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Experimental/Post Metal • Canada

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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...
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Century Media 2019
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Imports 2010
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Ziltoid the OmniscientZiltoid the Omniscient
Inside Out 2010
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Ocean MachineOcean Machine
Insideout Music 2010
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Accelerated EvolutionAccelerated Evolution
Insideout Music 2010
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DEVIN TOWNSEND discography

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

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

3.98 | 312 ratings
Ocean Machine - Biomech
3.69 | 218 ratings
2.93 | 161 ratings
4.19 | 638 ratings
3.90 | 244 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Accelerated Evolution
2.17 | 89 ratings
4.07 | 347 ratings
The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra
2.48 | 87 ratings
The Hummer
4.14 | 573 ratings
Ziltoid The Omniscient
3.84 | 314 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ki
3.82 | 333 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Addicted
3.92 | 414 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
3.78 | 338 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Ghost
3.95 | 340 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Epicloud
3.91 | 188 ratings
Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool
3.74 | 147 ratings
3.65 | 121 ratings
Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence
4.19 | 161 ratings

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

3.58 | 19 ratings
Official Bootleg
3.56 | 30 ratings
4.45 | 52 ratings
By A Thread - Live In London 2011
4.69 | 61 ratings
The Retinal Circus
4.45 | 31 ratings
Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall
3.00 | 13 ratings
Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre

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

4.57 | 44 ratings
The Retinal Circus
4.04 | 29 ratings
Ziltoid: Live At The Royal Albert Hall

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

3.38 | 21 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos I
3.36 | 14 ratings
Ass Sordid Demos II
4.63 | 24 ratings
Contain Us
5.00 | 2 ratings
Discovering Devin Townsend

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

3.58 | 40 ratings
Christeen + 4 Demos
3.17 | 6 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 161 ratings

Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Duke of Prunes

5 stars When i was about to hear this album for the first time, i was pretty sceptical about it mainly because i wasn't a big fan of Devin's work even though i enjoyed some of his stuff. But, this LP completely changed my view towards his music and it eventually became one of my all-time favourites. First, i have to say this is definitely not an easy listen. Like most prog, it requires a reasonable amount of spins and a certain dedication to fully understand and enjoy the record. But, it's worth, believe me.

The album starts with the laid-back and relaxing "Castaway", with a soaring guitar, accompained by mood settling beach noises. You really feel "Cast away", while listening. Near the end, The Elektra Women's Choir joins, instilling pleasent celestial feel. The track flows into the absolute contender for the craziest, most bizarre track of 2019 - "Genesis". If someone wants you to explain what Devin is all about, just play them this one. It encompasses the adventurous and unorthodox nature of his music completely. The choir fades out leading to Devin's powerful, roaring atop of a mountain, clean vocals. The overall feel is his usual epic progressive metal, with many interweaving layers. The "chorus" here is heavy, full of blast beats, reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir. A slight musical reference to the beginning of "March of the poozers", but sped up occurs, followed by another wave of epic chorus vocals, sounding genuinely uplifting. This is noticeable tendency in the latest Devin albums - his compositions tend to be rather uplifting, as opposed to his earlier material. And, purely in the mad scientist of metal nature, you can hear integrated cat's meowing, right before a wicked syncopated heavy, abysmal riff, serving as a bridge. After all that, we are taken to the 80's in some form of metal disco, just proving that Townsend has no limits. Absolute monster of a track.

What i find to be appealing to non-fans of HevyDevy, is that in this album we hear less of his regular "wall of sound" recording technique, while still maintaining the heaviness. The next track provides some form of respite from the madness. "Spirits Will Collide" starts with the women choir above a middle-paced symphonic power metal background. Devin's vocals here are one of the most uplifting ones he has ever done and i think it will appeal to more people, not familiar with his work. Without a doubt easiest digestible track of the album.

"Evermore" has similar construction as "Genesis", but this time with an underlying symphonic and orchestral feel. Here, the wall of sound is reduced to minimum and we can actually occasionally hear clean jazzy parts, interfering with the overall epic heavy sound. I'm just going to say that the chorus here is one of the most ear-worming things ever, seriously. This track feels like a space voyage that ends in a wormhole. Yes. I had to repeat it over and over again, it's that satisfying.

