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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.

Photo by Eric Saide

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 rele...
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EmpathEmpath
Century Media 2019
$13.59
$12.64 (used)
Ziltoid the OmniscientZiltoid the Omniscient
Inside Out 2010
$10.79
$12.46 (used)
TerriaTerria
Imports 2010
$10.69
$11.39 (used)
Eras: Vinyl Collection Part IIIEras: Vinyl Collection Part III
Inside Out Germany 2018
$156.42
$159.81 (used)
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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)

3.98 | 309 ratings
Ocean Machine - Biomech
1997
3.70 | 216 ratings
Infinity
1998
2.93 | 161 ratings
Physicist
2000
4.19 | 633 ratings
Terria
2001
3.91 | 241 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution
2003
2.17 | 89 ratings
Devlab
2004
4.07 | 342 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra
2006
2.48 | 86 ratings
The Hummer
2006
4.14 | 567 ratings
Ziltoid The Omniscient
2007
3.84 | 311 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ki
2009
3.82 | 330 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Addicted
2009
3.92 | 409 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
2011
3.78 | 334 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ghost
2011
3.96 | 336 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Epicloud
2012
3.91 | 186 ratings
Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool
2014
3.75 | 143 ratings
Z
2014
3.65 | 116 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence
2016
4.31 | 111 ratings
Empath
2019

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

3.58 | 19 ratings
Official Bootleg
1999
3.56 | 30 ratings
Unplugged
2011
4.45 | 52 ratings
By A Thread - Live In London 2011
2012
4.69 | 59 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013
4.46 | 30 ratings
Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2015
3.00 | 12 ratings
Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre
2018

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

4.58 | 43 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013
4.04 | 29 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
4.63 | 24 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
 Terria by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.19 | 633 ratings

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Terria
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Devin Townsend's fourth album "Terria" has been considered by many his masterpiece, and you can read all the reasons why in some of the reviews on this site. I completely agree that this is a masterpiece, but being one of Townsend's stalwart fans, it is just one of many of his masterpieces. However, I started exploring his music with this album, and I would recommend it as one of many starting points for others also. After hearing the extreme emotion, heaviness and beauty of this album, if you don't get it, then there probably isn't much of a point to explore further. But, if you love it, then you will definitely be inclined to listen to more.

No one expresses himself like Devin does. His music is heavy, usually described as a wall of sound, which is a good way to explain it. But that sound is full of beauty and emotion, it's just that it is expressed so loudly sometimes, and to me it is hard to do that with the power that Devin does and still make the music so amazing. There are plenty of great tracks here, but I tend to direct people to a few n particular, namely "Earth Day" which is an extreme song about recycling and birthdays and everything. This song is even more personal to me because I can consider it an anthem that Devin wrote about me since my birthday falls on Earth Day. Ok, so maybe it wasn't about me, but it gives me this perceived connection to DT. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the beautiful track "Deep Peace" which is so wonderfully atmospheric and immersive, and that guitar solo in the middle is to die for.

It's not just his extreme and emotional approach to music that I love, but it is his unique sound and the way he orchestrates everything to sound so much like a rock and roll symphony. I also love his powerful vocals, and yes he goes into screaming territory, but he does it right with emotion. On this album, everything has such an epic feel to it, like every note and every passage is important and Devin treats it that way. Devin wanted to make this album his tribute to his country Canada, and the music here conveys the love he has for it. It is an album that comes from his heart and to me, that is very apparent in the music here, everything so carefully crafted into powerful songs that are oftentimes very very loud, but also extremely beautiful and emotional. That is why I have no qualms giving this 5 stars, but also why I consider it one of my personal favorite and rare 6 star perfect albums. My words can't give it the justice it deserves, listen to it and see if it touches you like it touches many other fans out there.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.31 | 111 ratings

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Empath
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Devin Townsend just keeps on going and he keeps on releasing amazing albums. "Empath", released in March of 2019, continues his amazing legacy, and fans will not be disappointed. But how do we get the world to listen to this genius of progressive metal? It's true that his extremely emotional vocals and his wall of sound technique doesn't fit everyone's tastes, but man, are these people missing some great music. Many of the tracks feature the "Elektra Women's Choir" which give a really amazing feel to the tracks they are involved in, and make this music even more uplifting.

