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Devin Townsend

Experimental/Post Metal

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Devin Townsend Ocean Machine - Biomech album cover
4.01 | 364 ratings | 32 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Seventh Wave (6:50)
2. Life (4:31)
3. Night (4:45)
4. Hide Nowhere (5:00)
5. Sister (2:48)
6. 3 A.M. (1:56)
7. Voices in the Fan (4:39)
8. Greetings (2:53)
9. Regulator (5:06)
10. Funeral (8:05)
11. Bastard (10:17)
- a. Not One of My Better Days
- b. The Girl from Blue City
12. The Death of Music (12:15)
13. Thing Beyond Things (Bonus track) (4:47)

Total Time: 73:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Devin Townsend / vocals, guitars, programming, producer

- John Morgan / addit. keyboards
- John "Squid" Harder / bass
- Marty Chapman / drums
- Chris Valagao / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Masa Noda

CD HevyDevy Records ‎- HDR (1997, Canada)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy DEVIN TOWNSEND Ocean Machine - Biomech Music

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ocean Machine - Biomech ratings distribution

(364 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ocean Machine - Biomech reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FishyMonkey
4 stars WTF. Every time I've bought a DTB album, I've come in saying it can't possibly beat the one I had heard previously. First AE...I was blown away...Terria couldn't beat it, could it? Well, it did. Then this, could it beat Terria?, not quite, and Infinity didn't beat it either, but both of these albums are so close to perfection (perfection being Terria) it's astonishing. Devin Townsend is one of the musical geniuses of our time, right up with Mikael Akerfeldt, Steve Wilson, Daniel Gildenlow, and Robert Fripp (who still kicks ass).

This album is different from the rest of his though...the wall of sound isn't quite as prominent on this one. Instead, we get some of the goddamn best melodies and songwriting I've ever seen in my life...only a couple songs off AE (Storm, Deadhead, Suicide) beat anything off this album in terms of melody and songwriting. It also is the experience of any of his albums. I mean, Infinity feels like an amazing acid trip, and Terria feels like you're wandering through golden plains of joy and happiness. But this's truly like another world. Songs like The Death of Music, Regulator, Voices in the Fan, Bastard, 3 AM, and Seventh Wave let you drift off into another fascinating world. You feel like you are being guided by a tour person through the world of music. I can't describe it...just like I can't describe what happens when I put in any other of Devy's albums. It's just amazing.

We kick off the album with Seventh Wave, which has a great opening riff. This song just kicks major amounts of ass in all ways. Vocals are only ok by Devin's standards, which are ridiculously high. The next song is Life, which is by far and large the happiest and most infectingly catchy song ever written by Devin. It's got an amazing chorus and great high- spirited singing. I love listening to this song on a bad day, it helps me cheer up. Night is a pretty solid song, but not up to par with the last two songs. I definitely enjoy the song, however, and never skip it.

Hide Nowhere also has an amazing melody throughout it, and this if just a fun song to listen to. Sister is a stranger's very mellow and laid back, but doesn't really go anywhere. That's ok, we needed a break in between the amazingness. 3 AM is a fairly strange one too, mostly a surreal little trip focusing on subtle sounds and samples much like Terria. Voices in the Fan comes back to the way of the first four songs with an infectuous chorus and great riffing throughout. Greetings is an upbeat happy little song that continues in the trend of the other songs on the album. I like it.

Regulator is another crazy good track with some excellent singing by Devy. The chorus is great and has some awesome keyboard works. Plus, I love the yells by Devy in the beginning. Funeral begins the set of longer tracks on the's pretty laid back and relaxing. I like this song because it's just great to zone out to. Bastard is the second long song, and the second longest on the album. It's pretty epic, although it doesn't drastically change throughout. It's just got really good riffing, good drumming, and a solid vocal performance. I guess you could say this is basically a preview of AE.

If I told you a 12 minute song with a fixed electronic drum beat that never changes with little...possibly even NO guitar was an excellent track, would you believe me? Of course not. Yet somehow The Death of Music is one of the best tracks in the album. Just lay down on the bed or at night or something and put this track'll be a crazy trip. This song is also one of Devin's best vocal performances EVER, possibly the best. The song sounds kind of faded, like the music is...well, dying. This track is by far one of the most daring and original tracks I've heard in years.

The final track is Things Beyond Things, and I have little to say besides that it is extremely beautiful and the last...uhmm, 14 seconds are quite interesting.

So that's it. This man...can do no wrong. Every track on here is surreal, every one infectuous, every one with excellent vocal performances and keyboards and samples and trippiness and ambience and guitar work and songwriting and coherence and DAMMIT! This is such a good album...ANOTHER amazing album from Devin Townsend. Please, keep making albums.

In conclusion, the straight forward rockers on this song (well...not straight all, but you know what I mean) are excellent, while the softer stuff, while usually excellent ,sometimes is bad.