The next song, "Sprite" has this subtle, airy, alternative feel to it. The track has strong emotional impact due to its existential nature - Devin delivers really poignant-driven vocals, almost having an operatic tinge. Beneath the structure of the composition there are deeply igrained elevating keyboard layers creating incredible emotional consonance. Sublime piece of music.

Now, "Hear me" is the blast beat festival, balm for the soul of every extreme metal fan. Listening closely, behind the primal anger of the music, there is actually very strong musical line, it's not just chaotic notes. The next track - "Why?", comes completely logical after the previous display of extremism. Probably my favourite composition, in terms of the sheer power of Devin's voice. Here, he goes operatic off the charts. If this doesn't evoke pathos in you, then i don't know what will, really.

Next, we have the 11 minute "Borderlands", starting off with soft, alternative rock vocals, leading us to a Hollywood-inspired humorous chorus section, reminding us of Zappa. And then, we come to probably the most memorable riff of the album, entwined with many different vocal lines, again very musical and Zappa-esque. Everything stops rather abruptly, into an ambient sonicscape, filled with Devin's soothing vocals, that serves as a prolong build-up for the final reprise of the main riff and vocal section. It all then ends with another relaxing ambient part. As a connection between the two epics, we have "Requiem" - orchestral/choral score, worthy of replacing any acknowledged soundtrack for a space-themed movie. Frisson inducing, definitely.

The last piece - "Singularity", immerses us with a somewhat Gilmour-esque guitar opening, progressing into a part that is essentially filled with quiet, "lonely" vocals, and an acousitc guitar. Later on, Devin is in-your-face with his overly emotional and powerful operatic-styled vocals, sustained by the cosmic, orchestra-imitating wall of sound. It's crazy how Townsend changes the mood completely in the span of just seconds, yet it feels smooth and organic. The middle section is dominated by blastbeats and heavy vocals, reminiscent of "Hear me". As in "Borderlands", we arrive at "purification station" for our ears, expressed by demulcent chorus and a subtle keyboard lines underneath, after all the intensity and raw force. The part slowly progresses into brief example of "Musique concrete", while still having a musical line running in the background. Towards the end we are graced with proggy uneven rhythms, this time uplifting clean vocals, and the magical guitar of Steve Vai himself, the musical father of Devin Townsend, who now carries the genius of Zappa, in an alternate way.

I am seriously concerned that the mad genius cannot top this album, ever. The juxtaposition of these varied compositions and the seemingly nonsensical interweaved musical ideas, "lacking" a "concept" resonates immensely with a musical-perdurantist perspective, something Zappa originated in. And with "Empath", Devin ultimately proved the world to be the modern-day Zappa - able to accumulate a wide pallette of emotions into something chaotic at first glance, yet perfectly systematic when you delve into it.

 The Devin Townsend Band: Synchestra by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.07 | 347 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars There are only two albums that were released under Devin's moniker 'The Devin Townsend Band', those were 'Accelerated Evolution' (released in 2003) and this album 'Synchestra' (released in 2006). I'm not sure the reasoning behind Devin deciding to use this moniker, but I have a few theories. As far as Devin's solo albums released during this period, he was entering an experimental, ambient and electronic stage with his release of 'Devlab' and 'The Hummer'. Fans weren't really sure what he was doing with these solo albums and he had mixed reactions from his fans. So, in order to distinguish his experimental side from his heavier side, he may have decided to use 'The Devin Townsend Band' to help guide his fans to his more usual style and let them know that not everything he does was going to be experimental. Another theory is that he used the same line-up in both DTB albums.