Leading out with a introductory track, "Castaway" is pretty amazing and set the stage for what is to come. It is a lovely build with a full choir singing at the end that brings it into the next track "Genesis". Then, Bam! Devin is in your face with some of his heaviest vocals and music, but don't worry, even in this first track, there is so much dynamic and variant sound. Che Aimee Dorval, who has worked extensively with Devin in the past, guests on this track, and this is one example of the many tracks that feature multiple drummers (at least 3 in this track). The overall feel of the track is progressive metal, but there are so many changes and surprises around each corner, the choir continues, cats meowing, cows mooing, seagulls screeching, and it all somehow fits together seamlessly. "Spirits will Collide" continues with that uplifting power metal giving breaks in the wall of sound for when the choir sings alone, but bringing it back when Devin joins in. At this risk of sounding sappy, this emotional heaviness can bring one to tears.

Not being one to stand too long in any certain subgenre, Devin ventures into a more symphonic sound in "Evermore" without completely losing the wall so sound feel, but incorporating quieter sections with some great synth work. Devin has a way of turning his heavy music into something that sounds like a complex rock orchestra, and this is very apparent in this track. In "Sprite", which features a strange reading, Devin resorts to his head voice giving it a more airy feel, and the music itself is a more carefree feel, lighter and playful, yet quite complex, as you should expect. But, as with most of his music, there is something lurking underneath it all. Everything bursts into crazy rapid fire notes when we go into the next track "Hold On". Anneke Van Giersbergen, another DT regular guests on vocals along with Chad Kroeger from "Nickelback", though I can't quite pick him out in this crazy music. This track is emotional like the rest, but in a no-holds-barred kind of way, as it is more extreme and loud. But it's still amazing! Yes, there is growling in there, but it only elevates the power of it all. And Devin's vocals are at their extreme on this one too.

"Why?" is the crazy musicianship of Townsend at it's best. This one sounds heavily orchestrated and sounds very Disney-like, complete with birds singing on Devin's shoulders. It might sound corny, but that is why Devin is so damn good at this, because it is just as awesome as everything else on this album. The choir only helps to make this even more believable. The power of Devin's voice becomes almost operatic. "Borderlands" follows and this time starts with a reggae feel, which later becomes complex and then a nice, heavy metal feel soon after. This 11 minutes track is wonderfully progressive and flows so well for a song that goes just about everywhere in musicality and style. If there is one song that demonstrates all of Devin's genius, his penchant for effective use of dynamics, and the many styles that he has touched on in his career, this would be that song. It is a tour de force of his music, even becoming blissfully soft and pensive for several minutes in the middle of the track and then coming out of that mood with the choir leading him along seemingly saying "Don't be sad Devin, lets go play some more". He does for a while, but the track finally ends in an ambient way. This flows into the beautifully constructed "Requiem" which utilizes the choir and is quite orchestral.

As if this isn't enough, Devin puts a 23 minute suite at the end of the album. "Singularity" is a 6 part suite that starts with "Adrift" with a solo electric guitar playing a melody by itself before an acoustic guitar comes in with Devin singling in his best mellow voice. He is later supported by the choir making this a very celestial sounding track, and then DT waxes operatic again, in the best possible way of course. At 5 minutes, "I Am I" goes into a more bombastic style, and the wall of music and vocals returns in a big way. The music mellows out after a while for a quieter section, then at 8:30, part 3, "There Be Monsters" section switches to a darker tone and builds in intensity and then things just go wild in another study in heavy extremes. The fourth part is "Curious Gods" replaces the loudness with a quick calm down and a return to a softer sound after 13 minutes. There are some nice harmonies in the form of layered vocals and complex yet mellower somewhat avant garde sounds and some whistling. When it slips into the next section "Silicon Scientists" things are chaotic, and then get into some interesting meter changes and deep, character style spoken vocals. At around 19 minutes, the last section "Here Comes the Sun", with Devin's vocals coming back softly and things build to climax when Steve Vai comes in for a guitar solo guest spot to complete this epic suite and close this amazing album.

