Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

DEVIN TOWNSEND

Experimental/Post Metal • Canada


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Devin Townsend picture
Devin Townsend biography
Devin Garrett Townsend - Born May 5, 1972 (New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada)

DEVIN TOWNSEND, possibly more widely known as the frontman for the extreme metal act STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, began creating solo albums in 1997.

Sometimes referred to as the 'Mad Scientist of Metal', TOWNSEND produces a wide variety of music. This ranges from soft ambience designed, as he has stated, to put the listener to sleep, to high levels of thrash and extreme metal reminiscent of SYL.
His works often feature a 'wall of sound', built by adding many layers of guitars and keyboards that are playing in unison or harmony. The end result is a number of carefully produced and mixed albums that favor high-end sound systems.

His first solo album, 'Ocean Machine: Biomech' (1997), was actually originally simply titled 'Biomech' and the band project labeled OCEAN MACHINE. However, on subsequent releases in most countries, the one-shot band name was incorporated into the title, and TOWNSEND's name was affixed to the record. Next came his first solo album proper, 1998's 'Infinity'. However, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffering with severe depression, TOWNSEND left the album only partly finished, filling in the song gaps with other demos. Rebounding from this struggle, he wrote 'Physicist' in 2000, creating a sort of pop-metal release featuring the members of his band STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. His 2001 project, 'Terria', features some of his most complicated and deep production, incorporating many sounds from nature into the recording, and stands as one of his most well-known and most critically acclaimed albums.

Photo by Eric Saide

His next solo project, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND, began in 2003 with the release of 'Accelerated Evolution'. Adding drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen, guitarist Brian Waddell, bassist Mike Young, and keyboardist Dave Young, TOWNSEND decided to start releasing albums once more with a full-time band rather than merely studio musicians. Taking a dramatic turn from the style of 'Terria', TOWNSEND adopted a much more band-oriented feel, reducing the amount of atmosphere and increasing the level of accessibility of the music.

As a side project during this time, TOWNSEND stitched together the fierce ambient 'Devlab' album in 2004. The line-up of THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND continued for several years as a functional touring outfit. The collaboration concluded with the 2006 album 'Synchestra' - though this rele...
read more

DEVIN TOWNSEND Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all DEVIN TOWNSEND videos (21) | Search and add more videos to DEVIN TOWNSEND

Buy DEVIN TOWNSEND Music


DEVIN TOWNSEND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DEVIN TOWNSEND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 364 ratings
Ocean Machine - Biomech
1997
3.74 | 257 ratings
Infinity
1998
3.00 | 186 ratings
Physicist
2000
4.16 | 712 ratings
Terria
2001
3.88 | 283 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution
2003
2.06 | 101 ratings
Devlab
2004
4.09 | 383 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra
2006
2.26 | 98 ratings
The Hummer
2006
4.14 | 643 ratings
Ziltoid The Omniscient
2007
3.82 | 345 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ki
2009
3.87 | 376 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Addicted
2009
3.94 | 459 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
2011
3.77 | 379 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ghost
2011
3.92 | 389 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Epicloud
2012
3.92 | 226 ratings
Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool
2014
3.69 | 186 ratings

2014
3.65 | 172 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence
2016
3.93 | 340 ratings
Empath
2019
3.18 | 38 ratings
The Puzzle
2021
2.84 | 41 ratings
Snuggles - Beautiful Dream
2021
3.25 | 78 ratings
Lightwork
2022

DEVIN TOWNSEND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 19 ratings
Official Bootleg
1999
3.60 | 33 ratings
Unplugged
2011
4.46 | 56 ratings
By a Thread - Live in London 2011
2012
4.68 | 72 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013
4.36 | 42 ratings
Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2015
3.03 | 20 ratings
Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre
2018
4.22 | 18 ratings
Order of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1
2020
3.91 | 13 ratings
Devolution Series #1 - Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds
2021
4.04 | 6 ratings
Devolution Series #2 - Galactic Quarantine
2021
4.04 | 4 ratings
Devolution Series #3 - Empath Live in America
2023

DEVIN TOWNSEND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.61 | 57 ratings
The Retinal Circus
2013
4.14 | 37 ratings
Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2015

DEVIN TOWNSEND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 22 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos I
1999
3.33 | 15 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos II
2004
4.65 | 26 ratings
Contain Us
2011
5.00 | 3 ratings
Discovering Devin Townsend
2016
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Puzzle / Snuggles
2021

DEVIN TOWNSEND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.52 | 45 ratings
Christeen + 4 Demos
1999
3.25 | 8 ratings
Iceland
2016

