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DEVIN TOWNSEND

Experimental/Post Metal • Canada


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Devin Townsend biography
DEVIN TOWNSEND, possibly more widely known as the frontman for the extreme metal act STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, began creating solo albums in 1997.

Sometimes referred to as the 'Mad Scientist of Metal', TOWNSEND produces a wide variety of music. This ranges from soft ambience designed, as he has stated, to put the listener to sleep, to high levels of thrash and extreme metal reminiscent of SYL.
His works often feature a 'wall of sound', built by adding many layers of guitars and keyboards that are playing in unison or harmony. The end result is a number of carefully produced and mixed albums that favor high-end sound systems.

His first solo album, 'Ocean Machine: Biomech' (1997), was actually originally simply titled 'Biomech' and the band project labeled OCEAN MACHINE. However, on subsequent releases in most countries, the one-shot band name was incorporated into the title, and TOWNSEND's name was affixed to the record. Next came his first solo album proper, 1998's 'Infinity'. However, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffering with severe depression, TOWNSEND left the album only partly finished, filling in the song gaps with other demos. Rebounding from this struggle, he wrote 'Physicist' in 2000, creating a sort of pop-metal release featuring the members of his band STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. His 2001 project, 'Terria', features some of his most complicated and deep production, incorporating many sounds from nature into the recording, and stands as one of his most well-known and most critically acclaimed albums.

His next solo project, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND, began in 2003 with the release of 'Accelerated Evolution'. Adding drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen, guitarist Brian Waddell, bassist Mike Young, and keyboardist Dave Young, TOWNSEND decided to start releasing albums once more with a full-time band rather than merely studio musicians. Taking a dramatic turn from the style of 'Terria', TOWNSEND adopted a much more band-oriented feel, reducing the amount of atmosphere and increasing the level of accessibility of the music.

As a side project during this time, TOWNSEND stitched together the fierce ambient 'Devlab' album in 2004. The line-up of THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND continued for several years as a functional touring outfit. The collaboration concluded with the 2006 album 'Synchestra' - though this release marked the first time the same lineup had been present for two albums in a row. That same year, he released 'The Hummer', another ...
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Presents: Ziltoid the OmniscientPresents: Ziltoid the Omniscient
Inside Out 2007
Audio CD$9.62
$8.62 (used)
KiKi
Inside Out Music 2009
Audio CD$10.70
$8.17 (used)
SynchestraSynchestra
Inside Out U.S. 2006
Audio CD$9.29
$5.97 (used)
PhysicistPhysicist
Inside Out U.S. 2003
Audio CD$9.49
$10.49 (used)
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DEVIN TOWNSEND shows & tickets


  • Devin Townsend Project presents: The Return of Ziltoid on 13 Apr 2015

DEVIN TOWNSEND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DEVIN TOWNSEND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.07 | 217 ratings
Ocean Machine: Biomech
1997
3.66 | 154 ratings
Infinity
1998
3.04 | 113 ratings
Physicist
2000
4.22 | 509 ratings
Terria
2001
3.91 | 174 ratings
Accelerated Evolution (The Devin Townsend Band)
2003
2.26 | 58 ratings
Devlab
2004
4.05 | 279 ratings
Synchestra (The Devin Townsend Band)
2006
2.62 | 59 ratings
Hummer
2006
4.20 | 440 ratings
Ziltoid the Omniscient
2007
3.83 | 251 ratings
Ki (Devin Townsend Project)
2009
3.90 | 260 ratings
Addicted (Devin Townsend Project)
2009
3.91 | 337 ratings
Deconstruction (Devin Townsend Project)
2011
3.82 | 278 ratings
Ghost (Devin Townsend Project)
2011
3.99 | 231 ratings
Epicloud (Devin Townsend Project)
2012
3.82 | 92 ratings
Casualties of Cool
2014
3.64 | 43 ratings

2014

DEVIN TOWNSEND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.41 | 17 ratings
Official Bootleg
1999
3.70 | 20 ratings
Unplugged
2011
4.52 | 33 ratings
By A Thread - Live In London 2011
2012
4.84 | 23 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013

DEVIN TOWNSEND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.86 | 18 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013

DEVIN TOWNSEND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 16 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos I
1999
3.33 | 12 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos II
2004
4.53 | 15 ratings
Contain Us
2011

DEVIN TOWNSEND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 32 ratings
Christeen + 4 Demos
1999

DEVIN TOWNSEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Christeen + 4 Demos by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
3.56 | 32 ratings

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Christeen + 4 Demos
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat

4 stars All of you who love progressive metal so much, why haven't you checked out Devin Townsend yet? Why does he still remain mostly in obscurity in all the metal circles, I can't understand that. If anyone in metal deserves to be call a genius, it's this man. His music is typically some of the loudest and most intense music ever, but I think the difficulty that people have with him is he does lean towards post metal a bit, but not in the traditional way that most people are used to. His music is a wall of sound, even when it is at it's quietest. But it's not just any wall of sound, every sound and instrument is important, but his voice is also a part of that wall of sound and it usually isn't highlighted like vocals usually are, it becomes part of the whole instead of drowning it all out. There is no background here, it's all important in the entire picture.