Musicianship - 10/10 Originality - 10/10 Lasting Appeal - 9/10 Variety - 8/10 Metal sections - 9/10 Light sections - 7/10 Seventh Wave - 9/10 Life - 10/10 Night - 8/10 Hide Nowhere - 9.5/10 3 A.M. - 6/10 Voices in the Fan - 10/10 Greetings - 8/10 Regulator - 10/10 Funeral - 9/10 Bastard - 9/10 The Death of Music - 10/10 Things Beyond Things - 7/10

Math: 157.5 / 18 = 8.75 = 4.375 = 4.4 Final Score: 4.4/5 Almost a must-have. I perfectly agree with the outcome of my scores, and I did it naturally, so yay.

Review by The Crow
4 stars I think this is a very good poing of entry in the Devin's career for the first listeners... Maybe not his best, but it's a very good example of what he's able to do, and a very accesible work.

In the beginning of the Devin Townsend career, he had very different projects... Strapping Young Lad was not a band yet, but with the outcome of "City" this thing changed. He had just made another side project called Punky Bruster. And Ocean Machine was born not like his solo career, it was bor like another new band, a new project. This band/project was called Ocean Machine, and the album was called "Biomech". His second project was called Infinity, but not with his name. Only "Infinity". But when he signed with Inside Out, he adopted his own name for this two re-released albums: Devin Townsend "Ocean Machine: Biomech", and Devin Townsend "Infinity".

For all taht, I think we can't say that Ocean Machine is the first solo album by Devin Townsend, because before of it came "Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing" by SYL and the project Punky Bruster, two albums that were made almost completely by Devin.

But I think it's the first Devin's album when he started to developing his very own style. Here we can hear a very good advance of the great things to come. Pop- Metal songs with a lot of feeling like Life (with a great chorus), Night (a very catchy song, a little more in the 80's heavy way), Voices in The Fan and Funeral (the best singing of the album, I think). And we also have the strong progressive songs with a lot of capacity to evoke magic and powerful feelings like Seveth Wave (good song for open an album), Hide Nowhere (great vocal choirs, a Devin's trademark), Greetings (I love the guitar opening) and Bastard (the ending is just great). But we also have some examples of the Devin's love to the atmosferic and ambient tracks, but little inmature yet, like Sister (a song with a kind of link with "Terria") and 3AM, two songs that don't do very much for me. Nevertheless, The Death Of Music is just great, with different passages and a incredible vocal work by Devin. Finally, I think that the only "real" metal example of the album is Regulator, a fantastic song with powerful riffing with a little relation with the Strapping Young Lad sound.

So this is a fantastic album, but not a masterpiece in my opinion, because some ideas are still a little inmature, and the production isn't also very good. This album was mastered and completed in Spain, my country. But I think the production is weak sometimes, with a sound not very clear in some passages, and I miss power in the drums and bass too. But at least it's still sounding good and modern today, 9 years after the release of the album.

Conclusion: a fantastic album, very enjoyable by prog lovers, but I think that metal heads will also find very good things here, although nothing in comparision with the Strapping Young Lad's offering or others Devin's solo albums...

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars How? How can one man be so brilliant? This is the question that comes to my mind when I listen to anything spawned by the modern genius that is Devin Townsend. Ocean Machine arrives relatively early in Devin's career; he had only two Strapping Young Lad albums as well as the vicious pop punk satire Cooked on Phonics released under the brilliant name Punky Brüster. He decided to back off the extreme metal and instead focus on a softer sound. He formed a band and released one album: Biomech. The result was stunning.

The album opens with the riff-happy "Seventh Wave" that sets a gentle mood for the album. "Life" comes next and presents us with...pop metal? From SYL frontman Devin Townsend?! Yes, it is pop, but it's pop done perfect, with deep lyrics, catchy melodies, and emotion. "Night" is the first song that really moves the listener, but it certainly won't be the last. "Hide Nowhere" is a highlight of the album, with an excellent melody. It also establishes multi-layered vocals as a standard in Devin's work. "Sister" is a mellow instrumental interlude that sets the standard for instrumentals on later albums. "3 A.M." sounds like the beginnings of Terria with its bizarre sounds. "Greetings" shifts the sound back to atmospheric guitar and brings things back to Earth.

"Regulator" is a nod to the SYL fans that made up a huge portion of this album's audience. It isn't as extreme as SYL, but it's riff heavy and features some great screaming. "Funeral" raises the bar for the already wonderful atmosphere with surprisingly uplifting lyrics and instrumentation. It smoothly flows into "Bastard," which has a killer riff spaced out over a churning tempo in order to fill every crevice of your ears and mind.

Then comes my favorite Devin track. "The Death of Music" is a 12 minute opus consisting of only an electronic drum beat, a near-silent guitar that plays only one or two chords, and simple keyboards that expand to create the bulk of the sound. Devin's vocals here are his best, as he goes from growls to soaring cries effortlessly. The sound gradually fades as the music slowly passes from this world and leaves only contemplation in your mind. "The Death of Music" defies it's name by proving that music is stronger than ever, it's only in hiding. This song is one of the most experimental tracks of the 90s and can rival anything on Mr. Bungle's Disco Volante. "Things Beyond Things" closes the album with a simple riff and wonderful vocals. The last seconds, however, will scare the pants off you (I was told what to expect and I nearly wet myself).