There is a 2nd disc with the limited edition of this album that includes 10 more tracks, most of them demo versions of other songs not on this album. The thing with DT is that his demo songs many times sound like they are finished. I'm not going to go through these tracks, but just know that it is more amazing music from this genius.

Those that were afraid that DT might be losing his edge need not worry. This album is one of his best albums, and that is saying a lot. You get the signature DT sound here, and you get an amazing amount of variety. There is plenty of loudness here that will satisfy the ones that love DT's heaviness, some of which is very extreme and rank up there with his heaviest, but there are some beautiful sublime moments there too. DT always does his best when he is so dynamic as he is in this album. The addition of the choir on many of these tracks give so much depth and emotion to this music.

DT has quickly become my favorite Progressive Metal artist and this album completely solidifies that, but also brings him up to one of my favorite all around artists. If you ever loved DT's music, then you need this album. If you were always on the fence about his music, you need this album. If you have never heard of Devin Townsend, then you definitely need this album. One of the best albums so far this year and I have a feeling, unless something amazing comes along, it will be the best of the year. 5 bright stars.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.31 | 111 ratings

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Empath
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

5 stars First Listen: Delicious Mess Fifth Listen: Album of the Year 15th Listen: Maybe the best Prog Metal Album ever Made

I am a Devin Townsend uberfan. He is my favorite artist of the last 20 years. At the same time, I was seriously afraid he was finally running out of mojo as I wrote in my review of his final DTP album Transcendence.

I was wrong. The old man has mucho mojo for the mortals still to deliver.

When my non-metal or non-prog friends ask me to describe Devin, I usually say he is the musical grandson of Frank Zappa, as he got his start with Steve Vai who in turn got his start with FZ. Up until now, the comparison was loose. Empath is metal Zappa, composed by a fully matured and sophisticated artist who happens to have the added bonus of being a virtuoso rock vocalist. In fact, among the album's numerous contributors is another Zappa alumnus Mike Keneally who serves as musical director.

It is not an exaggeration to say that this album may have the broadest range of styles ever juxtaposed. The blast beat festival of Hear Me is immediately followed by orchestral / choral Why. And it works. Well, at least after 3-4 listens. This album is not an easy listen, especially the first time through. Not only does it span an enormous palette of musical ideas, it evokes an immense range of emotions. In fact, Townsend has said this is the point of the whole album, that in spite of a chaotic world, we are in the journey together. The thematic idea of the album is monsters and light.

The lead video "Genesis" actually serves as an overture, while the album ends with the 20+ minute multipart epic "Singularity." The prog-head in me giggles at the way this 2019 album follows this classic formula. There are also little musical allusions to other artists, some obvious (Nirvana's "In Bloom") and some subtle (Opeth-ish guitar parts in the epic).

The bonus disc is also excellent, and would have sit nicely in the DT discography if it had been the primary album. It still would have been his best since Epicloud. But like the majority of Dev's albums, it has high points and low points.

Empath itself has no filler. It is the first masterpiece album I've heard in years.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.31 | 111 ratings

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Empath
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars The more I listen to it, the better it gets. Empath is a unique experience from Devin. If I had to pick a favorite track, I would go with Borderlands. But this is not an album to dissect. Sometimes I just get so lost in the craziness that I do not know what track I am on. Empath has a more electronica vibe to it, and it mixes well with the heaviness. The production is A+, and you need to take it in with good headphones. I do not know where Empath stands yet in my favorites depth chart, but Devin can do no wrong. It is a welcome addition to an excellent catalog of music.
 Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Live, 2018
3.00 | 12 ratings

