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Devin Townsend

Experimental/Post Metal

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Devin Townsend The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution album cover
3.88 | 283 ratings | 22 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Depth Charge (6:04)
2. Storm (4:38)
3. Random Analysis (5:59)
4. Deadhead (8:05)
5. Suicide (6:45)
6. Traveller (4:12)
7. Away (7:49)
8. Sunday Afternoon (6:20)
9. Slow Me Down (4:35)

Total Time: 52:57

Bonus EP from 2003 IOM Sp. Edition - Project EKO:
1. Locate (7:00)
2. Echo (5:28)
3. Assignable (5:20)

Total Time 17:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Devin Townsend / lead & backing vocals, guitar, producer
- Brian Waddell / guitar
- Dave Young / keyboards
- Mike Young / bass
- Ryan van Poederooyen / drums

- Carla Levis / backing vocals
- Chris Valagao / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Omer Cordell (photo)

CD Hevydevy Records ‎- HDRDT10 (2003, Canada)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- 0502412 (2010, Europe)
CD+EP Inside Out Music - IOMSECD 120 (2003, Germany) Bonus EP "Project EKO" w/ 3 tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy DEVIN TOWNSEND The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution Music

DEVIN TOWNSEND The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution ratings distribution

(283 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DEVIN TOWNSEND The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
4 stars I have many thoughts about the new Devin Townsend Band CD Accelerated Evolution. My first impression was "Why does this guy have to scream instead of sing?" Well, I had to be patient and let this CD play out. I found out that he does his share of both actually, and at times reminded me of Alice Cooper. Townsend has a great voice and I think if he exercised a little more restraint he would master his capabilities as a singer.

He proves to be nothing short of splendid towards the end of the album on "Away," "Sunday Afternoon," and "Slow Me Down." All three songs have their lighter moments and periods of pop lushness if you will. Do not be dismayed at the reference to pop or lushness, for the most part this is anything but. Those three particular songs happen to highlight the many abilities of this talented group of men. The lion's share of this recording is straight ahead head slammin' rock and prog-metal. With tracks like "Depth Charge," "Storm," and "Suicide," you certainly do not conjure up images of a lovely walk along the beach while plucking petals from a rose. This CD is all about high-energy music that keeps you buzzing for a long time.

Devin Townsend is the master of his universe and he is in some fine company in that realm. Brian Waddell (guitar, arranger), Ryan Vanpoederooven (drums arranger), Dave Young (keyboards, arranger) and Mike Young (bass, arranger) form a unified and lethal unit around Townsend's earth shattering vocal style. The one thing that struck me with accuracy right between the eyes was the consistency of this album. Everything about it is good . the musicianship, production, sound and engineering. Yes, this is an all-star cast performing on an unforgettable session and anyone that digs rock, metal, or progressive music, will surely agree once they hear this CD.

Review by Vanwarp
3 stars Some view Devin Townsend as a musical genius who constantly churns out one original album after another. His work is always inspiring musically and he always manages to impress many in the metal community with his originality, while others think that he is nothing more than a raging lunatic as observed in his introspective tortured lyrics. Irregardless of where you stand, there is no denying that he is one of the most prolific and creative musical genius in the music business today. You disagree? Regardless of his apparent confused scattered mind, inn my view, Devin Townsend only looks that way but he's actually one very intelligent and talented dude!

Frustrated by the limitations of being signed to a label and following his heart and desire to experiment musically, in 1997 Townsend decided it was time to start his own label which he named: HevyDevy Records.

Devin Townsend is now known around the world as a first class Producer/Engineer. In addition to producing his own albums (5 so far) and other side projects such as his extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad (4 CD's), Townsend also produced albums by Soilwork (Natural Born Chaos), December (The Lament Configuration), Lamb Of God (As The Palaces Burn), Stuck Mojo (Pigwalk) as well as many other up and coming acts. He manages his own record label, writes his own music, books and video games and, he used to play most of the instruments on his earlier albums, what else do you want from a 30 year old? Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that Townsend is Canadian and that he started out as a 19 year old performing vocals and guitar alongside Steve Vai! Yes, you'll also find Devin's work on Vai's Sex and Religion...

Anyway, lets get to the subject at hand, what makes Accelerated Evolution sound even more surprising is the fact that it was recorded at the same time as Strapping Young Lad's SYL which was released only a few short months before it. These are two very different sounding albums, not the same kind of music at all, recorded practically simultaneously! I don't know how he did it? Progressive Hard Rocker by day and extreme metal headbanger by night? The ability to switch hats in an instant between producing/singing/songwriting, not to mention the fact that he is an extraordinary guitarist only demonstrates the man's huge talent. Producer/singer/guitarist Devin Townsend's Accelerated Evolution is an alternative- progressive-hard rock disc that successfully blends influences found in different decades, the sort of things you find on albums from the 70's, 80's, 90's and in the new Millenium. This album is one of Townsend's more lightweight and moody releases especially when comparing it to his other side project Strapping Young Lad. With a solid rhythm section and keyboards that only enhances the musical experience, The Devin Townsend Band can do no wrong on their debut album Accelerated Evolution. Throughout the album Townsend sings with a clean voice and occasionally screams like the kind of things we find on the more angry p*ssed-off albums of late...Ill Nino/Spineshank/Avenged Sevenfold all come to mind. Anyway, I think you got the idea.