Ocean Machine is a fitting name for this project. The music flows along like water in the sea, occasionally building to crashing waves, then giving back to almost disturbing calm. Devin's production job is amazing; if he never played an instrument, he could still thrive in music as the Phil Spector of metal. He retains all of the sound of SYL but substitutes speed and fury for experimentation and sublime beauty. Devin manages to transcend easy categorization; he seamlessly blends art rock. prog metal, avant-prog, and psychedelic rock into a 74 minute opus that would set the stage for his later triumphs like Terria.While not as stunning as that masterpiece, Biomech is a must own for fans of Devin and it's a wonderful place to start for the uninitiated.

Grade: A-

Review by TRoTZ
4 stars Strapping Young Lad's guitarist leader embarked on a solo career with the enigmatic "Ocean Machine", an album of encompassing, thrilling atmospheres in which pop, metal, progressive metal, trash and nuances of electronic blended together in a very balanced way. This atmosphere somewhat recreated the best from the 80's decade: from the mainstream heavy metal scene to the dark atmospheres of The Cure or the frantic energy of Queen. To his virtuous and somewhat prolific guitar work in the vein of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani, Devin Towsend added his inspired gift for creating remarkable melodies and outstanding choruses, while his dynamic voice and obtuse lyrics gave the album the necessary melodic profoundness.

The album evolutes in a very fluent way, from the compellingly ambiance of the four first tracks, the peace/turbulence of the middle tracks, to end in the dark "Bastard" and the epic "The Death of Music", in which the background simple electronic drum creates a psychic pattern permitting the growth of a crescendo disturbingly intense manifest.

While not making at all a music revolution, Devin Townsend manage to create a unique blend of styles which would create an impressive cult scene among the metal fan base.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Like everything DT has ever worked on, "Ocean Machine" is very good; however, it is undeniably inconsistent when compared to his later releases, lacking a certain power which usually strikes the listener early on even during its first play through. "Ocean Machine" will impress, but not until it takes a while to sink in, and even then it won't make as big an impact as "Terria", "Synchestra", etc. I suppose one could say that it must be taken more as a whole, rather than by specific highlights, but the forward momentum of the album, as well as its lack of energy or dynamism, make it a somewhat bland affair. I recommend this highly to fans who have already discovered DT through his stronger albums though, who will still find a lot to enjoy here.

Songwriting 3 Instrumental Performances 3 Lyrics/Vocals 3 Style/Emotion/Replay 3

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Ocean Machine: Biomech" is the debut full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records in July 1997 (Townsendīs own label). It was originally recorded under the Ocean Machine monicker, but was changed to be released as a Devin Townsend solo album instead (the original Japanese press of the album featured the Ocean Machine band name). Townsend had at this point already made his mark on the music scene, recording and touring with Steve Vai and subsequently touring with The Wildhearts, releasing the first and second Strapping Young Lad albums "Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing (1995)" and "City (1997)", and also releasing an album under the Punky Brüster monicker (which many consider his first solo album).

Anyone familar with the preceding releases by Strapping Young Lad will not be surprised by the layered soundscape on "Ocean Machine: Biomech". Layers upon layers of keyboards/synths and guitars are key elements of Townsendīs sound, and although the overall sound on this first solo album is very different from the sound of the Strapping Young Lad albums which came before, the massive wall of keyboards/synths and guitars are similar on the two projects. Stylistically "Ocean Machine: Biomech" is an ambient, atmospheric, and at times quite melodic type of progressive metal. Itīs often relatively repetitive and slow building, and although some tracks appear a little simple in structure, the many layers of notes and sounds make the compositions sophisticated and quite intriguing. Townsend predominantly sings clean vocals on the album (again an element which is different from the predominantly aggressive screaming/shouting vocals he performs on the Strapping Young Lad albums), although the occasionally more raw sounding scream/vocal part can be heard.

"Ocean Machine: Biomech" is a pretty long album featuring 13 tracks and a total playing time of 73:58 minutes. Townsend had obviously composed material over a longer period of time, which didnīt fit his other projects and now was the time to release it to the world. "Ocean Machine: Biomech" is the kind of album which can be that long and not feel like it though (although a few of the longer tracks towards the end of the album are maybe slightly too long for their own good), as Townsend takes the listener on a dynamic journey with both mellow ambient moments, and the above mentioned louder and heavier wall of sound approach. The two shorter ambient songs "Sister" and "3 A.M." are for example placed strategically well on the album as track number 5 and 6, because after the massive wall of guitars/keyboards, and vocals on the first four tracks of the album, a mellow breather or two are needed. Itīs not in any way a critique of the layered music, but with so many layers and so much going on in the soundscape itīs sometimes a bit difficult not to get lost, which is why the mellow ambient moments are perfect for the dynamics of the album.

The musicianship is on a high level on all posts, but itīs of course Townsendīs vocals and commanding delivery which are the dominant focus. If I have to mention one thing thatīs not fully up to par with the remaining parts of the compositions/performances, it would be the drumming. Itīs not bad quality drumming, but itīs sometimes very basic and a few more interesting rhythm patterns or fills could have made that part of the album a little more rewarding. Something similar can be said about the drum production, which is also what Iīd mention if I have to say something slightly negative about the otherwise pretty impressive production values. A slightly more organic sounding drum production would have made the album a better sounding release.