'Synchestra' was sandwiched between the experimental, ambient albums. The other DTB project, 'Accelerated Evolution' was more listener friendly than the usual DT solo albums that had come before, and, even though it was still a great album, it didn't have as much of a progressive edge as the previous albums and wasn't quite as heavy. This album, at least in the beginning, seems to be following that same path as it starts with the very mellow 'Let it Roll' with an acoustic guitar and lovely melody sung by Devin. As it continues, an threatening drone comes up from underneath the acoustics, and for a short time, the band kicks in so as to not totally shock you for 'Hypergeek'. Once again, you get another short track, with more acoustic guitars and an almost pastoral feel. Some nice vocal effects come in, but the track suddenly goes on a complete left turn at the minute mark as the wall of sound, Devin's emotional yelling, heavy guitar and synths take over. But don't despair, as is usual with DT's music, it's heavy and thick, but you can hear everything.

'Triumph' flows from that previous track with a tense guitar churning and Devin's vocals that stir up excitement for what is coming. Of course, things get emotional and strong as the passion in his vocals and music increase. His vocals are mostly clean, but he still has bursts of anger that come through. The song isn't all thick and heavy however, as it has many lighter sections and the instrumentation features a lot of keyboard and synth to help lighten things up. And it is very progressive, so there are all kinds of surprises, fun and excellent music here. With all of these changes in tone, meter and sound, everything just flows together so well. You hear so many other bands try this and things just end up sounding choppy, but with Devon, it is so smooth, almost like an orchestra. To top it all off, you get a guitar solo from Steve Vai on this one too. 'Baby Song' has some sarcastic lyrics and a heavy 6 / 8 rhythm. As it continues, it gets more complex and heavier. Again, meters change as it goes on and settles in to different moods and such, but once it gets heavy, it pretty much stays there.

Three shorter songs follow. 'Vampolka' is a polka sounding track, tubas and organ included. This flows into 'Vampira' which starts off with a heavy guitar riff and Devin's frantic vocals. This has a more accessible sound to it with a very catchy melody and theme. There is a bit more screaming and yelling here too, but I love Devin's emotion that he puts behind it. 'Mental Tan' works as a cooling off track after the last crazy rocker. It has a nice, floating feel to it with the melodic guitar and supporting keys and wordless vocals. This leads into 'Gaia' with a sudden increase in intensity and a track driven by a heavy guitar riff and a fast tempo, but with clean vocals despite the heaviness of the track, but with those bursts of emotion. This one is a more straightforward rocker, but great nonetheless.

'Pixilate' starts off with a heavy bass line and middle East inspired vocals. The drums come in and the music continues to churn along. It gets heavier and more orchestral feeling as it goes on, even though the instruments are still your standard rock instruments. DT's wall of sound just has that orchestral quality to it. Deborah Tyzio adds her vocals to this track to contrast some of Devon's emotional and angry vocals that pop up from time to time. Things calm a bit in the middle as that mid-East theme comes back into play. A nice synth solo builds up the intensity again. 'Judgement' starts off as a softer track, but is underlayed by the heavy churning guitar that becomes more prominent, and then Devon's yelling/screaming comes out more on this track than the previous ones on this album. This one gets quite thick and heavy as it continues with a few places where the wall breaks down a bit. You feel like you are buried by a flood of music and emotion. This flows into 'A Simple Lullaby'. This track utilizes layers of guitars to create a melodic wall which is underlayed by what seem like crowd noises. After a while, the drums come in with the guitar laden melody. The band 'Blue Oyster Cult' used to talk about an orchestra of guitars, but this is the sound that I always imagined an orchestra of guitars would make. Vocals come in later, but they are down deep in the wall of sound and just become part of the overall musical effect. The song might be a simple lullaby and in theme, it might be a lullaby, but it is quite loud with all of these layers of sound.

'Sunrise' is a more basic sound, the wall of sound stripped away and a nice melodic guitar line with plenty of keys and this song flows quite nicely. It is a short intermezzo and then another heavy riff brings in the track 'Notes from Africa'. This one features a funky bass behind the other layers of sound. Regular vocals finally come back for the first time since 'Judgement' and the sound is a bit more straightforward for this one, but it is once again a very catchy rhythm and memorable melody. The song is driven by contrasting vocal layers later. The music fades off at 5 minutes and you are left with peaceful sounds of water and birds. The last track is hidden behind this track and is called 'Sunshine and Happiness' with vocals by guitarist Brian Waddell and keyboardist Dave Young. It's a nice surprise and a fun rocking track, which could have worked well as a single, short and fun.