Both "Depth Charge" and "Random Analysis" are dark, melodic heavy rock numbers. "Depth Charge" continues to grow on me with each new listen.

You want to know why Devin is so respected in the metal community? Well, check out his impeccable guitar work on both "Suicide" and the instrumental "Away"! Awesome musical moments, period.

Devin also has an extraordinary voice as demonstrated on tracks "Storm", "Deadhead" and "Sunday Afternoon" where he comes off sounding like U2's Bono, although Townsend adds a little more attitude to his own performances.

"Traveller" reminded me of Rush of all bands, while the closing track "Slow Me Down" should have been the first single released from the album. But, Devin is not one to follow trends or who needs a hit single. This does not seem to be his goal at all. He is content just doing his thing, whatever that musical thing is at the moment.

This album requires time to absorb all the intricate complex details found therein. Give it a few spins and the rewards will be huge. On my first spin I was thinking this is similar in a weird way to a more progressive beefed up U2 or Bob Catley sound. Then the album started to open up to me and I found myself enjoying it more and more, better than anything by U2 or Bob Catley anyway! But, I don't think that this is essential material to any prog music collection.

Review by FishyMonkey
4 stars It hurts me to give this 4/5, it really does. Devin Townsend is easily one of my favorite artists of all time; I love his work in SYL for his metal insanity, and his solo work besides Physicist is absolutely divine. Yes, this is divine moments. Yet, the parts that aren't divine are a little...shockingly enough for Devin....formulaic! That was one of the biggest surprises for me -- Devin's stuff is NEVER formulaic! EVER! That's part of why I love him...I never know what to expect. Who else says **** off in the middle of a ballad just like he's saying I love you, or does a guitarless track with just an electronic drum track looping with samples and keys fading back and forth in and out and somehow still makes it amazing? That's original and cool. Yet this album, it's not up to the standards of his other albums. I like it more than Physicist, yes, but a lot less than his other stuff.

Trust me, if this was anyone else other than Devy, this would easily get a 4/5. It's all good fairly straightforward heavy rock with an excellent vocalist. The drums are ok, as are the guitars. Everything is very catchy and very well-writtin. So...4/5? No, because this is Devin Townsend. Terria is divine, Infinity is the definition of off-the- wall erratic beauty, and Ocean Machine is what this album should have been, if anything.

The album is very straight-forward, but well-executed. Each track has a nice edge to it that makes go, "...yea!", and Devy's vocals just kick ass. The backing keys are good, obviously, and the producing is phenomenal. How about the tracks? Well, they're all very good, and that's the problem because 1 of them is excellent, and the rest are all sorta the same excellent song rehashed over and over again. The only exception is Deadhead which is so phenomenal because of Devy's vocal work, I just can't lump it in with the rest. Away is different too, more of a Vai song. The rest... similar. Let's see.

Depth Charge has some kickass riffs that get you interested right away -- already I can tell this is gonna be a fun album, I'm just hoping it's not repetitive. But this song kicks all sorts of ass, man! Devy sounds great, the guitars are badass yet not really heavy...just badass. Killer riffs without being heavy. Well done. Drums are good... nothing special, the newcomer does a good job, although he's no Gene Hoglan. He's got some nice double bass pedal fills though. Wee! Nice song!

Storm is next. I start thinking, well this kicks ass too! The vocals are even better, and the riffs aren't as good, but who cares?! It's still pretty sweet! Let's vary it up next Random Analysis comes along. This sounds a bit too much like the last two songs...good vocals again and nice guitar riffs, but nothing is different.

Then Deadhead's opening riff hits you, and right away you know this is different. This is happy heavy rock like the last three tracks. This one's different. It's really not different in composition or sound, just in tone. It's dark, and much more emotional. And when Devy starts singing, you just go...holy crap. When he goes high that really got my eyes open. Interlude in the middle, then more pseudo screaming/really emotional high pitched singing from Devy. Talk about emotional. That was an amazing song. It still is one of my favorite Devin Townsend songs, and that's saying something.

Suicide...sounds like a less inspired Deadhead. And that's exactly what it is. Kinda just another rehash, although definitely one of the stronger tracks.I lied in my initial review, it's definitely stuck with me. Next is Traveler. Hold on, another happy heavy rock song with same structure and more great singing? It was good the first couple times, and it's well-executed, but come on, Devy! You're more creative than this! Away comes on, and I listen...and listen...and listen, and nothing is happening! What's up?! It's just a Vai guitar song.