DEVIN TOWNSEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Devin Townsend Project: Ki by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.82 | 345 ratings

BUY
Devin Townsend Project: Ki
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Ki" is the tenth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in May 2009. Itīs the successor to "Ziltoid The Omniscient" from May 2007 and marks the end of a 2 year release hiatus, which at the time was an unusually long break between releases for Townsend. After a period of hectic recording and touring activity, Townsend however decided that he would withdraw from touring, to concentrate on family life and on getting sober from his addiction to alcohol and drugs. He recorded and released "Ziltoid The Omniscient" during the first period of his isolation, but then stopped writing music for a full year, before returning to composing at full force, writing around 60 tracks, some of which ended up on "Ki". Townsend brought in drummer Duris Maxwell and bassist Jean Savoie who he had never worked with before, and also asked former Devin Townsend Band member Dave Young to join the project and play keyboards. Female vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval (who Townsend would create the Casualties of Cool duo project with a few years down the line) sings additional vocals on the album.

Compared to "Ziltoid The Omniscient", "Ki" is a completely different type of release. Itīs still unmistakably a Devin Townsend album (although released under The Devin Townsend Project monicker), but itīs predominantly a non-distorted, non-metal oriented release (although it can still be pretty heavy at times). Instead Townsend have opted for a stripped down, organic, and earthy rock sound, which often works through tension and release type dynamics. Itīs sometimes a pretty intense album, and often not meant for mellow listening pleasure, so itīs not one of those atmospheric and pretty acoustic guitar releases, although the album does feature a good share of mellow and laid back sections and tracks. Some of the tracks feature jam parts combined with more structured sections and the whole album feels loose and creative in spirit. Featuring 13 tracks and a total playing time of 66:50 minutes, itīs also a pretty long release.

"Ki" is probably Townsendīs most personal release in terms of the lyrical subjects which include subjects like dealing with sober life, self-discovery, and spirituality. "Ki" features a gorgeous organic and earthy sound production. Itīs an absolutely brilliant production, where you can hear every detail of the music and all instruments and vocals are well balanced in the mix. Itīs interesting to hear Townsendīs music presented in this type of production package, as it stands in great contrast to his usual wall of sound/multi-layered sound productions, but thatīs pretty obviously the whole point of "Ki"...to produce a release which sounds vastly different from anything which Townsend had been involved in before.

Personally I find "Ki" a very hard album to get into and itīs taken me many years to get through the album and many re-visits to be able to write something about it. And itīs not because itīs an overtly complex release in terms of the song structures or challenging parts, but itīs the whole atmosphere and the sometimes slow building and repetitive nature of the music (which is often laid back and ambient), which has taken me a while (well...actually a very long time) to get into. Even after all this time "Ki" still leaves me a bit perplexed...

...Iīm sure the often idiosyncratic Townsend would be delighted if he read my reaction to "Ki" and the struggles Iīve been through to understand what he has created, but at some point you do have to ask yourself if itīs worth it. Some albums just seem to alienate you even though you try everything to understand them and appreciate them. And thatīs how I felt about "Ki" for many years. But understanding and appreciating music sometimes comes down to experience with different types of music, the real life situation youīre experiencing at the given moment, and maybe who you listen to the music with. Negative feelings often create a negative reaction to difficult music, because you donīt have the emotional surplus to grasp it.

The point is that "Ki" is one of the most unique but also one of the most difficult releases in Devin Townsendīs discography, and itīs one of those releases which is an aquired taste. Just because you think of yourself as a Townsend fan doesnīt mean youīll be able to appreciate "Ki". In parts maybe, but probably not the full album in one sitting unless youīre one of those rare folks who get it right away. But while you should consider yourself warned at this point, I would still urge you to give "Ki" a listen. This is the work of a real artist trying something new and working outside his comfort zone, and while I still have a way to go before I completely surrender to "Ki", there are arguably musical treasures buried on the album, which deserve to be discovered. The only way to find them...is to keep digging. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives).

 Infinity by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.74 | 257 ratings

BUY
Infinity
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars 25 years on from its original release, the cover has changed in that Devin has had a new photo taken, and the album has been remastered and also now includes seven bonus tracks including the songs from the 'Christeen' EP. I vividly remember the impact this album had on me when it was released, as while I knew Devin from Strapping Young Lad, he had only released one album under his own name prior to this one and when I heard this I was absolutely blown away by the production and his approach to prog metal. It was recorded after Devin had checked himself into a mental hospital where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and while he played most of the instruments himself, he also brought in SYL bandmate Gene Hoglan on drums, Fear Factory bassist Christian Olde Wolbers plus Andy Codrington (trombone).