So, if you are looking for a safe place to start listening to Mr. Townsend's music, this might be the answer. You are not really sacrificing a lot of time to listen to this since the total playing time is only a half hour. Even though these are demos that were originally intended for the album "Infinity", they are still good quality songs and you still get a good idea as to what kind of sound to expect. If nothing else, this EP should at least pique your interest in this artist. If you are willing to invest a little more time than that, then I would suggest the "Terria" album. Either way, you will hear some great material in either album.

The first track here is simply the same track as on the Infinity album. This is, afterall, the single for Christeen. The good thing is, the rest of the tracks are songs that were left off the album, probably because of time constraints. The 4th track is actually a combination of a few songs, in other words they have been combined into one song but it is actually a suite, the last part comprising a great waltz tempo guitar piece complete with an almost operatic alto sounding voice, though it's probably just Devin showing off his crazy vocal range. All of these tracks thus far are of the excellence that you come to expect from Devin Townsend. The last track is more of an Avant Garde piece which isn't quite so typical however. Just as a warning, it is different than what you typically hear. But it is still interesting.

So, in summary, this EP is a short burst of energy. Not the best release, but still a pretty good example of his music. Even though it is an EP, it's still an excellent addition to your prog collection because of the previously unavailable music that is included. All Townsend fans should have this and those wanting to hear a snippet of how he sounds should also check it out. 4 stars.

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 Synchestra (The Devin Townsend Band) by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.05 | 279 ratings

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Synchestra (The Devin Townsend Band)
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FragileKings

5 stars It's hard to believe that I only finally got into Devin Townsend a month ago. I had seen his name often enough but assumed that he was someone like Neil Morse: an American or possibly a Briton who had made a name for himself in a prog band and had decided to go solo. Then I saw a review of "Ziltoid the Omniscient" and thought it was so crazy that I had to get it. By coincidence, I ordered "Ziltoid" around the same time as Ayreon's "The Human Equation", without knowing that Devin appeared as a guest on that album. I received Ayreon first and was deeply impressed with Devin's performance. Two days later, "Ziltoid" came to my mailbox at work, and as I rode the train home I read the Wikipedia article about Devin. I was so surprised to learn that he is a year my junior and grew up in the city across the river from my house. My childhood home in Surrey, Canada was perched on a slope overlooking the Fraser River and from my living room window I looked out at the City of New Westminster every morning. I went to college over there and spent much time in New West. Knowing that Devin and I shared the same cultural climate (we studied the same curriculum, watched the same TV shows, lived through the same local changes and events, etc.) made me feel that I really wanted to hear what this boy from the neighbourhood across the river was doing.

Now a month has passed and I have seven albums with five more on order. I have really been enjoying becoming acquainted with Devin's music, but this album here was an easy one to love because it is exactly what I have been listening to lately: progressive metal. Not all of Devin's albums lean so far to the progressive side as this one. But he has done a spectacular job here with the Devin Townsend Band.

The opening track is such a simple beautiful acoustic tune with Devin's clean and sweet vocal sound. It switches to a slow but progressive metal sound, gearing us up for what is to come. "Hyper Geek" has a fantastic beginning with acoustic strings and countryside animal sounds. It suddenly breaks into full on blasting metal and then breaks into a very melodic and heavy prog metal piece before rapidly dissolving into "Triumph". This is a fabulous piece of music with several changes (one part suddenly drops into a country bumpkin hill billy ho- down). At times I am reminded of more melodic Dream Theater or Symphony X and surprisingly even SUM 41 a bit when they were doing a Metallica rip off with added commercial melodies many years ago. Keyboards and even piano add some wonderful melodies here. The song's final stretch features a Steve Vai solo.

"Baby Song" is a bit too cute and sweet at first ("Why don't you have a baby? Why don't you have a child?") but then becomes stronger as melodic prog metal before getting more complex and then simpler but darker. The middle of the song is the most interesting for its melodies.