Next, Sunday Afternoon and Slow Me Down. More infectious happiness and some emotion and good songwriting and good singing and good riffs. More of the same. It's a good formula, but it's getting stale. And this is DEVIN TOWNSEND, not Kamelot! Kamelot doesn't have one of the best artists and a modern eccentric genius in them, DTB does! It shouldn't be like this. However, it's good neoug hfor me to give a solid 4/5 for perfect execution and excellent vocals

So I walked out with Deadhead, Traveler and Depth Charge stuck in my head. After two or three months, I still play through it, but really only a couple songs, like Depth Charge, Deadhead, Slow Me Down, Traveller, and Suicide. The rest of the album, good, but nothing amazing. Still good enough to get a 4/5. As I said though, it hurts me to give it a 4/5,'s Devin Townsend. I dunno.

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars 2003 was a good year for Devy fans. First, they got Strapping Young Lad's eponymous 3rd album, then Devin forms DTB and releases this killer disc. Accelerated Evolution is what you'd expect from Devin: soft, ethereal beauty mixed with crushing force and deep yet somewhat non-sequitor lyrics. Devin hired musicians he never worked with in an attempt to forge something truly separate from his SYl and early solo albums. Ironically, this album is his most formulaic.

The album opens with the bruising "Depth Charge." A killer riff and Devin's wall of sound production immedaitely grab your attention. Ryan Vanpoederooven has the unenviable task of filling in for Gene Hoglan, but his fills propel the song as much as Devin's riffs. "Storm" eases off the throttle and lets the softer aspect of Devin's incredible voice shine. The lyrics have all the rage of Depth Charge but they are delivered in a more haunting manner. "Random Analysis" has some great lyrics and sounds a bit like a combination of the fist two songs with it's alternate heaviness/dark ambience.

"Deadhead" shows off the emotion Devin can bring to his music when he tries. This is what Opeth might sound like if Devin was a guest muso. "Suicide" continues in the dark vein with some depressing lyrics that give way to a killer and all-too-rare guitar solo that demonstrates just how skilled Devin is at wringing emotion from his guitar. "Traveller" sounds too much like the first section of the album and it fails to grab me like the other songs. "Away" is a fantastic instrumental that further shows what a great guitarist the normally riff-happy Devin is. "Sunday Afternoon" and "Slow Me Down" close the album sounding too much like the first three songs. They are good tunes, but they lack the creative spark that draws myself and so many others to Devin.

Any fan of prog metal (or heavy metal in general) should check out anything with Devin's name on it, and AE is a very enjoyable listen. However, it doesn't keep you guessing like other Devin releases.

Grade: B

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars Positively intense and powerful music showing off DT's aggressive guitar, skills at production and mixing, and perhaps his most up- front vocal performance ever. Despite the overall excellent sound of the album, it lacks the unpredictability in songwriting of Devin's most popular releases, which might make it come across as deceptively simple; after all, there are some big hooks and sing-along melodies throughout this album-- which may actually make it the most accessible offering in DT's entire library. However, after a few careful listens it will be evident to fans that "Accelerated Evolution" has Townsend's mighty signature all over it, and there isn't anything simple going on here (scream along if you can!). I highly recommend "Accelerated Evolution" to those interested in exploring Devin Townsend's music for the first time-- it is easy to listen to and will more than likely hook you to this very talented musician's unique sound.

Songwriting 4 Instrumental Performances 4 Lyrics/Vocals 4 Style/Emotion/Replay 5

Review by The Crow
4 stars The album that came after the wonderful "Terria"... And the first that Devin made under the name of The Devin Townsend Band. Ok...

The incredible levels of "Terria" were difficult to reach again... And this album doesn't make it, well. But it's still a great work, and a really interesting one, like every album this man makes... The style is also different than "Terria" or even the later "Synchestra". This is not a surprise... We are talking about one of the most prolific and unpredictable minds in metal!

"Accelerated Evolution" is more metallic than "Terria", more guitar and riff oriented... The usual layers of keyborads are here, giving the songs the typical panoramic feeling, the famous wall of sound that is the trademark of Devin Townsend, and the production is just brilliant. Everything sounds really cool and clear... But this album has not the ultra fast speed of "Physicist". The mid-tempo is the predominant note here... This album is not as variated as "Ocean Machine" or "Synchestra", and is not so full of details like "Terria". The orientation of the album is clear... It moves between dark mid-tempos and some pop-metal and commercial songs. Because this, the mood of the album is always changing between the dark and melancholic feelings (Depth Charge, Suicide, Deadhead, Away...) and the happyness and good vibrations (Storm, Traveller, Sunday Afternoon, Slow me Down...)