Upon conclusion "Ocean Machine: Biomech" is in most ways a very impressive debut solo album by Devin Townsend. Although itīs quite melodic and some tracks are relatively hook laden, itīs not an easily accessible release, and itīs the kind of release which deserves a lot of listens before being evaluated. One of the obstacles is of course the long running time of the album, but another is the repetitive ambient nature of some tracks. As a listener you have to adjust to the fact that itīs not a heavy metal album loaded with catchy and powerful guitar riffs, but instead an album focused on creating massive multi-layered atmospheres. Townsend is truly a mastermind musician, and "Ocean Machine: Biomech" is just one of the products of his ultra creative mind, but itīs not the most perfect example. For that some songs drag on a bit too long and feel a little aimless, but itīs a minor issue, considering the generally high quality of the material and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by LiquidEternity
4 stars Devin Townsend has a terrifically solid history of solo albums, and they start with Ocean Machine: Biomech.

Here we find the main man of Strapping Young Lad dropping the explosively and violently angry act and picking up the threads of delicacy and melody. That is not to say, though, that this album doesn't have heavy or angry moments. Rather, this album reaches a wonderful balance, a creative flow that makes sense within itself. Each song fits into the whole, and almost every song stands well on its own (Sister and 3 AM being the exceptions to the latter). The sound on the whole is amazing, though not perfect. It's a nice foretaste of what the Mad Scientist of Metal will end up cooking in his solo works, and all you could want from the man is here.

Devin has an interesting idea of turning heavy riffs into rhythm to mellow music. Some might find that heavy and thick wall of sound to oppress the music, but to me it couldn't be more perfect. The band backing him up this time around is not featuring a drummer who can kick holes in Superman (contrary to his usual), so that lends a much more rock sound than a metal one. The wall of sound sometimes does not require guitars, though, and the point in case of that is the technical album clincher, The Death of Music. It's dense and powerful, built mostly around a simplistic computerized rhythm and lush tidal waves of synthesizers and keyboard.

The most fascinating and entertaining aspect of Devin, however, is his voice. On Strapping Young Lad albums, we find the man screaming and roaring and growling and making whatever else noises that you can call those things. On Ocean Machine, Devin drops the wild metal act almost entirely, depending on his underrated clean voice (one of my favorite voices in almost any genre). He does yell some, such as in Regulator, but it's very melodic. The aforementioned track The Death of Music happens to be built around some of his highest quality vocal parts ever recorded. The man sings like the entire world is dying around him, hurling his voice like a final embrace. The very quality of his performance here seems to make the title a paradox, as he proves that music is indeed not dead, and here's why.

But this album is much stronger than simply single songs. Instead, the flow and steadiness of this album add power to each successive track. Suddenly, the wall of sound is supporting some sort of oniric psychedelia, basing spacey sighs on steel girders. Hard to explain, I do suppose. Let's just say his music is almost entirely unique, his vocal harmonies spot on, and the musicianship just right. It's not perfect, and a few moments drop the ball somewhat. It's hard to hold that view, though, after listening to it, because the final four tracks or so are so expertly produced that it's hard to remember what exactly wasn't as amazing for you in the first place.

If you are a fan of metal looking for something with a bit more musical depth, a fan of lush and full music looking for something a bit heavier, or a fan of a songwriter who likes to stick a lot of personality and creativity into his music, look here. A good place to start with Devin and one of his strongest albums.

Review by Negoba
5 stars Gorgeous, Brilliant, Perfect.....I guess I like it

Devin Townsend is a once in a generation talent and the fact that he's my generation only enhances my love of his work. I'm sure the fact that he grew up with the same backdrop of musical culture contributes to the fact that his music really connects with me. Or perhaps it's just that good. When I put on the earphones and listen to Ocean Machine, I get lost in another world. The beautiful thing is the music is actually uplifting, energizing, and colorful. So much of the post metal scene is cold, depressed, or angry. Though Devy certainly taps on those emotions, his music never seems depressing. It's full of energy, invigorating.

Ocean Machine, I believe, was the first time Devy created the (relatively) softer, multi-layered, semi- ambient sound that now has become his trademark. His modally tuned guitar was already heard on Strapping Young Lad, but the fully range of tone color really wasn't expressed until this project. Townsend worked on this for some time, writing some of the material as far back as his stint with Steve Vai. The result is nearly flawless, and the few tripups are minor at worst (The nasty surprise at the end, the ambient effects being just a little too loud on "Sister", etc.).

The songs flow seamlessly one to another, despite running from aggressive metal to pure ambient keys to near a cappella voice to pop. The pop is usually what loses my interest on Devy albums, but here the instrumentation is so good (like the back beat riff on "Life") that the major melodicism doesn't bother me. The flow and sequencing is phenomenal, the entire album seeming like a continuous experience. The songs are still distinct, with varied feels in the guitar, vocal tonalities, and use of keys.

This has been a review I've put off a long time, because I don't have much to say other than "It's awesome." The later Terria has better production, hit higher highs of brilliance, but doesn't flow as perfectly start to finish. This is the one to lose yourself in, eyes closed, laying back with good headphones. It's just beautiful metal-based art music, a masterpiece.