This album is another great DT album with a lot of styles that have been give the Devon Townsend treatment. It may be just a tad more accessible than some of his albums, at least that's what they say, but I find it just as satisfying and great as most of his other albums. The overall feel is heavy, but it is definitely Devin, with lots of emotion, surprises and stylistic changes throughout. It's another great effort from Townsend and in the end, that is a wonderful thing.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 161 ratings

Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by tempest_77

5 stars Devin Townsend's newest release is truly a work of art. From the chill-out feel of the opening track to the epic closer, it's a wild journey of metal, choral arrangements, and all around excellent progressive rock. Some of his most excellent ambient moments since 2001's Terria are on this album, especially the wonderful, albeit brief, "Requiem" track separating the two longer songs on the album. The first full song, "Genesis", is one of the strongest songs on the album, and it serves as sort of an overture to the rest of the album. Other highlights include the groovy track "Hear Me", the wonderful symphonic "Why?", and of course the two longer songs on the album, "Borderlands" and "Singularity". "Borderlands" has a great opening into a dramatic heavy section with some awesome synthesizers throughout the track. "Singularity" is a 23 minute, multi-part epic, that shifts wonderfully between smooth ambient sections, intense heavy sections, and more relaxed sections reminiscent of Porcupine Tree on Lightbulb Sun or Stupid Dream. The album as a whole, of course, utilizes the "wall of sound" technique that Townsend often incorporates, but its lighter moments are a wonderful relief for listeners who usually find the technique to be a bit much. All in all, Empath is sure to be one of the best albums of this year.
 Terria by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.19 | 638 ratings

Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars Devin Townsend's fourth album "Terria" has been considered by many his masterpiece, and you can read all the reasons why in some of the reviews on this site. I completely agree that this is a masterpiece, but being one of Townsend's stalwart fans, it is just one of many of his masterpieces. However, I started exploring his music with this album, and I would recommend it as one of many starting points for others also. After hearing the extreme emotion, heaviness and beauty of this album, if you don't get it, then there probably isn't much of a point to explore further. But, if you love it, then you will definitely be inclined to listen to more.

No one expresses himself like Devin does. His music is heavy, usually described as a wall of sound, which is a good way to explain it. But that sound is full of beauty and emotion, it's just that it is expressed so loudly sometimes, and to me it is hard to do that with the power that Devin does and still make the music so amazing. There are plenty of great tracks here, but I tend to direct people to a few n particular, namely "Earth Day" which is an extreme song about recycling and birthdays and everything. This song is even more personal to me because I can consider it an anthem that Devin wrote about me since my birthday falls on Earth Day. Ok, so maybe it wasn't about me, but it gives me this perceived connection to DT. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the beautiful track "Deep Peace" which is so wonderfully atmospheric and immersive, and that guitar solo in the middle is to die for.

It's not just his extreme and emotional approach to music that I love, but it is his unique sound and the way he orchestrates everything to sound so much like a rock and roll symphony. I also love his powerful vocals, and yes he goes into screaming territory, but he does it right with emotion. On this album, everything has such an epic feel to it, like every note and every passage is important and Devin treats it that way. Devin wanted to make this album his tribute to his country Canada, and the music here conveys the love he has for it. It is an album that comes from his heart and to me, that is very apparent in the music here, everything so carefully crafted into powerful songs that are oftentimes very very loud, but also extremely beautiful and emotional. That is why I have no qualms giving this 5 stars, but also why I consider it one of my personal favorite and rare 6 star perfect albums. My words can't give it the justice it deserves, listen to it and see if it touches you like it touches many other fans out there.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 161 ratings

Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars Devin Townsend just keeps on going and he keeps on releasing amazing albums. "Empath", released in March of 2019, continues his amazing legacy, and fans will not be disappointed. But how do we get the world to listen to this genius of progressive metal? It's true that his extremely emotional vocals and his wall of sound technique doesn't fit everyone's tastes, but man, are these people missing some great music. Many of the tracks feature the "Elektra Women's Choir" which give a really amazing feel to the tracks they are involved in, and make this music even more uplifting.