This fact make the album really easy and pleasant to listen... Because its constant changing of feelings, although the style of the album is clear and not too diverse. It's like a two faced album... And fact I wish to talk about are the lyrics... They are not so crazy here, not so bizarre as usual. The Devin Townsend's writing here is understandable, and the histories and feelings of the lyrics are easy to catch... This is strange talking about Devin. But that is not bad... Only different. Some lyrics talk about love, about girls and Tracy, his wife... The usual dark feelings are here, but the sentimental side of Devin appears clearly... Sunday Afternoon is an example. Different... But I find it allright, because although the music is not as touching as "Terria", the lyrics are.

Best songs: in my opinion, the whole album is good... But if I have to choose, I would say that Depth Charge (a really good opening), Storm (commercial, but catching...), Random Analyisis (I love the instrumental section in the middle...), Deadhead (one of the highlight of the album...), Suicide (dark and mind blowing track, in the style of some tracks of "Synchestra" like Pixillate), Away (incredible guitar playing here!) and Traveller (sorry, I love this Rush's style song...) are the best songs of the album. Ok, Sunday Afternoon is also a good track, with another splendid and touching guitar solo... And Slow me Down is a happy ending wich leaves you praying for more... Sorry, I mentioned every track!

Conclusion: not as outstanding like "Terria" or "Synchestra", "Accelerated Evolution" is still a very interesting album... Sometimes great. Maybe the most commercial album Devin has ever made, but it doesn't means is not good, and this fact makes this album special in the career of Devin, and easy to listen to. I think "Accelerated Evolution" is the perfect album to introduce the music of Devin to someone who has not listened his work yet... Because this album is not so complex and hard to listen as usual when we talk about this man. And it doesn't means bad... Only different. And of course, after all, this is a progressive metal album, and every prog-mind wich loves metal will find an excellent album here, sometimes complex and full of details.

My rating: ****

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars This is about middle of the line Devin Townsend.

It's really good. Don't get me wrong. But it doesn't feature as much of the crazy genius that can be found in Terria, Ocean Machine: Biomech, Infinity, or Synchestra. Instead, as is reflected in the band's name (The Devin Townsend Band), here, Devin Townsend sets out to try to make a band-oriented album. And it definitely works. People who often can't swallow the intense depth of a lot of his solo stuff can still really appreciate this one, as it does sound like a band. This sound is improved upon and built up for Synchestra, but more of that later on Synchestra's actual page.

For the most part, too, this album is pretty mellow. There's some screaming going on, most notably in Deadhead, but none of it is really Strapping Young Lad extreme metal kind of screaming. Rather, we see Devin playing with gentle vocal harmonies like on Sunday Afternoon. Slow Me Down is very nearly a pop-rock love song, something mostly unheard of with Hevy Devy. Pretty much, except for Deadhead and Away, the songs are all pretty singles-esque, all are basically stand alone tracks that can be taken at face value or at their place in the album. The atmospheric backings and leadings that are present on so much of Devin's stuff are not gone, but they are not nearly so prominent or powerful here. That is, except on Deadhead and Away. Deadhead is a gentle (mostly) song with a few bits of highly emotive screaming, and Away is a song in the vein of Deep Peace off Terria.

This is an overall less exciting and less amazing album than he's done elsewhere, but that doesn't make it bad. Fans of Dream Theater and other progressive metal bands would probably find this his most accessible. Heck, fans of metal or rock in general would probably find this his most accessible, too. So, in short, it's an easily digested album with a lot of good melodies and quality hooks, but it's not quite as creative and insane as Devin's stronger albums are.

Review by horsewithteeth11
3 stars This is the first album by The Devin Townsend Band, but it is listed on PA under Devin Townsend, which is understandable.

After the quite successful Terria, Devin decided to form a more permanent band that he could tour with, thus came The Devin Townsend Band. This is their first effort, and while Accelerated Evolution is a worthwhile release for fans of Devy's work, it's not all it's cracked up to be. The usual mix of heaviness with Walls of Sound production is here, but two things make this album different. The first is that Devin employs what I think is some of the most versatile vocal work he's ever put to tape at this point in his career. You can just hear the power, emotion, and versatility ooze out of songs like Depth Charge and (especially) Deadhead. In fact, Deadhead may be his best track to date vocal-wise. He really employs his clean vocals and stretches them to places he normally doesn't go, and it's neat to hear such a versatile vocalist try something new.

The second noticeable difference about this album is that the songs are quite accessible for Devy's terms. This should not be read as that the songs are mainstream or radio-worthy, however. I don't really think any of Devin's work qualifies as material that could be played on an FM radio station anyway, but it's certainly much catchier with many more hooks and a bit less on the growling vocals. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Devin has included some more accessible songs on previous albums. This album however is filled with all accessible songs, and would be something newbies to Devin Townsend should consider getting.