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Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars I have been a fan of the manic Canuck for more than 20 years, still cherish my fully-signed copy of Strapping Young Lad's 'Alien' and wouldn't leave home without a copy of the 'Retinal Circus' video loaded onto my phone as one never knows when the urge to watch again will strike. I didn't hear his debut 'Ocean Machine' when it was released but did pick up on his next album 'Infinity' and from there on in was a solid fan. He has a way of creating a wall of sound which no-one else has managed in the modern era, and I grabbed the opportunity when he finally decided to play New Zealand (hey guys, you don't all have to just play the States and Europe you know, we do appreciate it when you get down here as well). He was also playing in my favourite venue (Power Station, which is incredibly reminiscent in many way of the long-lost Marquee), so it was with heavy heart when I left before the end as it was just so, um, boring.

Here we find a long set (triple CD) which includes the whole of his debut 'Ocean Machine' from 1997, along with plenty of other material. As well as the band we are treated to the Orchestra and Choir of Plovdiv State Opera who join in for the first two CDs, but it all feels rather flat. Take opener "Truth" which also appears on 'Retinal Circus': it isn't that Devin is just going through the motions, but where is the bounce and joie de vivre so evident on the earlier live release? Surely it can't just be that Anneke wasn't involved in this? When Devin is on form, having fun, and with the right support around him then he is in a league all his own as his vision and endless musical creativity just lifts him far away from everywhere else. But this could never be an album to introduce a listener to his music, as the spark isn't there. I am sure there are many fans who will buy this, listen to it a few times, then put it back on the shelf and instead turn to the much loved and battered version of 'Retinal Circus' instead. With heavy heart I have to say I can't imagine playing it again.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.31 | 111 ratings

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Empath
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by keriboi

5 stars Wow. This is nothing like the Devin we have known. Some beautiful music with amazing production. A little cinematic. Always knew this was in Dev. So happy for him. He has nailed this. Die hards may hate it but this is what dev wants at this time in his life. He has pumped out so many albums. Standout song for me was 'why?' This is up there with Ziltiod but totally different. Devs vocals are the best they have ever been. The mixing is right up there and easily the best production of all the devy albums. Must Listen on headphones. Epic Album. Im not sure what Devin can follow this up with. Singularity suite could be an album on its own.

 Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 186 ratings

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Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Casualties of Cool' is not just the name of this album, but it is the name of the project of both Devin Townsend and Che Aimee Dorval and was released in 2014. Che has participated in some of Devin's other projects, but this is the first one that actually has full collaboration from the both of them. If you expect this to be another of Devin's heavy albums, though, you better think twice. Not to say that this is not a great album, because it is and it demonstrates the genius behind both artists. Now, you can hear hints of Devin's sound in this, but the shocker is that these songs are based around country, blues, psychedelic and ambient music. In other words, if country music could be progressive, this is what it would sound like.

Don't let the country moniker scare you away though, because if you do, you will be missing something that is quite excellent here. You know if Townsend is involved, that you will get an end result totally unique, and Dorval's added collaboration only strengthens it. Many other musicians are also involved in creating the music on this album. The album is a concept album in that there is a sci-fi style story line behind it all. A man living on a moon with nothing but an old radio listens to old style songs to try to avoid his fears, that is the concept in a nutshell. All of the songs are tied together in that they run into each other like a continuous suite almost. Many of the tracks also have sections that involve different styles to help keep the storyline cohesive.

Starting out with 'Daddy', Dorval sings the vocals and the feeling is definitely inspired by country music, but there are shades of psychedelia in there, especially when moving to the next track. The song is great, it is something definitely new and unique, yet tied to old styles. 'Mountaintop' features Townsend's airy vocals, they are strong, yet light, and definitely far away from his extreme vocals. Again, there is that lush and beautiful texture to the music and it continues with a nice upbeat song, but somewhere towards the end it veers off into psychedelic and ambient territory, yet sounds just like it should be doing that, not just something 'glued' together, but moving there naturally. It's this ambience that takes us into 'Flight' and a beautiful mix of acoustic guitar and lovely electronic effects that create the texture.

