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Devin Townsend - Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence CD (album) cover

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: TRANSCENDENCE

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.65 | 121 ratings

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TCat
5 stars "Transendence" is Devin Townsend Project's 7th album, and DT's overall 17th album, and with it, comes the power heavy progressive rock that we have all come to know and love. No one does it like DT, and that is why I have come to the conclusion that he is my favorite Progressive Metal artist. I have not been able to find anyone that does it with as much power and passion that he does, and he is always one step above all of the other Progressive Metal artists out there. I'm not just saying this because I currently live in Canada, because he was one of my favorites way before I moved here from the States, and back then, when I first discovered his music, I had no idea he was Canadian. But, honestly, I found more fans of his down in the States than I have here in Canada. This time around, DT shares more of the ideas and input of the entire cast of the project. Even though the guitar is still heavy here, there is a more of keyboard driven aspect to it in that they stand out more in the overall wall of sound.

"Truth" starts out this album with a re-working of a track from one of his earlier albums "Infinity". It would seem he has returned to his famous wall of sound where somehow he brings out every single instrument, even though the track breaks down some at the end to a more mellow finish. The same heaviness continues in "Stormbending" with a swirling synthesizer that ushers in a powerful guitar solo, and DT's powerhouse vocals, loud when they need to be, and soft when the music calms. Somehow, DT's music is so heavy and uplifting at the same time, no matter what the subject matter is. Considering the title of this album, he has hit hi style and subject matter right on the nose this time. Just amazing and powerful, and plenty of dynamics because even though the wall is there, there are still plenty of softer passages to go along with whatever is needed in each track.

"Higher" features a solid progressive riff with a dramatic orchestral effect and you hear DT venturing up into his higher register way on up there a few times during this track. Later there is an awesome guitar solo that is all Devin. "Secret Sciences" has the fuller sound, but even so, it is a softer track with a more complex melody. Intensity does get heavier on the choruses. Anneke van Giersbergen from "The Gathering" also helps out with support vocals on this track. DT fans know that she is a frequent guest on many of his albums and many times will actually sing lead. The drums in this one are also quite rapid in many places giving that speed metal style without succumbing to that formula.

"Higher" flows directly from the previous track starting out quite peacefully with Devin's softer vocals and an acoustic, strummed guitar. A sudden increase in intensity and power erupts for a short time, then a throbbing bass introduces the excellent progressive feel of this track. The track continues to go from heavy drama to more melodic sections. Things can get rather loud and passionate at times with heavy metal riffing, even a little growling in the most emotional part of the track. That's another strength of Devin's, using that style from time to time, but only when it is needed to push the emotion to another level. That is also another reason why he is the best, because he uses that talent effectively and only when needed. This track is absolutely awesome and if you need to hear just how great of a musician Devin is and you only have time for one track, then this is the one, even though it is 10 minutes, none of that time is wasted. But I'll warn you, you won't be satisfied with just one, you will want more, more, more! Simply beautiful, stunning and immense!

"Stars" begins right away with the full wall of sound driven by majestic synths, but calming some as it continues, returning to majesty on the choruses. "Offer Your Light" is very up tempo driven by a keyboard riff and with Anneke taking lead at first and passing it back and forth with Devin, but the vocals are layered to sound like a full chorus.

"From the Heart" is a mid-tempo track with more of the symphonic wall backing things up. This is another majestic sounding track with several layers creating a powerful and almost orchestral sound. Halfway through this one, the density breaks down to just synths and vocal layers becoming peaceful and lovely as instruments take over the suddenly serene and floating ambience for the remainder of the track. The last track is also over 8 minutes like the previous. "Transdermal Celebration" (which is actually a "Ween" cover) begins with a simple electric guitar introduction which explodes into that dense wall again only to be calmed again for the chorus. After this, the guitar gets to take the theme into a longer solo before vocals come back. At 3:30, things get quite atmospheric and ethereal as it becomes more ambient. After 5 minutes, the music mostly fades and we are left with a wind effect with distant synths ebbing and flowing.

This is DT's and his Project at their best. Even though the synthesizers seem to have a little more to say in this album, it is still prime Devin Townsend material that surpasses many other Progressive Metal artists in pure emotion and awesomeness. It is a good representative of his heavier music, which is what most of his output is, though he has also been known to explore many other styles through his career. But this one features the music that we all love from him, pure excellence and musicianship.

TCat | 5/5 |

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