My main complaint is that the accessibility doesn't work that well and that the second half of the album is weaker than the first. Don't get me wrong; the first 5 songs are fantastic Devin Townsend material. The last 4 songs however are all the most accessible and unfortunately they sound quite samey to my ears. There just isn't enough variety to my ears to make it that enjoyable. Because of such an unpleasant aspect though, I can't find a reason to give this more than 3 stars. It might be a good start for those new to Devy's work, but only anyone who's a hardcore fan of him like me will probably find more enjoyment than I do.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Prototypical Hevy Devy - Bang Thy Head!!!

Devin Townsend has always been a man of many personalities on the surface. His first solo project, Strapping Young Lad, recorded some of the heaviest music ever made. After SYL developed into a band proper, he began recording new solo projects under various monikers with the common factor being that all were at least somewhat "softer" than SYL. About midway through the Devy discography you will find the disc ACCELERATED EVOLUTION under the moniker Devin Townsend Band. This is the first disc after the astronomical TERRIA, and many criticize AE for being a little too safe. All agree, however, that AE is one of Devy's heaviest discs outside of SYL, and in this I think it best represents Devin as an artist. It's not trying to be the heaviest, nastiest piece of sonic work ever (the modus operandi of SYL) or trying to be mature (which is fuelling much of the new DT Project). It's just a balanced slice of Devy music. That is, it contains plenty of Devy's overwhelming intensity, but also the shear beauty that I love him for. This is the magic of OCEAN MACHINE made several notches heavier. This is some of the best of Devin Townsend.

Some of Devy's best songs ever are on ACCELERATED EVOLUTION. "Depth Charge," "Storm," "Deadhead," and "Suicide" are simply magical, and very different looks at the Devy sound. "Depth Charge" is an energetic rocker that announces from the beginning that this is a record of heavy guitars and plenty of angst. "Storm" is simply the best Devy "ballad" in the catalog. "Suicide" is a multi-part mood piece that plumbs the depths of Devy's mental illness as directly as any song he's written, an honest and look at the price that the muse has taken on the man. In fact, the entire first of the album (5 songs) are all almost perfect. Though the second "side" is much slower and spacy, there are still great sounds to take in. "Away" is an ethereal piece of metal where we hear DT's singular guitar work simply sing. No where else does tapping sound like the music of heaven except in Devy's hands. "Slow Me Down" is a nice piece of metal-pop that brings the album to a nice close.

I concede that Devy doesn't create any new sounds on ACCELERATED EVOLUTION. We've heard the building blocks of his music before, there aren't any huge surprises. He's not pulling Anneke out of his back pocket or some insane line like "Eat Your Beets." (He does get in the great "I'm not insane, I'm just smarter than you.") The heaviness inspires head- banging groove, not grinding your forehead into broken glass. (Yes I'm afraid that's what some SYL fans want). Some of the later songs are a little long and can drift into the background rather than grabbing hold of your attention. But despite all that, these songs overwhelm me with their beauty time after time, they fill me with energy, they inspire me to want to go play my own guitar and do my own music.

The short version: Typical Devin Townsend wall of sound, a bit heavier than most of his solo albums, sublime songwriting.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An energetic album that delivers as one of the heaviest Devin projects.

Accelerated Evolution is a loud heavy work from the great mad scientist of metal, Devin Townsend and it is a terrific follow up to the excellent Terria. This is rather a solid head banging album but not up to masterpiece standard after listening to some of Devin's greater albums such as Terria that have more experimentaion and creative madness. As a follow up to this fabulous work, I was disappointed that Devin was just trying to emulate previous sounds and concepts, but not developing these further. This album is a step backwards from Terria. However, the great thing about this album is it is full of energy and dynamic metal riffs. Admittedly everything is Devin-perfect, the instruments, the lyrics, and Devin simply rips out his pharynx on vocals. There are rehashed ideas but it delivers with some exceptional killer tracks.

The opening track is a scare your neighbours brutal loud crashing cacophony of mayhem, and I love it! Depth Charge is a missile shooting through the ocean to destroy all enemies, and the song is likewise destroying all unbelievers; Devin is not going to go away anytime soon. The track Storm follows and once again is a very well structured assault on the senses. The death metal growls are brutal, aggressive and sinister but after a while I longed for his clearer vocals which sound excellent on other albums. Thankfully Devin settles in this song and some beautiful vocals are heard alongside the screaming. Anger is a choice and Devin gives it a voice but too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. I love the fact that Devin can really filter his albums with melancholia moments and gentle breezes amidst the blistering hurricanes.

The best thing about the album are the metal riffs which are terrific, and lock on brilliantly to a drum sig and heavy bass. For a great example look no further than Deadhead, with a killer riff and awesome melodies with Devin's growling rage. The sound is comparable to Devin's heavier works, such as with Strapping Young Lad. Deadhead is very popular and goes down in the annals of Devin's history as one of his greatest triumphs. The crunching monster riffs on this are astonishing and I could play this over and over and still be blown away by it's sheer power.