"Vampolka" is a humorous addition with a punk polka feel to it, and "Vampira" is a brilliant traditional metal / early thrash piece with a killer riff after the chorus that sounds like it could have come from Judas Priest's "Painkiller" album.

"Mental Tan" is a pretty piece that offers a suggestion of an orchestra near the end. How sweet that would have been had it received a more prominent role. "Gaia" I quite like too but next to "Triumph" and "Vampira" it leaves less of an impression so far.

"Pixillate" is the next killer track for me with a Middle eastern flavour and some great prog metal. It's dark and moody and heavy. Brilliant! After that "Judgement" and "A Simple Lullaby" feature more slow progressive metal, great heavy melodies, and some special moments. But perhaps because I am already on overload up to here with good music, I still can't recall these tracks so well even after several listens.

"Sunset" has a great melodic 80's rock sound and a very positive vibe. There's more of that sweet piano again. It's short though, and soon we are into the last brilliant track on the album, "Notes from Africa" which is actually only a five-minute song with a few minutes of jungle sounds after. One thing I noticed in this song were the lines "Oh, what a feeling / Oh, what a feeding" which reference the Strapping Young Lad song "Love?" from the album "Alien". As I have come to learn, Devin often self-references.

An unlisted track on the CD sneaks in at end. "Sunshine and Happiness" is a cheery rock and roll / pop punk tune which doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album, which is probably why it wasn't listed on the CD. It's a fun tune but nothing you'd likely miss.

After hearing "Synchestra" I thought I should get "Accelerated Evolution" but I've read the reviews and it doesn't seem to be as progressive and creative as "Synchestra". So far, this album really stands out in my Devin Townsend collection, along with "Ki" which is also very different. I'm expecting "Terria" in the mail any day now and I can't wait to hear that one. But until then, "Synchestra" has made one hekuvan impression. So many sides to Devin's music and vocal style are captured here. Do check it out!

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 Z² by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 43 ratings

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Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FragileKings

4 stars The original Ziltoid album, "Ziltoid the Omniscient" was a one-man show. Devin Townsend recorded the whole thing at home, playing all instruments except for drums, for which he used Drum Kit from Hell to program the drums. He did nearly all the voices: vocals, Ziltoid and his crew, Captain Spectacular, narrator, Planet Smasher and others. There are only two other names credited as guests (one called The Beav) who provided a small contribution. The story was wacky, cheesy, silly. The music sincere, loud, fun, and sometimes really good. Whether you liked it or not, it was an album that showed what one person's imagination could do and get away with. It was crazy. It was cool because it was so crazy.

"Zed Squared", as it is called (though written as Z to the power of 2), is the sequel, and like many sequels to original movies, the budget was way bigger this time. No longer a one- man show, this album features a band, a choir, and an orchestra along with guests playing the main characters (Chris Jericho as Captain Spectacular, Dominique Lenore Persi as Blataria the War Princess, and famous broadcaster Bill Courage as the narrator). You could compare the two albums to "Terminator" and "T2" for budget or "Alien" and "Aliens" for a boost in the cast. The album is big and loud, the story cheesier and sillier, the music over the top, and the voices and sound effects will make you feel like some 50's B sci-fi movie has been remade into a heavy metal musical.

Devin himself has stated in interviews that even he can't say what the true meaning behind it all is. He won't know for a while. For now, more than anything, he hopes that someday in the future people will look back on this album and think that it was incredible that anyone could do this. Not just him. This entire project with so many people involved to make the vision come true. About the story he has also said that many ideas were given to him by children and that he sucks at writing stories. But he loves theater and entertainment and puppets ("The Dark Crystal" left an indelible mark on him as a child) and he really wanted this to be a huge production. In fact, it was so demanding that numerous times he wanted to just quit. But he didn't and that's one big reason why he's so proud of it. In addition, the schools were on strike while he was working on wrapping up the album and kids were tearing up the place.

Keeping the big impossible production theme in mind, you'll find that the story and voices drive the album along as much as or perhaps even more than the music. I find myself paying more attention to the story and voice acting than many of the songs. Bill Courage is excellent and a familiar voice to me, having grown up in Canada with Bill's voice often on television programs. Some of the lines in the script are so silly and Bill hits the delivery right on. There is so much that is cliché in this story and so much ham, cheese, and corn that you'll wish you had some bread to go with it except that Devin spent all the bread on making an animatronic Ziltoid puppet (search for Ziltoid ZTV on YouTube).

