WILDHEARTS, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY and on tribute albums to JUDAS PRIEST and RUSH.

If you like a mix between Industry and Speed Metal in the same vein as MINISTRY, you'll probably love this album.

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#18029) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars What would happen if one of the hardest extreme metal bands, Strapping Young Lad, leaded by Devin Townsend, make an album full with good fellings, happy and bombastic moments, a littler proggier, and some pop melodies? The result is "Physicist"...

This is an special album in the Devin Townsend's discography... Honestly, I think it's a little difficult to compare with other Townsend's solo albums, although the obvious relation it's still here... The Townsend's sound is here, the well known wall of sound, the outstanding vocals... But with more speed and power than any other disc from this great mind. The main reason are the musicians... "Physicist" is Strapping Young Lad, speaking clearly... The same musicians. The same band. And although this is not an Strapping Young Lad's album, it's imposible not to think in this band when you hear it...

So... The incredible Gene Hoglan drums are here (like in "Infinity" and "Terria"), accompanied with the strong bass of Byron Stroud. The Jed Simon guitars... Well, honestly, it's difficult to say the style of this man in guitars... Because all sounds clearly Townsend in guitars here. And the effective and constant mixture between keyboards and guitars make difficul to analize this aspect...

The great velocity of Namaste smash you in the face since the very first moment... And this mixture of speed metal with a lot of keyboards, with some catchy and poppy melodies will be the general tonic of this album. Maybe is the more homogenous and less complex Townsend album. The direction is clear... And you can hear it also in the marvellous Townsend's voice. With less variety as usual, more controlated and concise... But still impressive, adapting very well to every song.

But although the style of the album is concise, every song here is still surprising. Material have a total catchy pop choir (but it's still a extreme metal song), while Kingdom is full with landscapes and beatiful passages (but still at the same speed!). The rest fo the album follows this totallly unique and suggestive style...

With two clear exceptions... Death: a clearly extreme thrash/industrial metal song, that could be easily included in an Strapping Young Lad album... And one of the better songs from this album: Planet Rain. The proggiest and longer song of the album, slower and calmed, full with fine keyboards melodies, still with hard guitars, but with the capacity of transport you to another lands, another places... Yes, my friends, just like "Terria". I think this song, Planet Rain, is a clear advance of what "Terria" would be... Great song, indeed.

Conclusion: like every Townsend album, the word is... Different. But like every Townsend album, the outstanding originality and quality of the songs will be a great experience to prog metal lovers. Maybe not too easy at the first listening, but after a pair of opportunities, you will not be able to left hearing it.

Warning: but here you will not find anything similar to any usual prog metal band... This is not Dream Theater, or Symphony X, or Shadow Gallery... And this is also different to the other Devin Townsend, The Devin Townsend Band or Strapping Young Lad albums. This is truly original. The perfect definition is, maybe... Futuristic exteme pop metal!

Will you brave enough to discover it?

My rating: ****

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#119252) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Physicist has the unhappy chance of coming after Ocean Machine and Infinity and before Terria. Whereas those three albums explored new territory for heavy metal, Physicist is a straight-forward oeuvre that recalls Devin's project Strapping Young Lad. He even uses his SYL lineup, although this was not planned. Originally, Devin formed a trio called IR8 with former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and Exodus/Angel Witch drummer Tom Hunting. However, label and scheduling conflicts forced Devin to use his band mates instead.

Although Devin doesn't display as much originality as he does on his other works, there are still a number of unusual aspects. For one, despite the heavy, straight-forward nature of the album, keyboards play a more prominent role than they ever have on a Townsend release. There are a handful of highlights to be found on this disc. The album opens with the fierce Namaste, which puts Devin's signature scream at the forefront over a fast beat. Kingdom manages to create a vast atmosphere that could rival anything on an Opeth release, but it does so at speeds even Opeth has never touched. Material has some touching lyrics and it features Devin's trademark layered vocal choirs that give even the most extreme song pop sensibilities. Jupiter slows things down to you a breather, and it is the first place where some real variability is displayed. The real highlight of the album is the glorious Planet Rain, an 11 minute opus that ranks as one of the Dev's greatest songs. Like all of Devin's epics, it builds from a simple riff into a vast soundscape that occupies every inch of your mind, cascading like waves against your cerebral cortex. It is one of Devin's best vocal performances, and the composition is to die for. This track alone is worth the price.