Away showcases the experimental nature of the man and features an incredible guitar solo, indeed it is really a vehicle for Devin to shine on lead axe and shine he does! It is a stunning lead guitar solo and the melody is as infectious as anything I have heard from Devin. The album ends as it begun; loud. Overall it is a noisy album without the subtle textures of Terria, and lacking the endearing conceptual ideas of Synchestra or the wild experimentation of Ziltoid to come. I can still recommend this for those who love their music heavy and aggressive. The passion is exceptional on this, the instrumental prowess is admirable and Devin injects everything into this project with no holds barred ferocity.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Strange, it seems only like last issue that I was reviewing the new album by Devin Townsend. Ah, but that was Strapping Young Lad, and now we have here The Devin Townsend Band which contains different musicians and is a totally different outfit and album, but it has to be said that there are striking similarities. The main one of these is the Wall Of Sound approach to production which gives all of Devin's albums a distinctive and similar style, but while 'Accelerated Evolution' is obviously a Devin album, it is quite different to SYL. The latter is very much a heavy rock band, while TDTB although never far from the rock feel contains much more space in the music and manage to lose some of the intensity.

"Deadhead" is almost dreamy in it's style, with long held-down keyboard chords and the music and vocals swirling in the mix. But there are times on the album, where the production is deliberately clear and Devin's vocals are warm and untreated. That the man is a genius there is no doubt, and there seems to be no end to his abilities to take music and reinvent the style and format so that while appealing to many still sounds nothing like anyone else. He has announced a tour where both SYL and TDTB will be playing and that should be some show.

Yet again Devin has come up with a winner and for those who can't yet quite face the intensity of Strapping Young Lad or some of Devin's earlier albums then reach for this which probably has more immediacy of any of his so far. Of course, it still has to be played loud?.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

Review by Wicket
5 stars I have a feeling that amongst Townsend fans, each listener would either prefer "Terria' or "Accelerated Evolution", one or the other, because although both share in their colossal amounts of reverb, both albums are structure very differently.

"Terria" is vast, grandiose, quick moments of bombast interspersed with vast wastelands of atmosphere and synth overlays. "Accelerated Evolution" is more concise, taking that same bombast and open space and constricting it betwixt catchy verses and choruses.

I'm not saying "Terria" is minimalist by any stretch, but I find myself listening to "AE" much more often than the former. "Depth Bomb" is a perfect example. Right away, it's loud, it's fast paced, it's catchy, and it can easily make its way onto your daily workout playlist. "Storm" takes that same energy and slows down the speed almost into a waltz like feel, with Townsend's falsetto's and screams soaring above huge synths and pounding drums.

And that to me is my only little niggle with "Terria". On songs like "Mountain" and "Earth Day", the action happened immediately for a brief couple minutes or so, then faded away into the musical equivalent of a prairie. "Deadhead" for example starts off the exact opposite way. The lone reverbed guitar builds the tension to the point when the drums come in, it creates a musical effect akin to the scene of an arriving war machine, or something out of Star Wars with the Star Destroyer hovering into view. And through that effect, my attention is still maintained, because even though it is a fairly minimalist song, you know what you're getting for the next 8 minutes: reverb, falsetto, loud synths. This main theme continues for 4 minutes before the drums fade out, then the guitars introduce a B theme for a couple minutes, and then drums segue back to the A theme and closes the song out with the verse Townsend sings in the beginning.

And that's kinda of the thing with "Deadhead" and "Awake". They're both structured the same way, so when you listen to them, they become predictable, and thus, more enjoyable (if there was an oxymoron). But I do find myself listening to these songs while I'm driving, which I can't say for any songs off of "Terria" (yet, I'm still working on that).

This album is essentially the best combination of the catchy songs of "Biomech", with the massive reverb of "Infinity" and the colossal space and air of "Terria", all in digestible chunks. It's the best of all worlds. "Suicide" is a bare-knuckled brawler, filled with a haunting dissonant theme humming through the echoing air, while "Traveller", "Sunday Afternoon" and "Slow Me Down" are essentially the equivalent of pop-rock songs with so much more heart and texture than anything else. Basically, these are songs that make you feel like a badass when you drive along listening to them.

The way I look at DT albums, I look at them like progressions, like you can imagine Townsend finishing "Terria", releasing it, then looking back on it saying "Ya know, that was pretty good, but I think I can do better." And thus "Accelerated Evolution" was born. And honestly, I thank you for making that decision, good sir. It's just such a happy album, a musical experience that just bathes you in reverb and sound and good vibes. One of my all time favorites.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Accelerated Evolution was the first album that was released by The Devin Townsend Band. Previous albums by Devin were named as solo albums. This album was recorded at the same time as the Strapping Young Lad album (Another Devin Project of extreme metal) of the same year. AE was supposed to be the polar opposite of the SYL album. Even though this album is more listener friendly than the SYL album and most of DT's other albums, it still has plenty of explosive riffs and emotional sound. You still have Devin's Wall of Sound made with multi-layered guitars and keyboards. However, you can still notice a difference in the intensity here. There is also a lot less use of progressive elements in order to make the music more accessible. Devin does this well without compromising his signature sound too much. DT was praised by the critics in that he was able to do this so well.