Leading out with a introductory track, "Castaway" is pretty amazing and set the stage for what is to come. It is a lovely build with a full choir singing at the end that brings it into the next track "Genesis". Then, Bam! Devin is in your face with some of his heaviest vocals and music, but don't worry, even in this first track, there is so much dynamic and variant sound. Che Aimee Dorval, who has worked extensively with Devin in the past, guests on this track, and this is one example of the many tracks that feature multiple drummers (at least 3 in this track). The overall feel of the track is progressive metal, but there are so many changes and surprises around each corner, the choir continues, cats meowing, cows mooing, seagulls screeching, and it all somehow fits together seamlessly. "Spirits will Collide" continues with that uplifting power metal giving breaks in the wall of sound for when the choir sings alone, but bringing it back when Devin joins in. At this risk of sounding sappy, this emotional heaviness can bring one to tears.

Not being one to stand too long in any certain subgenre, Devin ventures into a more symphonic sound in "Evermore" without completely losing the wall so sound feel, but incorporating quieter sections with some great synth work. Devin has a way of turning his heavy music into something that sounds like a complex rock orchestra, and this is very apparent in this track. In "Sprite", which features a strange reading, Devin resorts to his head voice giving it a more airy feel, and the music itself is a more carefree feel, lighter and playful, yet quite complex, as you should expect. But, as with most of his music, there is something lurking underneath it all. Everything bursts into crazy rapid fire notes when we go into the next track "Hold On". Anneke Van Giersbergen, another DT regular guests on vocals along with Chad Kroeger from "Nickelback", though I can't quite pick him out in this crazy music. This track is emotional like the rest, but in a no-holds-barred kind of way, as it is more extreme and loud. But it's still amazing! Yes, there is growling in there, but it only elevates the power of it all. And Devin's vocals are at their extreme on this one too.

"Why?" is the crazy musicianship of Townsend at it's best. This one sounds heavily orchestrated and sounds very Disney-like, complete with birds singing on Devin's shoulders. It might sound corny, but that is why Devin is so damn good at this, because it is just as awesome as everything else on this album. The choir only helps to make this even more believable. The power of Devin's voice becomes almost operatic. "Borderlands" follows and this time starts with a reggae feel, which later becomes complex and then a nice, heavy metal feel soon after. This 11 minutes track is wonderfully progressive and flows so well for a song that goes just about everywhere in musicality and style. If there is one song that demonstrates all of Devin's genius, his penchant for effective use of dynamics, and the many styles that he has touched on in his career, this would be that song. It is a tour de force of his music, even becoming blissfully soft and pensive for several minutes in the middle of the track and then coming out of that mood with the choir leading him along seemingly saying "Don't be sad Devin, lets go play some more". He does for a while, but the track finally ends in an ambient way. This flows into the beautifully constructed "Requiem" which utilizes the choir and is quite orchestral.

As if this isn't enough, Devin puts a 23 minute suite at the end of the album. "Singularity" is a 6 part suite that starts with "Adrift" with a solo electric guitar playing a melody by itself before an acoustic guitar comes in with Devin singling in his best mellow voice. He is later supported by the choir making this a very celestial sounding track, and then DT waxes operatic again, in the best possible way of course. At 5 minutes, "I Am I" goes into a more bombastic style, and the wall of music and vocals returns in a big way. The music mellows out after a while for a quieter section, then at 8:30, part 3, "There Be Monsters" section switches to a darker tone and builds in intensity and then things just go wild in another study in heavy extremes. The fourth part is "Curious Gods" replaces the loudness with a quick calm down and a return to a softer sound after 13 minutes. There are some nice harmonies in the form of layered vocals and complex yet mellower somewhat avant garde sounds and some whistling. When it slips into the next section "Silicon Scientists" things are chaotic, and then get into some interesting meter changes and deep, character style spoken vocals. At around 19 minutes, the last section "Here Comes the Sun", with Devin's vocals coming back softly and things build to climax when Steve Vai comes in for a guitar solo guest spot to complete this epic suite and close this amazing album.

