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Devin Townsend

Experimental/Post Metal

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Devin Townsend Devlab album cover
2.06 | 101 ratings | 9 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Devlab I (1:07)
2. Devlab II (4:10)
3. Devlab III (4:21)
4. Devlab IV (2:42)
5. Devlab V (5:08)
6. Devlab VI (5:55)
7. Devlab VII (1:42)
8. Devlab VIII (4:30)
9. Devlab IX (10:17)
10. Devlab X (3:48)
11. Devlab XI (1:35)
12. Devlab XII (4:44)
13. Devlab XIII (9:45)
14. Devlab XIV (4:11)
15. Devlab XV (2:04)

Total Time 65:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Devin Townsend ("Written, Produced and all that by The Dev")

Occasional guests

Releases information

"(Devlab) is an experiment in sounds Devin calls "heavy metal ambience". It's
more like across between the EKO techno project (from the Accelerated Evolution
Special Edition) and the song "Love Load" off of the Infinity EP.

Artwork: Konrad J. Palkiewicz

CD Hevydevy Records ‎- none (2004, Canada)

Thanks to Dorsalia for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry


DEVIN TOWNSEND Devlab ratings distribution

(101 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (34%)
Poor. Only for completionists (30%)

DEVIN TOWNSEND Devlab reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by LiquidEternity
2 stars You know, I feel bad giving this two stars. I mean, I don't like it at all. That's fair enough. But I know that this stuff does exactly what Devin wants it to do, and it's a marvel in production and recording techniques or something. What we have here is a lot of noise dedicated to imitating a fever-dream. It does, too. It makes you feel kind of woozy and confused, with a touch of nausea now and then.

I have never really been a fan of noise or drone music or whatever all that stuff is. I usually like music with my music. But there is still something inherently fascinating about Devlab. I've listened to it a bunch of times, trying to figure out what it is about this album that keeps making me click on track number one. I subject myself again and again to this hour-long mash of noise and grating ambiance. Obviously, something about it is good, but I can't understand what. Devin put his heart and soul into this project, and I can see where his work paid off.

In all, though, this is an album just for serious fans or noise junkies. You have to be pretty patient with Mr. Townsend to really get much out of this album aside from a headache.

Review by The Crow
2 stars Is this pure garbage or pure art?

The answer for this question is difficult. I am sure that this album is some kind of masterpiece of noise music for some people out there. In the matter of fact, I have read some reviews of people honestly loving Devlab.

Nevertheless, for me this is just a curiosity from the mind of one of my favourite prog artists. It is deep, emotional and very challenging. However, I do not like it. Maybe I do not understand this record, or maybe it is just not my kind of music but I find the hearing of Devlab a dull and unpleasant experience.

The only interesting factor about this record is its connection with other Devin experiments like the ones in Terria and some parts of the Strapping Young Lad records, where he investigated some noises and effects with success. However, an entire album of this kind is just too much!

Best tracks: I cannot really say. None? All of them?

Conclusion: I must say that the mixing and the amount of work that this album has behind it is remarkable and I am sure that fans of noise music can really appreciate it, but I find Devlab just boring, too hard and annoying.

Sorry Devin, but that is just not for me.

My rating: **

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars When Devin Townsend released his Devin Townsend Band album "Accelerated Evolution" in 2003, he gave us a taste of what was to come in the following year with a bonus disc that was included with the Special Edition version of that album, that was called "Project EKO". It was a 3 track bonus EP that had a very ambient feel to it, very much more experimental, and so very much unlike anything Townsend had ever produced before. Well, this experimental, ambient side of Devin was not the end for that particular personality, because his next album was called "Devlab" and would continue with that strange, experimental side, and it was released in 2004. So, how would those fans of the Heavy Devy sound react to this? Not very well. In fact, many of them had never heard music like this, and made it obvious that they were not happy. But, Devin has his experimental side, and he loves to explore all types of music, so, it wouldn't be the last time he would be so adventurous.

On "Devlab", Townsend would be in charge of writing, producing, and "all that", with an occasional, unnamed guest showing up to help out. This album would have 15 unnamed tracks of varying lengths running for just over 1 minute to over 10 minutes, and overall running for almost 66 minutes. It was quite a risk, but this was what Devin would call his "heavy metal ambience" sound.