Review by horsewithteeth11
4 stars Devin Townsend is a musical genius in every sense of the word as far as I'm concerned. I've never heard anyone else in the metal world be able to make music that's so heavy but also so atmospheric. And I also love the spacey effect that he manages to bring in as well. Be it Strapping Young Lad, The Devin Townsend Band, or his solo work, Heavy Devy always brings so much creativity and life into his work. I could probably recommend at least one of his albums to every type of music fan out there. He's really got a wide variety of music out there.

Alright, now that I'm done gushing over him, let's take a look at his first solo album. Townsend released this after the first two Strapping Young Lad albums and the Cooked on Phonics album were already under his belt. The music is very serene and atmospheric, almost like the cover suggests, except with lots of heaviness and crunchy riffs added here and there. Although there is a good mix of songs present on OM - B. On one hand, you have riff-driven songs like the opener, "Seventh Wave", and then the next moment you have the pop-metal (if there was such a term) presented in "Life". Throw in a few epics at the end of the album in "Bastard" and "The Death of Music" and you've got an album that's as experimental as progressive metal and Devy can bring but diversified in style.

There are only two things that keep me from calling this album a masterpiece. The first is that I wish the songs "Sister", "3 A.M.", and "Greetings" hadn't been so close to each other on the album. Each of the 3 songs is short enough that they feel more like long transitions than actual songs to me. The second is that the epics feel like they take too long to build for me, and I think Townsend went on to make better longer songs later in his career. For some reason my mind tends to wander on both the songs sometimes, especially on the intro for "The Death of Music". But all in all, this is a fantastic record by Townsend. Although everything I've heard from him so far sounds amazing to me. 4 stars for a fantastic solo debut. I'd recommend this to those who like their metal to have a lot of personality, depth, and creativity to it. This is a good place to start with the solo career of Devin Townsend.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a difficult album to write about really, I don't have any reference points to offer you either. It starts off with four tracks that are powerful, energetic, melodic and catchy, then we get flooded with samples, atmosphere and emotion the rest of the way. Yes we still get these heavy, powerful tunes but the mood has changed. In fact from that fifth track ("Sister") to the final song "The Death Of Music" it's pretty much perfect. I can't get over the production on this album either and the layers of sound, this is so epic. Many of these tracks seem to blend into one another as well which is cool.

"Seventh Wave" opens with someone quoting a poem then some heavy guitar kicks in which turns even heavier as the sound gets fuller.The tempo picks up up then the vocals join in. Hell yeah ! The tempo continues to shift. Great sound 5 minutes in and I like the atmosphere to end it. Excellent track. "Life" is the only ordinary track on here in my opinion. I know many who list this as their favourite but it's too commercial sounding and upbeat. Still a good song though and I understand how it fits in. "Night" opens with guitar as a full sound kicks in quickly and the tempo picks up. Vocals join in. This rocks out pretty good. "Hide Nowhere" is nice and heavy with a few screams from Devin. "Sister" is interesting as we get this noisy atmosphere with voices and other sounds as Devin comes in barely singing "Sister" as he strums his guitar.Thunder and crickets late. "3 AM" sounds like the start of a FLOYD track with the voices and atmosphere as spoken vocals come in. Emotion. "Voices In The Fan" has a catchy mid paced rhythm as the vocals join in with some passion. This is so good. A calm after 3 minutes then these operatic female and male vocals come in.

"Greetings" is guitar led as vocals join in. It turns more powerful. Nice. These last four tracks are freaking amazing. "Regulator" is heavy duty and vocals come in around a minute. Love how he screams "I'm regulated" again and again.The heaviest track on here. "Funeral" kicks in around a minute and the vocals come in after 2 minutes. I adore this song. Gulp. Nature sounds 6 minutes in as it settles. It turns powerful again. "Bastard" opens with atmosphere and percussion.This is a mechanical beast. Incredible ! "The Death Of Music" is more Electronic than Metal. A beat with atmosphere and sampled voices. Vocals after 2 minutes. Atmosphere and whispered vocals a minute later and they will come and go. So much tension when the vocals return. It's haunting at times as well. This has to be heard to be appreciated. The bonus track "Thing Beyond Things" is a nice addition. A laid back but powerful song.

I have to thank Negoba for convincing me to check this out. I feel like I should have listened more before reviewing this album because the further the album plays out the deeper it gets.Yeah, just like an ocean. 4.5 stars.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars Devin Townsend has gained quite a lot of notoriety, both for his acclaimed solo career and for his work with his extreme metal band, Strapping Young Lad. This, his debut solo effort, was originally released under the name "Ocean Machine", with Biomech being the album name. It has since been integrated into his solo material proper, and now goes by the name "Ocean Machine: Biomech".

I am not very familiar with SYL, although what I heard sounded a bit too extreme for me at the time (which was about six years ago, so that might have changed by now). But the first time I ever heard a song by Devin Townsend, it blew me away so quickly I almost got whiplash. That song was Ants, off of Infinity, which for a long time was the only record by Devin Townsend I had heard.

In fact, I was somewhat afraid to explore his music too much further, afraid that the set of ingredients that made Infinity such a great album would never be duplicated. Eventually I did start collecting more of his music, and Ocean Machine is so far the best thing I have heard by the man since. That being said, it is also a very different beast than Infinity, and it is just as enjoyable as that album.