It was with this album that Devin really got to grips with his wall of sound approach to production: he later described this as "the parent project" of 'City' and 'Biomech', and anyone who knows those albums will agree this bastard offspring is far greater than what went before. This was the release which had me desperate to find out more about the mad Canuck and is still as fresh today as it was all those years ago. That he can go full on pronk on "Ants" is just wonderful but compare that to the anthemic bombast which is "War", still one of my very favourite tracks of his, and it is interesting to note just how close the 'Retinal Circus' version is to this. This album is where Devin really came of age and found himself, and the learnings he took on that journey has been the foundation for what he has achieved since. These days Devin Townsend is a household name to anyone interested in progressive metal, but back then he was a musician who had toured with Steve Vai and The Wildhearts (one of the tracks on 'Infinity' is co-written with Ginger), then formed his own band which gained critical but little popular acclaim, Strapping Young Lad. This album changed all that, and I loved it 25 years ago, and my view has still not changed. Awesome.

 Devolution Series #3 - Empath Live in America by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Live, 2023
4.04 | 4 ratings

BUY
Devolution Series #3 - Empath Live in America
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I have been a huge fan of Devin since the good old days of Strapping Young Lad, and there was a time 20 years ago when if you had the misfortune to take a trip in my car you would be blasted into submission by a combination of the latest of his solo albums and me raving about how he was a genius. The mad Canuck has certainly maintained my faith in him, and while his studio albums may not hit the mark quite as much as they used to, his live releases are always significant. I am sure I am not the only person who still regularly plays 'The Retinal Circus', as that for me was Devin at his most outrageous and over the top. These days he never rests, and it is not unusual for him to totally switch his band between tours, and for this one he was with Mike Keneally (guitars), Nathan Navarro (bass), Diego Tejeida (keyboards), Morgan Ågren (drums) and Ché Aimee Dorval (vocals, guitars).

I always feel Townsend sounds so much better when he has a female singer to pitch against as his music is so bass heavy, and Dorval is an absolute delight ? while I admit I love Anneke Van Giersbergen, Dorval is a wonderful substitute. Her vocals combined with the keyboards, placed against the rhythm section and guitars work incredibly well. Devin is always determined to have fun onstage, which is the only reason to include "Why" in a set, as it sounds as if it belongs in a Disney musical as opposed to a heavy gig, and he loves getting the crowd to join in with their best death metal growls. After they complete "Hyperdrive", Devin announces he heard someone shout for "Earth Day", but the band don't know it. So he starts playing the riff, and the rest of the band just follow ? it may not be perfect but it sure is a lot of fun and one can just hear the smiles. One can imagine the band wanting to go onto the stage every night as they have no idea what is going to happen, and I am sure Devin does not know either.

What on earth is the semi-acoustic "Ih-Ah!" doing in a live set? Because it is a blast, that's why, and the whole gig is a mish mash of styles so why not go from the sublime to the ridiculous and play "Love?" from my favourite SYL album, 'Alien'? Exactly my thoughts as well, even though Morgan is admittedly not a metal drummer. Townsend says this was one of his favourite tours, and although he has released a load of live albums over the years, and this is this is the third in the Devolution Series alone, once can hear how much fun both the bad and audience were having on this one as it blasts, it rocks, and everyone smiles.

 The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.09 | 383 ratings

BUY
The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Synchestra" is the seventh full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. Itīs the second and last album released under the The Devin Townsend Band monicker. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in January 2006. Townsend had an incredibly busy touring and recording schedule in the years from 2000-2007, and since the duo release of the third Strapping Young Lad album "S.Y.L." in February 2003 and the release of his fifth solo album "Accelerated Evolution" (although also released under the The Devin Townsend Band monicker like "Synchestra") in March 2003, Townsend released the "Devlab" solo album in December 2004 (his sixth solo album), and the fourth Strapping Young Lad album "Alien" in March 2005. "Synchestra" was just the first of three 2006 releases from Townsend, the other two being the fifth and final Strapping Young Lad album "The New Black" from July 2006 and his eigth solo album "The Hummer" from November 2006. This was all done in between heavy touring and itīs no wonder that Townsend needed a break after the release of "Ziltoid the Omniscient" in May 2007.

Coming off the heels of some of Townsendīs/Strapping Young Ladīs most popular and successful releases (excluding "Devlab" which is a bit out of number in this context), "Synchestra" was always going to have a hard time living up to the quality of that output, and instead of writing and recording something in a similar style Townsend did what he has often done and still does, namely made a left turn and ventured into new musical territory.