'The Code' has a snappy toe-tapping rhythm, but with the echo-y sound especially in the vocals that keeps things mysterious and unique. There is even a nice Walter Becker style guitar solo in there. The sound of frogs tie the tracks together as 'Moon' starts, which has a rhythmic base similar to 'Run Like Hell' from Pink Floyd, but the similarity ends there in this track which is more of an ambient sound, but with a percussive effect that almost sounds like a train chugging far off in the distance. Layered harmonies and a sax keep the other-worldly sound along with the lush texture. The dying sounds of the end of that track carry us into 'Pier' which is an instrumental ambient/psychedelic track as the trance-like feel breaks slowly down as the track continues turning the train sound to the sound of ticking clocks, which slow down even more signifying time passing more and more slowly. 'Ether' picks up the tempo again as Devon and Che harmonize with their beautifully layered vocals. The hazy sound of the track reflects the title quite well.

'Hejda' is another psychedelic and experimental track that brings in a tribal rhythm and Native American feel with the tribal flute, and various other effects and a few subdued vocals. Very spacey and traditional at the same time. 'Forgive Me' has the folk-blues vibe along the lines of Dire Straits, but mostly with Che's vocals and later with those lovely, other-worldly harmonies. 'Broken' is almost cinematic with a chamber male choir and almost symphonic sound. 'Bones' is a pensive track featuring Che, a sitar and a lovely melody with an almost European feel. 'Deathscope' builds a boogie sound ala Johnny Cash style. But this isn't Cash, it's Townsend, so be careful where you step. You might line dance yourself into a black hole. You haven't heard anything like this, I guarantee that, and that is what makes it sooooooooo coooooool. The last half of the track goes completely ambient and eerie. I told you to be careful, but you didn't listen.

'The Field' manages to pull an acoustic guitar out of the ambience with a nice western style ballad. I only have one word, Brilliant! 'The Bridge' has got a peaceful and lovely mid-Eastern vibe to it in the beginning. It builds slowly and becomes quite cinematic and amazing, especially with the choir effects and subdued vocals. But when the climax hits in the middle and towards the end, it will take your breath away. After that, it calms again and soon Devin sings in his head voice. This music is Zen! Absolutely gorgeous. 'Pure' begins with a wind effect and a solo Native American flute to act as a cool down for that last track.

This is one of those albums that is meant to be played as an album. Together, this is a musical experience that is so hard to describe, it just has to be heard. There is a 2nd disc included with the special edition that has outtakes from this album along with alternate versions. It also contains some songs that were recorded for the scrapped 'Ghost 2' project, and it works better as a separate entity from this amazing album, yet it is still worth your while to get.

This album is without a doubt one of the best that Townsend has a hand in, and that is saying a lot. The sound of the music is literally out of this world. It is like you are listening to regular music as you are falling asleep (if you have ever done this, I think you know what I mean), or like your head is in a fog and all of these beautiful sounds and textures are melding together and going into your ears. You just have to listen to it to understand, but I mean to really listen and not have anything else going on. There is so much to grasp here and the genius of Townsend and Dorval is undeniable. No doubt that this is an essential album that sounds like nothing else.

 Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.65 | 116 ratings

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Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Its taken a while for me to come to this album. Bit shocking since Devin Townsend has been one of my favorite prog artists for many years now. Every release seems to be different, and this one is no exception.

Well, kinda... Let me explain.

Let's look just at the album title and cover, don't even listen to the music yet. From my perspective, I'm expecting openess, space, choirs, symphonic-ness, atmospheric prog metal at its finest, and honestly, that's really what you get. The intro is a rerecorded cover of "Truth" from his 1999 album "Infinity". It's a bit cleaner in sound quality, no doubt, but the only thing that really changes is the addition of some lyrics at the very end, which segue into "Stormbending". From here on out, everything is just BIG. Big guitars, big synths, big choir, big space. "Stormbending" in general is really quite meh until the very end with about 2 minutes left, when Devin and the choir repeat a simple three-note triad for three measures, then mixes it up on the fourth by raising the first note by just a half step, throwing in a bit of a atonal curevball for just a second. Not much of a track, but the end is pretty tasty.