The music here is a lot more song oriented than Infinity, and the wall of sound that Devin uses in a lot of his work is for the most part missing. And what this reveals is an artist who can be expressive in many different ways, who has incredible song writing skills on top of the fact that he is quite a talented guitarist. In fact, Devin has quite an ear for perfection and recorded this album twice because he was not satisfied with it the first time. As a fan, I must say that it seems to have paid off - the music here sounds great!

It is a somewhat accessible album, with catchy riffs, sing-along choruses, something that must have confused quite a few fans of Strapping Young Lad at the time it was released. Although the metal exists here, it is not particularly extreme.

Devin also puts in an abundance of emotional, particularly towards the last section of the album, from Funeral forward. The Death of the Music is the absolute killer in this aspect (barring the random driving-range-in-the- sky bit at the end). I acquired this album shortly after finding out that Katie, my pet cat's surgery did not take, and that her cancer was likely going to kill her in the very near future. This was at a time in my life where a lot of other things had gone wrong and Katie was one of the few good things in my life that was left. I had lived with her since I was seven and she had been with me for a lot, so you can imagine how much that news effected me. The Death of the Music just seemed to express the way I felt perfectly ... there was a serenity to it but also a fragility and a fear, even a bit of selfishness (because it was evident at that point Katie was suffering, so I knew death would be release for her, it was more for myself that I was sorry she was dying).

"Don't die on me, Don't go away When I need you here In my need"

So simple, so effective, on top of it all this track shows that Devin also has a really good way with words.

Anyways, back to the album, this is definitely one of the better Devin albums I have heard thus far and a recommended addition to any collector of metal music, progressive music, or really rock music in general.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Biomech was originally credited to Ocean Machine, a moniker for Devin Townsend's solo projects before he just applied his own name to them. Whatever name is applied to it, it's an intriguing brand of metal which unlike many prog metal releases focuses not on references to prog bands of the past but rather concentrates on presenting this light, shimmering wall of guitar which reminds me at points of the work of shoegaze bands such as My Bloody Valentine. Personally, I find the album gets a bit wearing after the first few minutes and lacks the variation or wit of later works by Townsend, but it's an interesting enough listen and by no means an embarrassing start to a solo career.
Review by Wicket
3 stars Ok, so perhaps the sound, the quality, the speaking samples, and the artwork are a bit 90's, but still, even on his first album, Devin Townsend loved his reverb.

"Seventh Wave", the album's opener makes that loud and clear after a brief but poetic spoken monologue, and while the track isn't entirely busy or overwhelming like some of his later works, even here DT's composition has led to some memorable and even catchy lyrics, as "Life" is a brilliant example of. Hell, it's probably Townsend's catchiest song ever written.

But even by now, there is a major contrast from his first work and his later ones. 1) It is a bit serious, even though he's capable of being serious or not whenever he feels like it and 2) Although the reverb is present, I don't ever get that complete "Drowned out by an orchestra" feeling. Perhaps it's because of the 90's recording quality? Perhaps, but even though it's a slight niggle on the album itself, it doesn't diminish the compositions at all.

Perhaps the interesting thing, though, is that here on his first serious solo work, all these songs are perhaps his most accessible Townsend has ever made, and will forever be, since people who listen to DT's music now will know of that humorous background, that some people might not even take his music seriously sometimes anymore. I know I don't from time to time.

But because it might have been better to play it safe on his first solo album, all of these songs are happy melodies (charged by reverbed guitars, of course), and while they're very lovely song, great driving songs in fact, there is one flaw. Yes, he uses lots of vocal and speaking samples and recordings and dabbles in other electronic wizardry, but there is one thing that is severely lacking: variety.

Now, of course at this point I'd be a fool to call a Devin Townsend album "predictable", because none of them are, and never will be. However, on certain albums ("Terria", "Accelerated Evolution", "Ghost" come to mind, great as these albums are), the repetition factor can kick in fairly early and almost dull the excitement for the remainder of the album to come. After "Hide Nowhere", the album does take an interesting left turn to the ballad "Sister" as the music slows down and fades into "3 A.M." where even the guitars fade out to just Devin calmly singing over a seascape of noise, synths and samples, right before the album kicks into a happy groove again with "Voices In The Fan".

Even here, though, glimpses of DT's eccentricities shine through, particularly the choral spot at the end of "Fan", and even "Greetings" starts with sch an enthusiasm that very few of Townsend's songs have ever matched, despite its fairly short length. "Regulator" though is unusual, his heaviest song so far on this album, complete with a few screams. It's rather surprising there's any screaming on here at all, really, considering DT is still with Strapping Young Lad at this point, figuring he'd want a change of pace with his musical style, and of course it doesn't take long before "Funeral" sounds like the beginning of a mid 2000's indie rock song. Despite that, though, it's fairly mild compared to the rest of the album's offerings, and takes a break from the traditional synth-overloaded reverb-fest, definitely one of the softer sides of Townsend revealed, and one of my favorites on the disc.