As everything is so big and loud, I find that my visual impression of the music is not of a 3-D array of instruments and voices where I can move between the sounds and pick out the individual instruments but rather like a wall with a raised-relief surface in which the instruments are carved. It can be a little too solid, dense, and massive at times. And although I have been enjoying the album so far, the only song that has really stood out for me and called for stand-alone replays in "Death Ray" which is full of clichés both in compositional style and voice acting lines. It is so brilliant like that though, and I love it! "People of Earth! We are your Poozonian overlords. You cannot run. Resistance is futile. Hand over your coffee!"

If there are any real disappoints for me, they are in changes made to the story. In particular, after so much was made about the Planet Smasher (a.k.a. Herman) coming to earth, it was a let down to hear him described as being a cute furry little creature the size of a football, whose voice could destroy entire galaxies. In the CD booklet that came with "Ziltoid the Omniscient", the Planet Smasher is said to be so huge that he can't help but destroy planets when he moves about. But perhaps in his sixth dimensional nature he is as such. In his three dimensional form his only appears to be so small and cuddly. There are a few other small misses in attention to scientific and language detail that irk me a touch but I can let them go. In the end I think the album really is an incredible product. However, Devin warns us not to say that you love it or you hate it so soon. It'll take time before any of us can really understand what it really is.

I purchased the limited edition, 3 CD set in the digipak with the extra artwork and it really looks spectacular. One disc is the Ziltoid disc without the between-song dialogue and most of the narration. As some of the songs contain music meant to be background music for the narration and dialogues, the extended instrumental sections that don't move anywhere can seem to drag on. Listening to the album proper is actually more entertaining and enjoyable in those moments. The third disc, which is actually the first disc, is the sixth installment in the Devin Townsend Project series, called "Sky Blue". The music here is very poppy until near the end but with the loud guitars and wall of sound that you'd expect from Mr. Townsend. Most of the music is not particularly complex but the melodies are very catchy and beautiful and Anneke van Giersbergen from the DTP album "Addicted" is back. The combination of her vocals with Devin's make the music sometimes sound like Enya meets melodic pop metal turned full blast. I'm enjoying "Sky Blue" quite a bit and have picked out a few favourite tracks already despite the heavy pop flavour. Devin warns though that the songs are not so cheerful like those on "Epicloud". Prior to writing the songs, some people he knew passed away and his cat was eaten. But I find the songs are infused with hope. One line in "Universal Flame" optimistically claims, "Look for hope and it will find you," and the song ends with "The sun will rise again."

Upon repeat listens, I can get used to the wall of sound if I listen from start to finish; however, when listening to a mixed playlist of Devin's music, "Sky Blue" sounds too dense even when compared to "Addicted" or Strapping Young Lad's "Alien". I really feel that there are some beautiful melodies that are carried not as a stream of individual notes but a nebula of coloured sound with the flow of notes somewhere inside. When the album turns more atmospheric near the end it seems that even subtly has been pumped up to 10!

Overall quite a lot of music to digest but so far enjoyable. Perhaps I just have to get used to the massive sound that Devin likes to use. I give three stars to "Sky Blue" and four to "Ziltoid Dark Matters". The Ziltoid album has more complex music in places, and with the choir and orchestra Devin has really put something remarkable together. I can think of no other album quite like it, though at times I am reminded of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show".

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 Z² by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 43 ratings

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Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sidereal

1 stars This album is a disappointment. Although it is not an entirely unexpected disappointment, it's certaintly a saddening one. Let me explain why you shouldn'tt buy this album, despite whatever fondness or nostalgia you have for Devin's music. Note: this review is pitched at those who have listened to Devin's solo music for some time. I suspect that his newer efforts, like the relatively populist 'Epicloud' and 'Addicted' albums, along with the 'Sky Blue' component of Zoltoid 2, are attracting a new fan base.

To my ears Zoltoid part 2 is more like 'deconstruction' part 2, but via the populist approach of Addicted and Epicloud. It doesn't sound like a continuation of the somewhat nerdy but strange, atmospheric and coherent yet complex offering that was Ziltoid 1.

Something fundamental has gone wrong with Devin's music lately. I fear that it is the end for him artistically. Essentially, the music has lost the 'cosmic' or mysterious vibe it had in the past. Albums like Terria are masterpieces, melding metal with ambient music and melodic song writing, to produce modern heavy-prog masterpieces with a modern 'psychedelic' edge and general atmosphere of wonder and quasi 'transcendence' (in between the jokes and tongue in cheek filler tracks which somehow mostly work). Sure, Devin still does 'prog', with Deconstruction and Ziltoid 2. However his prog is no longer coherent and so completely fails to take you on a musical journal (more on this below). And when he isn't doing non-coherent 'prog', he is doing happy-go-lucky music with Addicted, Epicloud and Sky Blue, or largely new-age ambient music with Ghost and Casualties of Cool.

