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DEVIN TOWNSEND

Experimental/Post Metal • Canada


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Devin Townsend picture
Devin Townsend biography
Devin Garrett Townsend - Born May 5, 1972 (New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada)

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...
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Ocean MachineOcean Machine
Insideout Music 2010
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Eras: Vinyl Collection Part IIIEras: Vinyl Collection Part III
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Retinal Circus [Blu-ray]Retinal Circus [Blu-ray]
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Insideout Music 2013
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Accelerated EvolutionAccelerated Evolution
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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)

3.97 | 301 ratings
Ocean Machine - Biomech
1997
3.69 | 208 ratings
Infinity
1998
2.93 | 155 ratings
Physicist
2000
4.18 | 614 ratings
Terria
2001
3.90 | 233 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution
2003
2.18 | 84 ratings
Devlab
2004
4.07 | 332 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra
2006
2.47 | 83 ratings
The Hummer
2006
4.14 | 553 ratings
Ziltoid The Omniscient
2007
3.84 | 304 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ki
2009
3.82 | 318 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Addicted
2009
3.92 | 395 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
2011
3.80 | 324 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ghost
2011
3.95 | 321 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Epicloud
2012
3.83 | 175 ratings
Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool
2014
3.80 | 136 ratings
Z
2014
3.56 | 96 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence
2016

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

3.50 | 18 ratings
Official Bootleg
1999
3.54 | 28 ratings
Unplugged
2011
4.44 | 49 ratings
By A Thread - Live In London 2011
2012
4.68 | 54 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013
4.48 | 24 ratings
Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2015
2.46 | 5 ratings
Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre
2018

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

4.57 | 39 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013
3.98 | 26 ratings
Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2015

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

3.38 | 21 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos I
1999
3.36 | 14 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos II
2004
4.61 | 23 ratings
Contain Us
2011
5.00 | 2 ratings
Discovering Devin Townsend
2016

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

3.59 | 39 ratings
Christeen + 4 Demos
1999
3.20 | 5 ratings
Iceland
2016

DEVIN TOWNSEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Devin Townsend Project: Epicloud by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 321 ratings

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Devin Townsend Project: Epicloud
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars After 3 years, DT returns to his more classic sound with wall of sound behind the heavier tracks and flowing acoustic songs. Thankfully, he kept collaboration with Anneke Van Giersbergen whose vocal lights up every song. The first a-capella short ouverture informs the listener that he won't come short of harmonies. "True North" continues in the melodic vocal driven song flow. Gone are the overblown massive epic tracks from the last albums, most music here is more stripped down but don't expect just a guitar, bass, drums and vocals, that would be too plain from DT. "Kingdom" is the best prototype of the typical DT's style with a strong melody. ALso, note the opera vocal by DT himself. A few sublime tracks such as "Divine" keep the sunny spirit high. Angel has an almost Christmas-like ending with vocal chorus. This is the album that will be praised equally by many DT's fans and beyond.
 Devin Townsend Project: Ghost by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 324 ratings

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Devin Townsend Project: Ghost
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The metal chameleon Devin Townsend tries it acoustic, new age, folk and above all, very peaceful. A total contrast to Deconstruction released in the same year. The female voice suits the laid down atmosphere of this album. The atmospere is dreamy, sunny and that is the only album during playing which you can even have Thai massage ;) Some of the highlights - flute ending in the track 2, the folky marching and memorable Ghost (unlike most of the tracks here), vocal harmonies in "Blackberry", acoustic and electronica harmony on "Dark Matters", Alan Parsons Project feeling on "Tuxada". Overall a pleasant albeit not memorable work that we're used to from DT.
 Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.92 | 395 ratings

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Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The heaviest DT album, although the first three minutes are relaxing and showcase very interesting electronic drums and textures. Then slowly heaviness creeps in. First, it is not more than heavy heavy progressive metal. The second track shows the album potential and introduces death metal growling my Mr. Akerfeldt by Opeth. This is no ingenious composition, it is play with rhythms and vocals. It should have been shorter. Next tracks oscillate between death/black metal, progressive metal and a few softer but still rocking sections. There is little time for the ears to rest, the music is uncompromising, relentless and the guitar, drums and bass overshadow other elements such as vocals, keyboards or orchestration.

Because of its ambitions, structure, guest vocalists and structure, I would call it the most extreme metal opera. Yes, there are also symphonic moments with strings (though not well heard).

This album is mainly for metal fans but I doubt that other progressive fans will like this one, try something older by DT.

 Devin Townsend Project: Addicted by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.82 | 318 ratings

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Devin Townsend Project: Addicted
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars The album of extremes to me: on one hand we had refreshing new style with female vocals, pleasant melodies on four tracks, on the other hand too much DT's screaming, industrial guitars and drums which are too far for my taste. The first three tracks are simply shocking to me and I was disappointed about their sound and simple compositions After three bad tracks come three refreshing female-led songs. One of the more decent tracks is the not very sophisticated named "Ih-ah" which turns from screaming vocals to normal clean and warm vocal. Another decent track follows right after - with strong opera-like vocals, signature sound and guitar riffs. "Numbered" is a dramatic duet between van Giersbergen and Townsend.

2.5 stars for this effort, had this album been longer, I would keep it 2 stars.