Now we get to the two juggernauts, even though "Funeral", at this point in the album, was already the longest at 8 minutes, "Bastard comes in at a little over 10, almost picking up where "Funeral" left off at the same leisurely drum pace. This track is one of his classic "reverb soundscapes" as I call them. "Accelerated Evolution" has a number of this such as "Deadhead" and "Away": no tempo changes, fairly slow speeds and plenty of reverb, reverb and noise. Not in a deafening way, but in a multi-layered fashion. It's that typical sound he's after, with the reverb leaving echoes behind and creating these ethereal wisps and trails of music and noise behind, laying chords on top of chords and leaving the drums to create a big, full, thick backbone behind these gargantuan monoliths as they trudge along with synths blaring and Townsend's power chords continuing to strum away for another 7 or so minutes.

The longest song, "The Death Of Music", clocking in at over 12 minutes, is also is most experimental of the lot, creating an eerie soundscape of dissonant piano chords behind whispers and sound samples, and the first words he sings still behind this atmosphere almost remind me of Roger Waters behind a trademark Pink Floydian soundscape. Almost. Still, this is by far the most experimental of the albums songs, and it fairly remains static and predictable for the most part, sounding more and more Floyd-like as you near the end, and even the intro strums of "Thing Beyond Things" almost has a Floydian quality to them, as if the band is ready to break out into a 50 minute long jam behind wailing guitar solos and synth-backed soundscapes. Except it's less interesting, as it's basically a ballad.

Still, not bad at all for Townsend's first effort. The latter half of the disc is fairly forgettable, with "Funeral" and maybe "The Death Of Music" being exceptions, while the first is filled with catchy, reverb-tastic power tunes. It may not be entirely sophisticated as his later albums, but for a Townsend fan, it's still going to be an undeniable sound.

Review by FragileKings
3 stars "Ocean Machine: Biomech" was Devin Townsend's first real solo album, even though the band project was initially named Ocean Machine. Prior to that, he had done the Punky Brewster farcical album about a death metal band that turns pop punk and had found some decent degree of success with his extreme metal / industrial metal band Strapping Young Lad. SYL's second album was in response to the Devin's experience with the music industry, or as he might have put it, a big middle finger to the music business. The rage, the frustration, the unbridled and unrestrained angst, not to mention uncensored, ironically made Strapping Young Lad's album "City" a big hit in certain circles and is still considered by many to be the best of the five SYL albums.

Devin Townsend, however, had another side to his music. He was interested in melody, in ambiance, and in music with depth. While writing "City" he also produced several other songs that, although employing heavily distorted guitars and his trademark powerful, ragged edged vocals, was too soft for "City". Some of these songs had actually originated years before when he was still undiscovered by Steve Vai and recording with his Noisescapes project. This other side of Devin came out as the Ocean Machine project, later renamed simply Devin Townsend while the Ocean Machine moniker became part of the album title.

The music on this album gives us a great indication of where Devin's career would go in the future. Sounds and styles from the Devin Townsend Band and the Devin Townsend Project are already apparent here as well as his interest in ambient music. The guitars are richly distorted and layered, there are synthesizers with an atmospheric bend also layered, and Devin's distinct vocals both harsh and soft layered in as well. Music styles range from the melodic industrial metal of "Night" to the radio pop friendly chorus of "Life" (sounds like a potential hit) to the ambient style of "The Death of Music" to the heavy riffing of "Regulator" to the heavy but atmospheric and melodic sounds of "Funeral". There's a wonderful church chorus part, sparse and beautiful, at the end of "Voices in the Fan", too.

While still on the loud and heavy side, "Ocean Machine: Biomech" doesn't hit with the machine gun intensity of Strapping Young Lad's "City" but instead seems very aptly named as the music sometimes feels like the surface of an ocean, fluid and gently shifting with swells of loudness and sound building, rising, cresting, and falling. In "Funeral" we even hear seagulls as if to enhance the oceanic atmosphere of much of the album.

This is not an album of apparent technical virtuosity. There is little if anything that comes across as tight and complex as one finds on albums like "Synchresta" by DTB or "Deconstruction" by DTP. Some parts are heavier and intense, some parts sparse and melodic, but always the undulating waves of a distortion-filled sea are never far away. In a way this sounds like relaxation music for someone who still wants to be loud.

A final observation, "The Death of Music" includes some spoken dialogue in the background in parts that are from a trip Devin made to Japan. We can hear him getting directions from a woman speaking with clear but accented English and Devin responding with , "Thank you very much" and then later hear him describing a driving range on the top of a building or the pedestrian crossing melody for the blind which plays to the tune of "When a Buddy Sees a Buddy Coming through the Rye". As the track fades he comments on a sign for Fukuoka City, reading it as "Fuk U, OK, eh?" A small detail but as I live in Japan, it caught my attention. The album concludes after the slow album closer "Thing Beyond Things" with Devin providing a full on scream as if to remind us that the furious rage of "City" is not far behind it all.

Fans of non-complex ambient metal or melodic industrial metal or even just fans of Devin Townsend will find this a decent album to add to their collections. My personal preference is for some of Devin's later albums, but recently I found that I enjoy this album more than I did a year ago when I first purchased it.