So *when* did Devin's music go wrong? Sometime in the middle of the 4-part Devin Townsend Project installment of Ki, Addicted, Deconstruction and Ghost. I find Ki to be very good - a last gasp, perhaps, of genuine emotion and profundity before lapsing into either a) the all-inclusive nature of Epicloud and Sky blue, b) the completely incoherent and disjointed sounds of Deconstruction and Ziltoid 2, and c) the often boring new-age sounds of Ghost and Causalities of cool (though this last component of his new tri-part musical persona is the most significant). Hell, I even think Addicted was much better than epicloud and sky blue.

But back to Ziltoid 2. Like Deconstruction, the music is disjointed, coming across as a disorganised riff-salad. Admittedly it isn't as painful to the ear and disorientating as Deconstruction was, due probably to it's being mixed with the almost play-school approach of Addicted and Epicloud that any sign of Anneke van Giersbergen's involvement seems to betray these days. However, Ziltoid 2 seems thrown together, with the only thing keeping an overall narrative going being, significantly, not music but rather dialogue! I must add that I listen to a lot of old-school death metal. Bands like Morbid Angel, Incantation, Suffocation, Immolation etc. So challenging music is not alien to me. Music which doesn't stick to normal scales is not alien to me. Music which is bombastic and 'jarring' to outsiders is not alien to me. But music that has absolutely no internal syntax or narrative to it - to the point where the required narrative needs to be imposed from above in the form of non-stop dialogue - IS alien to me. There is only so much of disjointed djent rhythms obnoxiously overlaid with overblown choirs and periodically interrupted with cutesy dialogue that I can take.

The album has some good riffs and sounds, but there are no songs. Or no *pieces* (if the description 'song' seems misplaced in progressive music). Just disjointed sections of music. 'March of the Poozers' might be ONE exception, with some semblance of direction and completeness. Also, the tone of the album is, like Addicted, Epicloud and Sky Blue, pitched at a more mainstream, and younger audience. As noted by a previous 'reviewer', the album is a Jim Hensen style comedy. Devin seems first and foremost to be a career man these days, as opposed to the musical oracle he once was. So be it, but we should note this shift in what he is doing: from art to entertainment.

The Sky Blue component to this release is even more terrible than Ziltoid 2. Much of the time it seems as though Devin has taken the worst top-40 songs from commercial radio that he can find, and has pretty much covered them, whilst chucking in some ambient textures to give it all some air of 'uniqueness'.

I am saddened by this effort, as with some other of his recent efforts. I suspect that taking drugs and generally having his head in the clouds was essential to Devin making good music. Maybe he will prove me wrong. I can only hope so.

I would give this 2 stars in a non-progressive rock context. But only 1 as a piece of prog rock.

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 Z² by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.64 | 43 ratings

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Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Ksol77

5 stars From ROOTS ROCK to SYMPHONIC PROG METAL , DEVIN TOWNSEND had come a long way, when he started to play for OTHER BANDS, with VARIOUS GENRES, in his early years.

Aimed to attract a YOUNGER AUDIENCE, Devin had created a JIM HENSON STYLE, COMEDY VERSION series, of a COGNITIVE REPTILIAN, who's in search of a planet, to replace the dying ZILTOIDIA, to save his own species.

With the band's LATEST RELEASE, " Z2, " you'll hear the influential vibrational sounds of P.O.D., THE MOODY BLUES, KATE BUSH, SLIPKNOT, and ZAMINA, with a dash of EARLY 80s and 2000s POP & METAL, for that INTERGALACTIC vibe.

Based on the YOUTUBE SCI FI pilots, " ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT " who's mission was to LEARN ABOUT THE EARTHLINGS & THEIR CULTURES, & COLONIZE EARTH. After he obtained that knowledge, then he proceeded to STEAL THE POOZERS, from THE WAR PRINCESS, to join his SPACE REGIMENT, while HE ARRIVED IN HOLLYWOOD, DISGUISED AS A MUSICIAN to DOMINATE our beings, on our LIFE GIVING PLANET.