"Failure" just kicks. In a 6/4 groove all the way, this track has just a feel of grunge and kickass to it. The rhythmic churn of the guitars and the constant tension of the added strings just keeps the whole track on edge. With a pretty kickass guitar solo in the middle, I much like this track. The only downside may be the fact that it ends rather anti-climatically, but the edginess of it coupled with a nice chorus makes it rather memorable, especially because "Stormbending" is mostly forgetful and "Secret Sciences" is a bit too tryhard in my opinion. It's too plain, too one note, too predictable.

"Higher" is probably one of the highest notes on the track (pun absolutely intended). It's the one that feels closest to a real progressive track. The chorus is a theme that wraps around several times while the verses pass through several key changes and rhythmic shifts. It's the angelic chorus of "Higher" that truly grounds the track even after acoustic interludes, shifting time signatures, screams, growls and mesmerizing guitar solos. Definitely the best track on the album.

By this point, the album has the theme pretty much down, and "Stars" and "Transcendence" are pretty much straightforward, unsurprising, and honestly, uninteresting. "Offer Your Light" is really the only other bright spot on the album. This is just a no-frills, hard-driving, metal track, a soaring chorus with constantly hard-hitting drums and churning guitars. This is just noise at its best, an almost modern bastardization of Phil Spector's classic "Wall of Sound" from the 50's and 60's. There's nothing really complicated about it, but since it's one of the most, if not THE most memorable track on the album, it's also one of the best. The rest of the first disc is more of the same honestly.

The second disc is mostly filled with demos, and it begins with a funny comment about the failure of Z2 (which technically I disagree with, but we'll let bygones be bygones). The second disc is actually more interesting than the first, because the first is very similar in key signature and theme all around. With the second being a bunch of demos, each track is different, and thus feels like it has its own identity, and simultaneously, each is almost more recognizable and memorable than the tracks on the first album. In all honesty, the first disc fails BECAUSE it's too serious, while the second disc is simply better because it ISN'T serious.

Because honestly, when is Devin Townsend ever truly serious? This guy got his audience to scream "BALLS!" during his "Retinal Circus" show.

Thematically, it's right in line with Devin's musical trends, but still the album falls a tad short of expectations. It's still good, but the lack of unique standout tracks and diversity of sounds and styles on the album is a bit of a letdown for those of us who've always loved Devin's eclectic and crazy music.

 Devin Townsend Project: Ki by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.84 | 311 ratings

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Devin Townsend Project: Ki
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars The 'Devin Townsend Project' was originally planned to be a set of 4 albums each tapping into a different element of Devin's songwriting, each with a completely different lineup. The albums were to be a soft album, a pop album, the heaviest album that Devin had written, and then a wildcard album. 'Ki' is the first of this series, being the apparently soft album of the lot, although I personally find the term restrained to be one better suited to this, as there are a number of moments in which I definitely cannot call this album light or soft. Despite this, the album is also remarkably cleaner and simpler sounding than basically anything else Devin has written, not utilising the massive wall of sound production used on most of his works prior to this.