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Report this review (#2670082) | Posted by eduardico21 | Saturday, January 8, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ocean Machine: Biomech is the first solo release by prog metal wizard Devin Townsend (the second if you consider Punky Br'ster's 1996 album Cooked on Phonics to be the first official release in Devin Townsend's solo career, as some do). Curiously, Ocean Machine: Biomech was not released under Townse ... (read more)

Report this review (#2584408) | Posted by lukretio | Sunday, August 8, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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 back ... (read more)

Report this review (#2042957) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, October 11, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Devin Townsend's own counterpoint to his ferocious, metal-burlesque "City" record with Strapping Young Lad, "Ocean Machine," originally conceived as a band called Ocean Machines, morphed into what became Townsend's first definitive solo effort. It's true that Strapping Young Lad's "Heavy as a Re ... (read more)

Report this review (#1372145) | Posted by HunterD | Monday, February 23, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ocean machine is combination of hard rock, ambient, progressive and alternative sounds released under the moniker Biomech by Devin Townsend. Ocean machine is a very good album from start to finish.Devin's style of combining rock/metal with multilayered sound palletes for ambient noises is done w ... (read more)

Report this review (#1291724) | Posted by siegese7en | Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Besides a few songs from Terria, Ocean Machine was my first endeavor into the Bizarre World of Devin Townsend. This holds no bias though, as I honestly believe this debut is a masterpiece. I hold it higher than Terria, even. Recently, (a year back) I've become obsessed with the Mad Scientist of Meta ... (read more)

Report this review (#1175239) | Posted by Raccoon | Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now for a slight history lesson. After the major success Devin had with Strapping Young Lad, releasing "City", which even to this day, is still considered one of the greatest metal albums ever made. Because Strapping Young Lad was pretty much a joke band and really wasn't what Devin wanted mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#1028985) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 10/10 Ladies and gentlemen, meet Frank Zappa of metal. Devin Townsend is a genius. A genius! I think I have not gotten over the shock of hearing this album called Ocean Machine: Biomech, and I think he is the best thing I've heard in recent times, along with the debut of Hemin. Throughout ... (read more)

Report this review (#773440) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, June 18, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! (the scream at the end) What? We can't all quote something poetic and befitting the album in question, can we? what about an instrumental album, would you quote guitar tabs? I thought not. This album is the first solo release from Devin Townsend. It is a very ocean feel ... (read more)

Report this review (#212251) | Posted by Alitare | Friday, April 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Wonderful in its own way, this is only the start for Townsend. Seventh wave, Hide nowhere, and Regulator all show the promise that he was later to fulfil, but this album is weakened by the last three songs being overlong, taking up twenty minutes of the album without accomplishing too much. Not ... (read more)

Report this review (#155700) | Posted by La fraisne | Monday, December 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Devin's first album hasn't received nearly the kind of play on this forum that it probably deserves. In my opinion, OCEAN MACHINE - BIOMECH is a sneaky and overlooked gem. Sure, it doesn't boast the type of full-on grandeur of SYNCHESTRA or the beautiful coherence of TERRIA, but this album is ... (read more)

Report this review (#131949) | Posted by The Progmatist | Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Devin Townsend has made a name for himself through various projects, from his role as vocalist with guitar virtuoso Steve Vai to the scathing intensity of his most well known Strapping Young Lad project, as well as his solo experiments such as Infinity and Physicist. Ocean Machine is yet anoth ... (read more)

Report this review (#86109) | Posted by bleak | Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What an excelent album. I dont know where i heard of townsend, probably this site, but i downloaded the preview songs Hide nowhere and War anyway. Blown away. kinda. it took a while for it to sink in and when it finaly did, those 2 songs topped my playlist. so , where carrowsing borders i noti ... (read more)

Report this review (#56475) | Posted by Mikeypoo | Tuesday, November 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Out of the quetion that this is a great album, but as many debuts it suffers of slight defects and some compositions are a little bit ingenuous (Life, Night). Anyway HevyDevy Townsend gives us also some examples of brilliant genius (Funeral, Bastard). For everyone that have never listen to a D ... (read more)

Report this review (#18023) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this album takes me somewhere, that is what a good album should do. it took me a while to see the brilliance behind this music - but honestly, it is more than just music. it is a feeling, a journey, another world. it is whatever you make it really. Devin truly has hit home with me here. The o ... (read more)

Report this review (#18021) | Posted by | Tuesday, March 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Devin Townsend. A true "misfit" in the realm of progressive metal (and I doubt it was ever his aim to be lumped into the genre, either). Many seem to dislike his inclusion for the lack of technically appeasing guitar solos or any intricate instrumental work, in my opinion he very much creates ... (read more)

Report this review (#18019) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The name speaks for itself. Yes, Devin Townsend's Ocean Machine explains what the album is. For a debut solo album, this release has the "maturity" of an album. The songs are great. The music is excellent. The compositions are perfect. It combines the high energy of metal and the psychedelic a ... (read more)

Report this review (#18018) | Posted by | Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Due to the warning message that comes out when you select the five stars rate...I tought..."Is this really a masterpiece...?"...and the answer is: It cant be any other way!! Youīll now it qhen you hear this...theres nothing like it. Its extremely genius. Devin Townsend blew me away with the ult ... (read more)

Report this review (#18016) | Posted by Chewy | Monday, June 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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