Devin's strange sense of humor would start off the album with the first track being a short, introductory track where he says "I'm going to melt you guys" in several varying speeds with layers of happy, crazy music playing behind him. From there, the album continues through a collage of noises, loops, odd recordings, manipulated sounds from various sources and the like, it's basically Devin playing around with recording equipment and synthesizers. There is no melodic quality to any of it, but it is a study in sound manipulation and such. There are some very noisy, chaotic passages and some very ambient and minimal sections. Think of The Beatles "Revolution #9" or Frank Zappa's "The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet" except that this time, it goes on for over an hour. Yet, there is something intriguing about it all, but it is very difficult to listen to all the way through. The best parts are the ambient sections, the noisy bits are just too harsh and annoying.

Townsend is at his best when he sticks with the more traditional form of music, whether it be heavy metal or country music, he is almost always in top form. But this noise just doesn't have much in the way of entertainment value or listen-ability. I can't even consider this an avant-garde classic or an experimental break through, because, in the end, I am sorry to say, that there just isn't enough salvageable material here to even make a single out of. This one is only for completionists or fans, and that's about it.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars "Devlab" is the sixth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in December 2004. It bridges the gap between "Accelerated Evolution" from March 2003 and "Synchestra" from January 2006 (both albums released under the The Devin Townsend Band monicker), although Townsend also found time to release the fourth Strapping Young Lad album "Alien" in March 2005.

Although you always expect the unexpected from Townsend, the material on "Devlab" is after all a more dramatic departure from his core sound than anything he had released up until then. Itīs truly a solo album as Townsend handles all instruments and vocals. Stylistically itīs an ambient/atmospheric release with no metal or rock parts whatsoever (there is however an electronic music section around the 30 minutes mark and again around the 50 minutes mark). This instead has more in common with noise/drone music and avant garde sound collages. Itīs definitely not accessible music, and probably very much an aquired taste.

"Devlab" features 15 tracks which seque into each other to form a 65:54 minutes long ambient noise/drone listening experience. Some parts of the album are relatively mellow and nicely atmospheric, while others are loud, abrasive, almost painfully noisy, and eerie sounding. Itīs like the soundtrack to a torture movie. Not completely unlike the depraved and sickening sounds of artists like Gnaw Their Tongues and Abruptum, when they are farthest removed from traditional metal structures and elements.

"Devlab" is not surprisingly well produced, featuring many layers of samples, effects, synths/keyboards, and assorted strange vocals. So this is in many ways a quality release. It does however elude me how anyone can find listening pleasure in a release like "Devlab". To my ears itīs an excruciating listen. Itīs either pretty dull, laid back and way too slow building, or itīs in white noise territory and the equivalent to to having your teeth pulled out or your ears punctured by a drill. Iīm missing something which resembles structure, and something which convinces me, that Townsend isnīt just pulling my leg. A 1.5 star (25%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Latest members reviews

3 stars 'Devlab' is like a hot melt glue gun - it will melt you... 'Devlab' is an instrumental, experimental, ambient venture that was obviously not crafted for an audience, but for Devin's own personal pleasure in experimenting with his new (at the time) audio technology. This is made clear by the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#1328838) | Posted by Quirky Turkey | Friday, December 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Devin Townsend is quite an interesting man. I remember, awhile back, listening to his work in the band Strapping Young Lad, and even then I thought the sound the band produced was remarkable. Although not a huge fan of his solo work, the album art and strange album name got me hooked into listeni ... (read more)

Report this review (#1328039) | Posted by aglasshouse | Tuesday, December 23, 2014 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Devin Gee, you're doing it wrong! Not that I have an attraction to ambient music, but this here is far from attractive. Rather, it's bad, inaudible, totally ridiculous. I do not know what the intent of Devin to do this album, but OF COURSE it was not anything serious or committed. I respect his a ... (read more)

Report this review (#828194) | Posted by voliveira | Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars So [%*!#]ing weird... Devin Townsend is usually known for recording and producing metal albums, whether it be the extreme tendencies of Strapping Young Lad, or his laidback, mellow solo albums. Here, Devy's trying something different, aiming for a sound he describes as ''heavy metal ambience''. ... (read more)

Report this review (#192238) | Posted by ZeroDreamPlasMaximus | Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'm gonna melt you guys.... this is the prime objective of Devin on this album, and he achieves it, however, its not a very plesant melting... i found this album to be extremly dissapointing, i mean reeeeally dissapointing, im such a big fan of Devin. I thought this was going to be an atmo ... (read more)

Report this review (#161141) | Posted by TR!P | Thursday, February 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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