The album builds itself around a constantly increasing energy that every time it feels as if there's going to be an extremely heavy climax, it is avoided in a variety of ways, up until 'Heaven Send'. I personally find this structure combined with songwriting to make the first half of the album to be near perfection, balancing between slow building songs and utterly beautiful ones. Both 'Coast' and 'Terminal' are great songs, both being quite simple, focusing much more on displaying how amazing Devin's voice is, along with layering the various aspects of the instrumentation, as is the norm for him, albeit to a much lesser extent. 'Terminal' in particular is interesting, as it feels very much like a precursor to the ambient nature of his album 'Ghost'. The songs that interest me the most on this portion of the album are definitely 'Disruptr', 'Gato' and 'Heaven Send', each having extremely similar structures and rhythmic patterns. 'Disruptr' starts off slow and foreboding, with the vocals almost being whispered, but with the feeling that the song will become something much more. As the first crescendo begins, the vocals become increasingly rough, and the instrumentation becomes louder. I love how once Devin breaks out his growls, rather than being a major focus of the song, the rhythm instead continues, making the moment intense, but nothing particularly powerful, showing off the restraint that the album is built around. I also love how as the second buildup occurs, this time, the vocals hit the final note in an operatic way to once again tone down the energy. 'Gato' is a much more intense song, starting off the same general way, with quiet strums of the guitar and a generally minimalistic sound. Once again, the same technique is used here of continuing the same rhythm even once the harsh vocals make an appearance in order to still have a sense of restraint. I also find Che Dorval to do an excellent job here, being a large reason why this song ends up being so intense. The moment where the album takes a significant turn is on 'Heaven Send', starting off slightly faster paced and with more focus on the percussion. The song sounds quite similar to 'Gato' especially with Che's vocal line being very similar to it, but I do like this more, especially with the constant addition of other elements in the background, building up in a much more intense way. All the energy and anger building up over the past few songs gets released in the last minute and a half, which what is the biggest climax on the album, with layers upon layers of aural bombardment.

Past this point, the album ends up being much more what I originally expected when told that this was to be a light album, with less distinct structure and the music being much more pleasant and smooth, without any sort of intensity to be found. Both 'Ain't Never Gonna Win' and 'Winter' nicely blend into each other, and while nothing particularly stunning, it's still quite pleasant. 'Trainfire' takes a more interesting approach, experimenting with rockabilly, all complete with a pretty great Elvis impression. This song is just brimming with personality and fun, and is definitely one of the higher points on the album. 'Lady Helen' is another pleasant song, but nothing that I'd consider to be great. The same can be said about both 'Quiet Riot' and 'Deamon League', which are really nice to listen to, but nothing all that special. The title track is much more of a standard affair for Devin, having some semblance of his usual wall of sound present, with layers of vocalisations, along with a really nice buildup, all while still sticking to the core concept of the album, all around making it a truly excellent song.

In general, I find this album to be a really interesting one with some clear issues. The biggest one is that while both sides are excellent, they do feel quite different and disjointed, and I find that it leaves the album with a bit of an identity problem, as it tries accomplishing 2 different things. That said, both halves are filled with memorable, great songs, and the album is stunning at multiple points. Overall, while not the best work that Devin has put out, nor one that I recommend anyone start with, I do find this to be a worthwhile listen.

Best songs: Heaven Send, Trainfire, Ki

Weakest songs: Winter, Quiet Riot

Verdict: Each half of the album has a different approach to it, with the first half being this constantly building intensity, while the second half is much quieter and prettier. While both sides are exceptional, this also makes the album slightly disjointed. Despite this, i highly recommend it for those who enjoy Devin Townsend and enjoy some lighter music, as there is quite a bit of it spread throughout.

 Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Live, 2018
3.00 | 12 ratings

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Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is an excellent live album for anyone looking to upgrade their Ocean Machine with a stellar sounding adrenaline rush. Ocean Machine has never sounded better with this Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre release, and Devin gave a powerful performance with the usual wall of sound. It is easy to see how much Ocean Machine means to him as it is a gateway to a bunch of phenomenal releases to follow. Ocean Machine is one my favorite albums from Devin along with Terria and Ziltoid. It is an excellent collection of songs and an essential album to own in his extensive catalog. The rest of this big live release contains some favorites from the crowd while Devin flirts with witty and fun interludes between songs. While The Retinal Circus or Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall may be considered by some as better live albums, there is so much to like here that it should not be missed. Devin has a tremendous work ethic, and it shows why he is successful as an artist. I listen to Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre now more than the original release.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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