Sadly, the rest of the album is rather uninspiring. While anything Devin makes is worth hearing, this lacks the creative fire of the rest of his recordings and it doesn't warrant nearly as many listens as the moving Ocean Machine or the dense Terria. However, it has its bright moments, and no fan of The Dev should be without this.

Grade: C

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#138356) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 14, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars As a dedicated fan of DT's solo offerings and only a casual fan of Strapping Young Lad, I found Physicist a very underwhelming listen, at least in regards demonstrations of Townsend's considerable talent as a songwriter and instrumentalist.

These songs are uniformly loud, savage, and unrelenting in their sonic assault. While not quite as volcanic or as intense as Strapping Young Loud, they have the dubious disadvantage of not being as creative either. Physicist lacks the variety, both in song structure and feel, of DT's later albums-- making it very repetitive. Only until late in the album with Planet Rain does DT use his singing voice, or even use a noticeably different tempo. The result is a release which is like Strapping Young Lad light-- but then, that begs the question: what's the point of that?

I listen to SYL to punish myself with crazy-fast metal of the most brutal and zany variety, and Devin Townsend for classy metal filled with variety and craftsmanship: Physicist is neither. It's an unoriginal orphan sandwiched between the artist's better works.

Check out DT's other albums first, which are without exception excellent, before getting this one.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#165598) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 03, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I like this album. I really do. But it's just not that interesting.

Basically, what we have here is a one-dimensional, upbeat Strapping Young Lad album. Devin sings more, the lyrics aren't all angry, and there is a bit of musical progression to be found. The production is probably the weakest on any of his releases, and the sound dynamics are particularly uninspiring. A number of the songs, particularly the ones in the middle of the album, don't really have much standing out about them, though the beginning tracks and the final one are certainly worth hearing if you're a Townsend fan.

Of note are a few tracks. First, the opener Namaste blazes with speed and interesting melodies. Yes, Devin screams most of it, and yes, Devin screams most of it with a melody--an ability that as far as I've found is unique to him. Also, the track Material still stands to me as a very strong song. The first half seems mostly normal for a Devin song, with fast drums and guitars and a bit of roaring. However, the second part features some cheerful vocal harmonies and upbeat lyrics. The final song, Planet Rain, is the truly best song on the album. It's slow and churning for most of it, but Devin's voice, especially when he screams he's sorry, carries so much impact and emotion that it's very hard not to fall in love with the power of this one.

Overall, probably Devin's weakest solo release. Nevertheless, fan's of Devy will appreciate a few tracks, and fans of Strapping Young Lad might find a good segue into his solo stuff.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#184312) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Review by horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'm torn on this release. On one hand, I love this album. But at the same time, this is by no means something for everyone. My main beef with this album, like others have said, is that this is very straight-forward heaviness for Devin Townsend material. It does sound very Strapping Young Lad-like though, and I do like seeing that cross over into Devy's solo work some, although it might be because I enjoy Strapping Young Lad as well.

I had some of the negative feelings about this album that I had at one point about Infinity, but those feelings have for the most part gone away in regards to that album. But no matter how many times I listen to Physicist, I have a hard time picking out the uniqueness in each song. Oh sure, there are unique parts to the songs, but the main characteristics are heaviness and loudness, and those never change much from song to song. Unlike Infinity, where multiple listens revealed some interesting nuances about each song and a good deal of variety, Physicist offers almost none of these things. But at the same time, I still enjoy the sound this album presents.

Normally I only give 2 stars to albums I don't enjoy except for a song or two. In this case, this is an album I enjoy a fair amount, but I can't think anyone except hardcore Devin Townsend/Strapping Young Lad fans will enjoy Physicist. If you aren't one of those people or just looking for a place to start with him, save your money and invest elsewhere.

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Send comments to horsewithteeth11 (BETA) | Report this review (#223893) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009

Review by Wicket
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars On paper, it seems like "Physicist is a terrible album from Devin Townsend. Yes, it's heavy, but it doesn't contain that spastic rage that made "Strapping Young Lad" so infamous, but it's also very unpredictable, which can easily turn newcomers away from his style.

