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Devin Townsend - Terria CD (album) cover


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

4.20 | 670 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Devin Townsend is one of the most prolific artists in modern music. Fans can expect at least an album a year from one of his projects, quite often two. With every release, critics hail his brilliant lyrics, superb musicianship, and flawless production. However, Devin took some time off from his projects at the start of the century and simply waited for songs to come. The result is one of the greatest albums in prog metal, alongside DT's Scenes and Ayreon's The Human Equation. It's difficult to define Terria, which almost automatically makes it progressive. It isn't a concept album, but it's unfair to say the album has individual songs. Essentially, you are listening a recording of a man's stream of consciousness; it displays as much emotion as The Human Equation but with the crushing force of a man filled with rage (incidentally Devin's role on The Human Equation). Devin uses themes for his albums; the theme here is normal life. Unlike THE, Terria doesn't grab you at first. Like every Townsend release, it takes several listens to figure out just what you've listened to. When it clicks, you'll never experience greater euphoria.

As usual, Devin augments his musicianship with some of the finest instrumentalists around. Behind the kit is Strapping Young Lad drummer Gene Hoglan. His drumming is more restrained from the death metal he's used to, but he still unleashes some thunderous force on songs like Earth Day. Craig McFarland lays down some inventive fretless bass. Jamie Meyer's keyboards give this album almost as much atmosphere as Devin's voice.

It's impossible to select highlights for this album. You simply must listen from start to finish. Every time I listen something new grabs my attention. Devin layers his songs with so many hidden elements that you'll never grow tired of his work. Even the more straight-forward SYL material is filled with nuances. The music stops on a dime and heads off into completely new territory. It will pound with metallic force on "Mountain" and "Earth Day" then suddenly give way to a Gilmour like solo over lush keys on "Deep Peace." The freeway soul-searching of "Canada" empties into "Down and Under," which segues into the fierce and complex "The Fluke." "Nobody's Here" and "Tiny Tears" are rather melancholic and deal with the emptiness we all feel at some point. The melancholia is cured by "Stagnant" and its upbeat sound. "Universal" closes the album as weirdly as "Olives" opens it.

This album is without a doubt one the top five releases in progressive metal. It's hard to say if this is a good place to start with Devin since everything he makes is complex. It's like Pink Floyd turned up to 11, with terrific and unique vocals and genius yet nonsequitor lyrics. Fans of metal might want to start with SYL's City or Alien to introduce yourself before braving this masterpiece. It isn't quite a flawless A+, but it comes close; on a numeric scale, I give it about a 97 or 98.

Grade: A

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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