FOR MORE LUCID DETAIL, WATCH ALL THREE EPISODES, ON THE FOLLOWING YOUTUBE LINKS:

EPISODE 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE6BJA4waOw

EPISODE 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4xavZz6uFA

EPISODE 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E3yocp7wfc

TO WATCH & LISTEN TO THEIR HIT SINGLE, " DEATHRAY, " CLICK ONTO THIS YOUTUBE LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DJrnr3cnro

THIS CONCERT EXPERIENCE, IS GUARANTEED, TO BLOW YOU & YOUR CHILD'S MIND!!!!!!!!

DON'T MISS THIS SPECTACULAR TOUR OF THE YEAR: https://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend/app_123966167614127

A THANKSGIVING GIFT, FOR ALL AGES!!!!!

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 Casualties of Cool by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 92 ratings

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Casualties of Cool
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Casualties of Cool" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by Canadian act Casualties of Cool. The album was released through HevyDevy Records in May 2014. Casualties of Cool is a project by prolific musician/producer Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend, Devin Townsend Project, The Devin Townsend Band), who handles Vocals, Guitars, bass, and Keyboards on the album, and Ché Aimee Dorval who handles Vocals, and Guitars. The duo is helped out by a varity of session musicians including Morgan Ågren (Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects, Kaipa...) on drums, Jørgen Munkeby (Altaar, Shining, Jaga Jazzist) on saxophone. Townsend partially funded the recording of the album through a crowdfunding campaign on the PledgeMusic website.

"Casualties of Cool" is a concept album and all 15 tracks on the 73:52 minutes long album seque into each other to form one long piece of music. The story tells of a traveller who comes to a planet that feeds on it´s visitor´s fears, and he is eventually forced to contront his fears to find peace (this is the simple version of the story).

The music on the album is a combination of several stylistic elements. The basis in the music is predominantly country/roots/folk rock, but there are also traces of blues (great short guitar solos) and a dominant ambient element in the music too (even a psychadelic element in "The Bridge" which features citar and flute). Devin Townsend and Ché Aimee Dorval compliment each other well and the vocal parts on the album are both pleasant and delivered with conviction and passion.

While the music is predominantly vers/chorus structured and might seem pretty simple upon initial listens, there are quite a lot going on in the background of each track. Atmospheric keyboards, sound effects, backing vocals, saxophone, and all sorts of other little details that make "Casualties of Cool" an interesting listen throughout. Devin Townsend is known for his multi-layered sound productions, but most of his productions are for metal-related material and as a consequence loud and massive. The sound production on this album is a lot more subtle as the layers of sound are mostly placed in the background, while vocals, guitar, bass, and drums are usually placed higher in the mix. So this project has probably proven to be a challenge both when it comes to the music but also when it comes to the production job.

"Casualties of Cool" is overall a quality release performed by skilled musicians. It´s well written, arranged, and very well produced, but I can´t help feel that it´s a bit too long and that not all tracks are equally interesting. Some of the more ambient sections work as a sedative on me, and while they don´t disturb the flow of the album, I prefer the more rock oriented tracks on the album. It´s an album that is hard to rate fairly, because on one hand it´s relatively original and it features a pleasant laid back atmosphere, but on the other hand it does have some flaws, that make it a less than perfect release. When listened to in moderate bits, it´s absolutely brilliant though, and even with a few reservations I´ve come to the conclusion that I enjoy it quite a bit. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is fair.

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 Ocean Machine: Biomech by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.07 | 217 ratings

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Ocean Machine: Biomech
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siegese7en

4 stars Ocean machine is combination of hard rock, ambient, progressive and alternative sounds released under the moniker Biomech by Devin Townsend. Ocean machine is a very good album from start to finish.Devin's style of combining rock/metal with multilayered sound palletes for ambient noises is done with absolute perfection in this gem of an album. The writing is very good and Devin chose concepts like depression, death, isolation and life in general. Though the album contains different styles of music , its amazing how well it flows throughout.Also there are no virtuoso artists involved in the album, the composition of Devin Townsend carries the album on its shoulder. I consider Devin townsend to have a high degree of precision on his composition which is evident in this album.

Best moments on the album : The Death of Music (Devin at his absolute best combining operatic style vocals and a very thick layer of ambience in this experimental masterpiece) , Night( A great hard rock song with many changes throughout. The later part of the song especially is very good), Bastard (Over minutes of absolute head pounding start and a great shift in direction in the middle part), Life & Greetings : Devins' staple songs combining very catchy chorus, catchy licks but yet so well composed due to little details he adds in those songs) I also loved the change in direction the album took after completion of "Hide Nowhere" to "Sister" and "3 A.M." where the album changes to a very mellow atmosphere.