Even with things a little more listener friendly, there is still plenty to love on this album and it is still a worthwhile addition to DT's discography. Devin still has an extreme amount of passion in his voice, which I love. Many people think this is screaming, but there is a difference here because you can hear Devin's passion in his music, and it moves me every time. I typically don't like screaming or growling vocals, but I love the sound that Devin gets from his voice, and like I said, it resemble passion more that just mere yelling and screaming, plus there is a lot of musicality when he reaches his extremes of his voice. Don't worry though if this scares you a bit, there is a lot more clean vocals on this album, and that still doesn't take away from his passion.

The album starts out with "Depth Charge" which is a very upcharges track, very similar to his usual style, and immediately you don't notice any changes. This is an amazing song that introduces you to his signature sound and is one of the more progressive songs on the album. Next, on "Storm", you hear a slight lift on the wall of noise sound, but there is still plenty of passion, even though his voice is clean now. This one builds and then explodes near the end, and the intensity is so high at the end that it almost brings tears to my eyes. After that, the track "Random Analysis" has a steady beat that goes through most of the song. This one to me is not as interesting in that it really offers not much change from start to finish and it doesn't stick with me so much.

The tone turns darker now as the feeling of "Deadhead" approaches a hard but slower beat, almost blues style but not quite. This gives us a nice change of pace to make sure things stay interesting. DT's voice is a lower register here, and things stay very interesting throughout this piece as it leads into a sort of psychedelic feel with layered vocals before it returns to the main theme again. This is followed by "Suicide" which remains dark but is driven by a harder beat and an amazing guitar riff that also drives the song. I love this one.

"Traveller" is more of a radio friendly song and doesn't really do much for me. "Away" comes next, and almost seems to segue from the previous track, so you think maybe things are going to sound same-y here, but this develops into something beautiful and flowing, somewhat similar to "Deep Peace" from the "Terria" album, but not quite the same. It is mostly instrumental, but has some subdued vocals deep in the mix. You notice now that somewhere along the way, the wall of sound is gone most of the time now, but there still is an intensity. "Sunday Afternoon" is also a beautiful track, more atmospheric and relaxing, yet still intense. "Slow Me Down" is just too typical MOR almost and I tend to lose interest in it before it's over. Even though the 2nd half of the album still has plenty of highlights, it does tend to lose some strength here which might get better after repeated listens.

The special edition of the album included a 3-track EP entitled "Project EKO". This is a completely different style from the regular album in that it is electronica done by Devin Townsend. This is nothing like anything he has done prior to this, but he will explore more of in the future. "Locate" has a steady mid tempo beat throughout with a short section with vocals mixed at a lower volume. Nothing much really happens here, just what sounds like some electronic noodling and etc. "Echo" is a little more interesting with some spoken word samples mixed in here and there. The rhythm is a more driving beat with some more traditional sounds put in to make it sound more authentic. The melodies over the top of the rhythm are more interesting that the previous track. "Assignable" is the last track. This one has a boring and repetitive rhythm track and a sort of psychedelic riff happening on top. Sort of like early Porcupine Tree instrumentals, but less interesting.

Overall , the main album is interesting especially on the first half. The second half is the more mellow side, but still has plenty on it to keep it interesting. Interest seems to wear thin though when things tend to get too accessible. Not a perfect album for DT, but still a great effort. I feel comfortable enough to give it 4 stars, mostly on the merit of the high points of the album. I am not counting in the EP as part of the rating because on it's own, it doesn't really do much for me, and it was added as a bonus and not part of the album.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Accelerated Evolution" is the fifth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. This time released under the The Devin Townsend Band monicker. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in March 2003. Townsend was particularly busy in those years working simoutaniously on "Accelerated Evolution" and the eponymously titled third Strapping Young Lad album (released in February 2003, just a month prior to the release of "Accelerated Evolution"), while also touring around writing material and spending time in the recording studio. The Devin Townsend Band was formed by Townsend to gain a band feeling and for touring purposes. The band were active from 2002-2007, after which it was disbanded by Townsend.

"Accelerated Evolution" features a whole new lineup compared to the lineup who recorded "Terria" (November 2001), and only Townsend remains. He is such a larger than life type character, writing, producing, and performing most parts that itīs a bit hard to credit the other musicians much. Iīm not even sure most of them perform on the album. Whatever band name the album bears, this is arguably a Townsend solo album in disguise.