It is not for nothing that the album is titled "Synchestra", because this is the first Townsend release, which (at least in part) can be described as symphonic (although no classical orchestra is used. Everything is programmed og played on keyboars/synths). Not symphonic in an epic Euro power metal style or as in symphonic metal, but there are parts on "Synchestra", which are arguably strongly influenced by classical music composition, and there are also some pretty epic symphonic parts featured on the album. The album also features elements from pop, country, folk, polka, middle eastern music, and of course Townsendīs heavy riffs and the heavy drumming by Ryan Van Poederooyen. "Synchestra" features several guest/session musicians. One is Townsendīs former employer Steve Vai, who plays a guitar solo on "Triumph".

"Synchestra" is an album which works as one long song, as most tracks seque into each other and have some sort of relation to each other (some themes are reoccurring). Most tracks can be listened to individually, but they work best in the context of the full album. Itīs not an album which is instantly catchy like "Accelerated Evolution" was, so most listeners will probably need som patience to get to know the album, and to learn all the details of the music. While some parts are easily accessible, the whole work is a bit more diffecult to get into (itīs certainly progressive in any way possible). At least thatīs how I felt about "Synchestra". It took quite a few spins for me to understand what is was Townsend wanted to convey.

"Synchestra" features a powerful, multi-layered, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. Itīs not Townsendīs most heavy release, and therefore the sound production isnīt as focused on the heavy riffs and drumming as on "Accelerated Evolution". When the heavy parts do occur, they are still satisfyingly heavy and sharp though, so "Synchestra" is still a pretty heavy album when itīs called for. "Synchestra" may not have the immediate catchiness and appeal as the last couple of Townsend releases, but itīs still arguably a high quality release, and itīs quite the bold release too, but knowing Townsend thatīs actually no surprise. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Snuggles - Beautiful Dream by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2021
2.84 | 41 ratings

BUY
Snuggles - Beautiful Dream
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars "Snuggles - Beautiful Dream" is the nineteenth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in December 2021. It was released on the same day as its companion album "The Puzzle".

Stylistically itīs an ambient/experimental release which Townsend have made a few of before ("Devlab" from December 2004 and "The Hummer" from November 2006). As a companion album to "The Puzzle" itīs interesting to compare the two, as Townsend has consciously opted to make the two releases quite different sounding although the material were recorded during the same time. Where "The Puzzle" is a more experimental and diverse ambient recording, "Snuggles - Beautiful Dream" is a much more calm, laid back, and truly ambient release. Itīs almost meditative in its mellow approach. I can imagine this would be music which would be perfect to fall asleep to. The ambient pieces are designed to induce a tranquil mood and bring calm to your nerves and Townsend succeeds in doing that, although at times it all becomes a bit too new age oriented and uneventful (which has the opposite effect on me and becomes stressful).

"Snuggles - Beautiful Dream" is not surprisingly very well produced and sounds incredible, but upon conclusion I think I prefer the more eventful material on "The Puzzle". "Snuggles - Beautiful Dream" is good calm background music or music to fall asleep to, but itīs not really music to listen to and concentrate on to find details. For that not enough happens in the soundscape. Itīs still a pleasant listen and a 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 The Puzzle by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.18 | 38 ratings

BUY
The Puzzle
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "The Puzzle" is the eighteenth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in December 2021. It was released on the same day as its companion album "Snuggles - Beautiful Dream".

Stylistically the material on "The Puzzle" is ambient/atmospheric music, which is a continuation of the ambient/drone music experimental Townsend albums "Devlab" from December 2004 and "The Hummer" from November 2006. Compared to his previous ambient/drone music albums, "The Puzzle" is generally a much more inviting, melodic, and structured release, featuring 20 relatively short tracks (with exceptions of a few longer tracks) and a total playing time of 65:25 minutes. All tracks seque into each other to form a whole conceptual listening experience. Thatīs not to say that "The Puzzle" is an easy listening experience, as itīs still quite experimental and ambient, but itīs actually pretty entertaining most of the time (the occasionally jazzy touch is pretty nice). Some tracks go by almost without the listener noticing, and they sometimes sound like rough unfinished ideas, which become part of the whole, but thereīs still enough dynamic tension and drama in the music, for the listener to not loose his/her interest. The sudden appearance of extreme metal elements (distorted guitars and growling vocals) on "StarChasm" is for example quite surprising, and helps keep the album interesting.