Weak points : Too many 'OK' filler moments.

All in all it is a great album and is essential to the listeners of experimental metal since it feels fresh even now.

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 Casualties of Cool by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 92 ratings

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Casualties of Cool
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by arcane-beautiful

5 stars Devin Townsend is a genius. I don't need to say anymore. But is he going mad?

After a 5 album string which pretty much showed no weakness, Devin pretty much did whatever he wanted and received a lot of success. But this was backed by record companies who oddly enough had enough faith in his music. So on this album, why did Devin turn his back on financial backing? To be honest, it makes perfect sense.

Devin is a modern music cult hero. Taking secret audiences around the world he has been able to sell out a lot of big gigs and festivals. But, having strayed away from his metal roots and gone for a rather odd country and blues rock sound, this may have alienated fans, or as he stated himself 'people who liked Epicloud are gonna be pissed.' So did it work?

Ha. Did it work? Let's just say Devin became a rich man in only a short amount of days. Now, being the artist he is, a good amount of money is funding his next project, the ever awaiting sequel to 'Ziltoid The Omniscient', but if their ever was a reaction from fans to show their love, this surely is.

Now lets get down to the meat of the album and that is the music. Now this isn't too much of a dramatic change for Devin musically, in fact Devin experimented with some of this older rock and blues sound on 'Ki', but decided to flesh it more out. The album is also a daring leap for Devin because this isn't a solo album. In fact the album is a collaboration with singer songwriter Ch' Aimee Dorval who did vocals before on 'Ki.' As much as I love Devin's songwriting I always found a lack of cohesion in his stuff at times, and I think Ch''s vocals, songwriting and lyrics really fleshed out Devin's experimental songwriting style. The only negative I can have with this album is that it is so different musically that you have to kind of getting used to it and I think that this is an album that needs a few listens before you can really love it. I can't see anyone hating this album though.

Opener 'Daddy' is a brilliant introduction to the album. Taking the blues rock sound and adding a lot of Devin's personal quirks, the song soon turns into a sonic hailstorm of sound. The same can be said with 'Mountaintop' which continues the blues sound and mixes with some rather melancholic melodies, especially with Ch''s vocals.

My favorite song on this album would have to be 'Flight.' A very simple idea with some beautiful melodies and a few interesting changes throughout, the song is incredibly beautiful. Lyrically the song deals with suicide and is one of the best penned lyrics about the subject. A beautiful piece of music and definitely up there with some of my all time favorite tracks of all time.

A very interesting track can be seen in the form of 'Moon.' Starting off very spacey and with a lot of limited space, the song then explodes into a mix of groaning vocals and some beautiful saxophone playing.

One of the albums strongest tracks has to be 'Bones.' Lyrically the song is one of the most relating to the concept, with some very interesting words and images being presented. The music of the song adopts a rather baroque pop feeling and it works incredibly well, especially with Ch''s vocals.

One of the oddest tracks on the album would have to be 'Deathscope.' Supposed to be the angry side of the protagonist, the song shows off some of Devin's metal material from the past and the dynamic vocals he has.

The album closer 'The Bridge' is very reminiscent to the track 'Ki' for me. Starting off slow and calm before building up to a massive climax and pays off very well. Experimenting with choirs and flutes, the song is a very experimental move for Devin's work. Great ending to the album (not including 'Pure' which is a bit silly and long).

Overall, this album impressed me and confused me. It confused me because I don't know whether I should love it or like it. At the moment I'm on the cusp of loving it. Devin has really been able to create something very unique in his catalogue and really step out of his comfort zone for this one.

8.5/10

Genres: Blues Rock, Country, Alternative Country, Country Rock, Ambient, Progressive Rock, Baroque Pop, Experimental Rock, Post Rock, Experimental Metal

Country of origin: Canada

Year of release: 2014

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 Casualties of Cool by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 92 ratings

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Casualties of Cool
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars If you enjoy the mellow side of Devin Townsend from his extensive catalog, you cannot go wrong with this release. It is a magical release consisting of 15 tracks, 28 if you get the Deluxe version. The tracks blend together, and not all of them have vocals. It is a very atmospheric sounding album with a slight infusion of blues. With all that said, it does contain some of Devin's mad genius in the track Deathscope for example. Although it is atmospheric, there is nothing about it that is boring. There are layers and layers of music and sound effects that keep you guessing on first listen. This will definitely be a release to listen to through headphones, and you can pick up new things each time. Ché Aimee Dorval deserves credit for some amazing vocals and harmonies. Her performance is flawless. The two of them sound like they were meant to do this album together, and it works in every imaginable way. If you enjoy Devin Townsend or progressive music, you will find something to like in this release. Expect to be entertained in an aural circus.