 Ziltoid The Omniscient by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.14 | 553 ratings

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Ziltoid The Omniscient
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars What a disappointment for me just one year after the excellent Synchestra! I always consider parody or theatrical elements potentially dangerous to focus on music.

If jokes and lyrical plays do not interrupt the music flow, I can stay focused on the music because I almost always ignore the lyrics. Here, despite the undisputable music highlights, it disturbs me significantly.

The drums, programmed by DT himself, sound somewhat artificially. Some of the songs such as "Ziltoidia Attax" are agressive but don't bring the necessary quality. The best tracks are the longest ones. The usual songwriting skills are not much on display on this record. Therefore 3 stars only.

 The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.07 | 332 ratings

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The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars I personally regard this as DT's best album as of 2018. The beginning is out of dream: a lush acoustic number filled with joy and motivation to create and invent. The second track is an instrumental extravaganza: keyboard solo here and there with acoustic and electric music streams taking control. "Triumph" is so far the most conventional song returning to the typical soundscape changing to a progressive instrumental intermezzo just to stretch out a bit before a calmer "Babysong" with fascinating atmospheric progression. "Vampira" reminds more of extreme metal songs with death, hardcore and thrash metal thrown in that will please all headbangers. "Gaia" mixes alternative rock/metal and progressive metal elements. Another yet unheard stylistic shift is the oriental influenced "Pixillate" - far away from anything done by Orphaned land as the influence is subtle but interesting to follow. "Judgement" and "A simple lullaby" are effective heavy slow-paced numbers equally accessible. "Sunset" features more adventureous rhythm section and serves as prelude to another extended piece "Notes from Africa" that has however more to do with hardcore than anything African in the beginning. The second part of the song is marred by ambient nature sounds just to jump into a southern two-minute rock'n'roll number.

This album shows the great natural singing and compositional talent of DT coupled by clever mixing various styles together. It may take some time to digest but it's well worth the effort.

 The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.90 | 233 ratings

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The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Although still highly rated among his albums, as I can see from the ratings, I don't see this one on par with Terria or Biomech. Songwriting is simpler and the songs are less progressive. Deadhead is my favourite track from the album - but it does not bring anything new to the table. "Suicide" starts with tasty doom metal riffing before falling to the more conventional DT territory. "Away" is memorable for its repetitive riff. The bonus tracks provide an interesting perspective on DT: good ambient electronic music that you wouldn't find on any other album in Progarchives ;-) Overall, "Accelerated Evolution" may be a good and accessible introduction to DT's already large discography.
 Terria by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.18 | 614 ratings

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Terria
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Considered by many to be the DT's masterpiece. I can't decide really if I agree, as DT has several strong even albums. This one is a step forward from the debut album and surpasses it also in terms of ambitions.

The first ambient track puts you into an another world before human emotions on both side of spectrum kick in in the second track. Rough sound and ambiance/new age are in balance here.

"Earth Day" is one of the most favoured DT's tracks: strong melody, excellent vocals, extreme metal as well as pop feeling shape the lengthy song. And yes, we finally have an instrumental track with a guitar solo that reminds progressive metal - listen to "Deep peace". It could have stayed without vocals but the typical DT's sound brings it back to Earth. "Canada" is another fine and slow-paced track devoted to the homeland . "Down and under" serves more as a background track with constant wall of sounds, even the vocals harmonies are restrained not to interrupt the flow. "Nobody's here" could be considered album's ballad with very light parts. "Tiny tears" is another attempt at epic track and it works well but does not reach the qualities of "Earth day". The bonus tracks are not very interesting.

Strongly recommended album!

 Physicist by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.93 | 155 ratings

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Physicist
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Physicist is a pretty weak album by DT. I dare say it won't appeal to any traditional music styles: progressive metal, death metal, black metal nor alternative metal. The songs feel sometimes unfinished, there are is instrumental maturity and all is melted into a massive guitar riff soundscape. "Death" is the most brutal songs on the album and also one that catches the attention from the other mediocre songs. The bonus tracks help balance the otherwise monotonous album. "Irish Maiden" captures the listener by its name but unfortunately, less by the music. "Planet Rain" tries to save the progressive side of music by offering different motives but it is not enough for three stars.

This album is only for very liberal extreme metal fans or devoted DT fans.

 Ocean Machine - Biomech by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.97 | 301 ratings

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Ocean Machine - Biomech
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Devin Townsend's trademark album, with which he immediately set himself apart from the contemporaries: strong melodies, outstanding singing, wall of sound instead of instrumental chops. Guitar playing is riff-based, not much soloing or technical anomalies displayed here. Even if the massive background sonic landscape may be overwhelming, it does not overshadow the strong vocal delivery. Yes, this is not the prototype of progressive metal for art's sake - here we have pop, rock, 80's metal and electronica influences. The largest highlights I see in this album are the melodies, vocal qualities and interesting chord sequences. The last two long songs have even more focus on delightful vocal expression. The album flows like water, sometimes larger waves, sometimes no wind at all - as can be heard in the instrumental 3AM. Devin Townsend showed a lot of promise at this young stage of his career. If you listen to the bonus track, turn down the volume since there will be a shocking surprise in the end ;-).
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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