Kinda makes you wonder what he was on when he recorded this album.

Yet as soon as I turn on "Namaste", I'm instantly inclined to get on my drumset and start thrashing away on the double bass and play as fast as humanly possible, which isn't really fast at all. Once I start taking this album into progressive context, this album isn't anything special, but there's something about this disc that I just absolutely adore, and I don't know why. Perhaps it's just the humorous side of DT's "rage-filled metal" kicking in, and I feel it with "Victim"'s heavy , side-step intro. The verses accompany this awkward two-step riff, while the pre-chorus reminds me of a motorcycle gang for some reason, while the chorus bursts in with the creepy orchestral swing that truly gives it color.

Now, while I wouldn't necessarily call this DT's best album, I see this album as a lighter, more progressive SYL, if that's even possible. I'm pretty sure Devin never screamed falsetto on any SYL to date, so I'm a already sold on "Physicist".

Now while my own research uncovered Devin's bipolar disorder, which explains the jump from SYL to "Christeen", I've pretty much come to the conclusion that most of his decisions regarding musical style from album to album came from drugs. It's simple enough to understand, anyway.

Jumping to other tracks, "Kingdom" sounds like it should be on "Accelerated Evolution"; a typical DT attempt at creating a heavy song in a major key while suppressing his attempt to scream and instead try to sing and croon his way onto radio airwaves. At this point, "Physicist" provides no new onset to a prog fan's interest, except for maybe a good excuse to throw his computer out of a window, especially when "Death" kicks in, which is probably DT's closest attempt to emulating SYL's angst-filled rage. *Skip*

"Devoid" begins with a loud bang, and it's only 1:28 long. *Skip* "The Complex" starts the same way, except Devin starts crooning at the same time. *Skip*

Then you get to "Irish Maiden". I'll admit, I shake my head to this song. It's a unique attempt on Devin's part, until he starts screaming again. Yawn.

I didn't even want to get into "Jupiter", until I realized that it was probably the closest thing to progressive on this entire album, but by then, I realized that this was nothing to be excited about. I prefer the first two tracks, but after that it's just snooze city. Nothing else to really stir the brain. Definitely not the first Devin Townsend album you should get as a newcomer, or otherwise, period. It's best if you get to understand Devin's insanity before you delve into this one.

Now, I'm not sure if that's quite entirely possible, but it's best to wait a while on this disc.

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Send comments to Wicket (BETA) | Report this review (#472109) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars From the superb, 'Infinity' Devin is back with a full band (actually, he uses his cohorts in Strapping Young Lad), and has given us one of the most interesting albums I have heard for a while. It is an album of undisputed straight through the ears hard rock ? played at tremendous pace, which must be played at speaker melting volume to get the full effect. But, if you can manage that (thank heavens for car CD players), you will be richly rewarded. Devin has set himself up as some mad Canadian hard rock Phil Spector, and although this album is often brutal in the extreme it is also one of the best produced. The music is a solid slab of sound that has been mixed and moulded to some strange blueprint only Devin has seen. The first four or five times I played this I wasn't sure, but by the time it had totally burned itself into my psyche I could just about see what Devin is striving through.

Originally appeared in Feedback #61, Feb 01

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#968449) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 01, 2013

Latest members reviews

4 stars Another history lesson, and more facts of information. During the late 90's, Devin had started to take his musical experiments even further, by getting in contact with Jason Newsted from Metallica. The 2 jammed and where about to release an album under the name of IR8. But, if anyone knows the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1029547) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Thursday, September 05, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars 4/10 I could not hear it over twice. Biomech was a flawless masterpiece, Infinity had his moments, but that here, so here ... hum, hum. Sorry, Devy, but this time you are not enchanted me. His attempt to cross the sound of his solo career with the Strapping Young Lad was, in my view, wasti ... (read more)

Report this review (#792309) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, July 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you are new to Devin Townsend, don't start here. It's a good album and all- but you need to GET TERRIA_ that is a 5 star album, without a doubt (read other reviews of Terria- they back me up) This album has some song here and there to offer- but nothing like Terria, or Accelerated Evolution ... (read more)

Report this review (#43239) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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