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 Ocean Machine: Biomech by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.07 | 217 ratings

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Ocean Machine: Biomech
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Raccoon

5 stars Besides a few songs from Terria, Ocean Machine was my first endeavor into the Bizarre World of Devin Townsend. This holds no bias though, as I honestly believe this debut is a masterpiece. I hold it higher than Terria, even. Recently, (a year back) I've become obsessed with the Mad Scientist of Metal, so in dedication to him, I thought I'd spread awareness about this contagion. This addiction. Why not start at the beginning?

After Sex & Religion's massive success (gold-status in Japan), Devin was recommended by his A&R rep to start his own label; get his name out. In return, he created the strange and eclectic Ocean Machine. Through the rage he displayed in Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing and City (a few months before), he created an album that channeled that anger, while at the same time entering a spacey scene.

Ocean Machine revolves around a cold, industrial tone. Think of Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream, a bold move with some fans embracing the change, while others yearning for more of the same. Strapping Young Lad never interested me, so this was a WELCOMED change.

Throughout the album's course, I find it more 'Heavy Rock' rather than Metal. "Seventh Wave" starts us off with heavy guitars, kicking drums, and Devin's multitude of emotion shown through his vocals. His voice belts extended yells and the heavenly "Ahhhhh!!"

"Life" displays an alternative-friendly sound, "Who we are, what we are! I'll see you on the other side!" This in no way means this song is dull, or 'poppy', but it means it's extremely catchy.

"Night" features the tough side of Devin's vocals, anger-fueled and excited. Not for the light-hearted. There's a break in the chorus, a sense of relief as he says, "Falling down?" and that's repeated at the end, leaving you relieved.

"Hide Nowhere" is one of my favorites. Easily. Quick guitar riffs, plenty of cymbals. Then it leads up to a frenzy of Devin vocal layerings, reminiscent of Gentle Giant. Such a memorable track.

"Sister" is short, sweet, and (as most have stated already) a nice break from the fast-paced guitar-drum work. Calm guitar, icy keyboards, smooth vocals. Many disregard this track, but you need diversity in a metal album or it becomes tiring or annoying. Opeth does it right also, breaks in-between the dense, metal sound. If there wasn't, I probably couldn't listen to the album (Opeth and Townsend alike) in its entirety.

"3 A.M." continues on this path, where "Sister" left off. Again, great keyboard work calmer than "Sister" even. This leads up to "Voices In The Fan," opening with heavier riffs and Devin's signature yelling. This all follows a steady beat, every word stated clearly to add emphasis, which makes it catchy and powerful. Ends peacefully; a moment of silence, and a choir comes in.

"Greetings" has a build-up of magnificent proportions in its short length. "Regulator" is a complex, punchy (while still being spacey) song with a drum beat pausing between each beat. Nearly impossible to not headbang, just try to contain a slight head-nod. Rough vocals, rough guitar, and occasional keyboard-backing.

"Funeral" starts off reminding me of OK Computer, a silky, electronic-induced keyboard. Following with a mellow, steady guitar riff, soaring vocals. May take some time for first-timers of this album, could seem too slow to them. Soon, you'll learn to love the totality of its 8-minute length. The last minute features a Gilmour-like guitar, a perfect ending.

"Bastard" goes through various tempos, various emotions of Devin's voice, perhaps the most passionate display of his vocal-work. It's mainly based around his lyrics and his voice setting the mood, like Van der Graaf.

Last but not least, and let's make this clear: CERTAINLY not least, is "The Death of Music." A haunting track consisting of (what sounds like) sound clips of conversations. Over this, is Devin's strained voice: "And things I am, are things that should not be." This builds to a grandeur of keyboards, airy guitars, and that same programmed drum beat throughout. That rattle. Then, in a moment of seeming clarity, he sings (in an almost operatic-fashion): "It's like a death!! Becomes musical, musical..." The laughing and conversations continue again, little jokes like, "F**k you, okay, eh?" and the programmed drums continue... It seems simple, or silly, but this'll stay with you forever. That same beat surrounding the song.

Townsend has stated on his website (hevydevy.com) that he's "very proud of this album, and has a very obvious 'blue' feeling to me." Every album's unique in Devin's discography, though this'll always remain as one of my favorites. It changed the game for Devin, venturing further than just metal. The music had an atmosphere to it, and explored a whole new territory.

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