While "Terria" was a sprawling, eclectic, and progressive affair, Townsend have opted for a more accessible, song oriented, and concise songwriting approach on "Accelerated Evolution". Dare I say this is his first mainstream oriented album release...but then again not quite. This is after all Devin Townsend weīre dealing with, and nothing is ever just straight forward with him and "Accelerated Evolution" is of course still both challenging and progressive in nature.

"Depth Charge" opens the album and itīs a heavy and energetic track with Townsend belting out various types of shouting/screaming vocals and of course also a few clean vocal parts. "Storm" is probably one of his crowning achievements in terms of delivering emotionally intense vocals. The vocal part of the track is simply incredible. Another standout track is the heavy, slow building, and atmospheric "Deadhead", which has since become a classic in Townsend repetoire and a song he almost always includes on his concert setlists. The almost entirely instrumental (there are some sparse mellow vocals on the track) "Away" also deserves a mention for the lead guitar work and the great atmosphere of the track. The remaining tracks are great high quality material too and ranges from dark and heavy (tracks like "Random Analysis" and "Suicide"), to uplifting and melodic ("Traveller" and "Slow Me Down").

The limited edition of "Accelerated Evolution" features three bonus tracks, from Project Eko, which was an ambient/atmopsheric electronic music projekt Townsend found time to work on, while simoultaniously working on both the material for "Accelerated Evolution" and the material for Strapping Young Ladīs third full-length studio album "SYL" (February 2003, Century Media Records). It predates and probably inspired Townsend to release the 2004 "Devlab" album as well as subsequent ambient/atmospheric experimental releases like "Hummer" (2006) and "Snuggles (Beautiful Dream)". The Project Eko is among the most accessible and pleasant sounding of Townsendīs ambient/atmospheric releases ("Assignable" is even danceable), although itīs nothing revolutionary.

"Accelerated Evolution" is packed in a clear, detailed, and powerful sounding production. It features many layers of guitars, keyboards/synths, and vocals, but itīs still one of the most accessible and dare I say simple sound productions on any Townsend release. Simple in this case of course still means a sonic complexity which is higher than what most artists produce, but Townsend obviously aimed at a more direct and punchy attack on this album. Upon conclusion Townsend arguably succeeds in his mission to release a more accessible progressive metal release and while "Accelerated Evolution" may not possess quite the same stylistic depths of "Terria", itīs still a high quality album and a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Latest members reviews

3 stars In 2002, Devin Townsend felt compelled to form a band with local musicians to bring Accelerated Evolution to life, while simultaneously having to create the more financially promising third album with his well-established metal band Strapping Young Lad. This was out of response to a few factors: ... (read more)

Report this review (#2378903) | Posted by The Genre Spanner | Sunday, May 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Although still highly rated among his albums, as I can see from the ratings, I don't see this one on par with Terria or Biomech. Songwriting is simpler and the songs are less progressive. Deadhead is my favourite track from the album - but it does not bring anything new to the table. "Suicide" ... (read more)

Report this review (#2043105) | Posted by sgtpepper | Friday, October 12, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Unlike many of Devin's albums, Accelerated Evolution has a lighter, almost airy quality to it. This is not to say that this is not a powerful album. It certainly is, and in some ways, the riffs and melodies here are some of Devin's most powerful, precisely because of their more straightforward nat ... (read more)

Report this review (#1462520) | Posted by The Progmatist | Friday, September 11, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 7/10 For me, this is simply more of the same. Accelerated Evolution is the first album of Devin Townsend Band, and is a crossover between the heavy and the accessible, which works well to a certain level. However I must admit that I see with this album somewhat of a letdown after the brilli ... (read more)

Report this review (#809308) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Something fluid, a precursor to futures tread. Devin Townsend's Accelerated Evolution loosens the bows to a more gratuitously band oriented manner. After several solo work albums released, Devin teams together sporadically with his backing band in effect to create another masterful collection o ... (read more)

Report this review (#249944) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I might as well state my opinion straight away - great album. The songs are excellent, and consistently good, too. Perhaps not explosively creative or progressive but it's not like they are totally predictable, either - it's still Devin Townsend. If you felt technical, you could plot the tracks ... (read more)

Report this review (#238420) | Posted by Staker | Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I first became aware of Devin Townsend thanks to a DJ called Krusher on a station called TotalRock His review on said it was good, in fact I think the hairy dribbling old git (Krusher that is) referred to Mr Townsend as the "Mozart of Metal" Having heard tack 7, "Away" and been ... (read more)

Report this review (#62698) | Posted by | Sunday, January 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Finally, I've found what I'm looking for. ACCELERATED EVOLUTION is totally blew me away! This is what I call modern day metal. This is 21st century METAL with the various range from heavy metal, melodic metal, progressive metal, a little bit of psychedelic ambience and speed metal. No fantasy ... (read more)

Report this review (#18047) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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