Upon conclusion Iīve been pleasantly surprised by "The Puzzle". Itīs a very different sounding ambient/experimental release to "Devlab" and "The Hummer", and I found myself enjoying this one quite a bit more than I had expected. Thereīs purpose here and structure, which means that the accessiblity of the album is much higher for those of us not used to listening to ambient/experimental music. The fact that the album is packed in a detailed, layered, and well sounding production, doesnīt exactly make things worse. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 The Hummer by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.26 | 98 ratings

BUY
The Hummer
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars "The Hummer" is the eigth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in November 2006. It bridges the gap between "Synchestra" from January 2006 (released under the The Devin Townsend Band monicker) and "Ziltoid The Omniscient" from May 2007, although Townsend, also found time to release the fifth and final Strapping Young Lad album "The New Black" in July 2006.

Stylistically "The Hummer" is one of Townsendīs out of number ambient/atmospheric releases and as such a follow-up album to "Devlab" from December 2004. Compared to "Devlab", the ambient/drone style of "The Hummer" is a bit less eventful. If "Devlab" wasnīt exactly a pleasant listening experience, at least it was dynamic with both mellow ambient moments and loud abrasive moments of ear torture (there was some tension there). "The Hummer" is more like one long and very dull ambient drone spiced up with some atmospheric synths. Itīs predominantly very minimalistic and requires huge amounts of patience to sit through. The short flute part layered with creepy spoken word vocals which open "Consciousness Causes Collapse" is a rare occasion on "The Hummer", where my attention dosnīt wander. The slightly more loud and dramatic "Equation" isnīt enough to make me jump in my seat, but at least it shows an intent to create some dynamics. But after that weīre right back where we started...many, many minutes of slow building ambient drones which go nowhere.

I admit I had a hard time getting through "Devlab" and the idea of that album eludes me, but "The Hummer" is even more of a challenge getting through. Itīs 73:27 minutes long, which already is a long playing time for any album, and when itīs an ambient/drone style album, where this little is happening, it becomes an almost excruciating task getting through it. A 1 star (20%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Devlab by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.06 | 101 ratings

BUY
Devlab
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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

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

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

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

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.88 | 283 ratings

BUY
The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

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)

 Terria by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.16 | 712 ratings

BUY
Terria
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars "Terria" is the fourth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsendīs own label) in November 2001. Itīs the successor to "Physicist" from June 2000. Drummer Gene Hoglan is still onboard, but the rest of Strapping Young Lad have not been invited this time around ("Physicist" was recorded by all four members of Strapping Young Lad). Instead Craig McFarland performs fretless bass and Jamie Meyer performs keyboards/piano. Townsend as always performs vocals, guitars, samples, and keyboards.

Townsend was never happy with the way "Physicist" turned out, and he decided that "Terria" should sound different and move in another direction, which is quite obvious when listening to the latter. "Physicist" was a homogene album, which maybe didnīt challenge Townsend nor his audience the way it was originally meant to, while "Terria" on the other hand is a highly eclectic, progressive, and challenging release. It also feels like itīs a personal statement and it features great emotional impact and Townsend in vocal top form.

"Terria" is actually a very hard album to describe properly as a result of the eclectic nature of the release, but through the 11 track, 71:59 minutes long album Townsend and his crew bring us through mellow beautiful parts, crushingly heavy and aggressive parts, ambient atmospheric parts, and great focus on unconventional song structures and progressive ideas. The detailed, clear, and organic sounding production job greatly enchances the listening experience, and this is a perfect example of production values going hand in hand with the compositions and providing the tracks with the best possible conditions to shine. Townsend truly shows his music producer genius side here.

"Terria" is not an easily accessible album, although itīs some of the time quite melodic and memorable, but the shifts between moods and the dynamics of the release sometimes catch the listener off guarde, and for some listeners itīll take time to learn to appreciate (and some will forever remain frustrated). Tracks like "Deep Peace" and "The Fluke" are perfect examples of this. Both tracks which evolve greatly through their playing time featuring many different atmospheres, dynamics, and music styles. "Terria" generally features a little more lead guitar playing from Townsend than most of his releases contain, and to my ears his choice of notes and the way he plays are strongly influenced by his former employer Steve Vai. This should not be misunderstood as if the overall sound of "Terria" sounds like the output of Vai, but there are several moments throughout the album, where the influence shines through.

Upon conclusion "Terria" is a completely unique release (although some influences shine through as mentioned above). The way the album is constructed, the songwriting, the performances, the exceptionally well sounding production job, all make "Terria" the high quality release it is. Thereīs really nothing like it neither on the scene nor in Townsendīs own discography. Itīs arguably one of the groundbreaking albums of Townsendīs career and a 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.