There is a 2nd disc with the limited edition of this album that includes 10 more tracks, most of them demo versions of other songs not on this album. The thing with DT is that his demo songs many times sound like they are finished. I'm not going to go through these tracks, but just know that it is more amazing music from this genius.

Those that were afraid that DT might be losing his edge need not worry. This album is one of his best albums, and that is saying a lot. You get the signature DT sound here, and you get an amazing amount of variety. There is plenty of loudness here that will satisfy the ones that love DT's heaviness, some of which is very extreme and rank up there with his heaviest, but there are some beautiful sublime moments there too. DT always does his best when he is so dynamic as he is in this album. The addition of the choir on many of these tracks give so much depth and emotion to this music.

DT has quickly become my favorite Progressive Metal artist and this album completely solidifies that, but also brings him up to one of my favorite all around artists. If you ever loved DT's music, then you need this album. If you were always on the fence about his music, you need this album. If you have never heard of Devin Townsend, then you definitely need this album. One of the best albums so far this year and I have a feeling, unless something amazing comes along, it will be the best of the year. 5 bright stars.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 161 ratings

Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

5 stars First Listen: Delicious Mess Fifth Listen: Album of the Year 15th Listen: Maybe the best Prog Metal Album ever Made

I am a Devin Townsend uberfan. He is my favorite artist of the last 20 years. At the same time, I was seriously afraid he was finally running out of mojo as I wrote in my review of his final DTP album Transcendence.

I was wrong. The old man has mucho mojo for the mortals still to deliver.

When my non-metal or non-prog friends ask me to describe Devin, I usually say he is the musical grandson of Frank Zappa, as he got his start with Steve Vai who in turn got his start with FZ. Up until now, the comparison was loose. Empath is metal Zappa, composed by a fully matured and sophisticated artist who happens to have the added bonus of being a virtuoso rock vocalist. In fact, among the album's numerous contributors is another Zappa alumnus Mike Keneally who serves as musical director.

It is not an exaggeration to say that this album may have the broadest range of styles ever juxtaposed. The blast beat festival of Hear Me is immediately followed by orchestral / choral Why. And it works. Well, at least after 3-4 listens. This album is not an easy listen, especially the first time through. Not only does it span an enormous palette of musical ideas, it evokes an immense range of emotions. In fact, Townsend has said this is the point of the whole album, that in spite of a chaotic world, we are in the journey together. The thematic idea of the album is monsters and light.

The lead video "Genesis" actually serves as an overture, while the album ends with the 20+ minute multipart epic "Singularity." The prog-head in me giggles at the way this 2019 album follows this classic formula. There are also little musical allusions to other artists, some obvious (Nirvana's "In Bloom") and some subtle (Opeth-ish guitar parts in the epic).

The bonus disc is also excellent, and would have sit nicely in the DT discography if it had been the primary album. It still would have been his best since Epicloud. But like the majority of Dev's albums, it has high points and low points.

Empath itself has no filler. It is the first masterpiece album I've heard in years.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 161 ratings

Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars The more I listen to it, the better it gets. Empath is a unique experience from Devin. If I had to pick a favorite track, I would go with Borderlands. But this is not an album to dissect. Sometimes I just get so lost in the craziness that I do not know what track I am on. Empath has a more electronica vibe to it, and it mixes well with the heaviness. The production is A+, and you need to take it in with good headphones. I do not know where Empath stands yet in my favorites depth chart, but Devin can do no wrong. It is a welcome addition to an excellent catalog of music.
 Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Live, 2018
3.00 | 13 ratings

Ocean Machine - Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars I have been a fan of the manic Canuck for more than 20 years, still cherish my fully-signed copy of Strapping Young Lad's 'Alien' and wouldn't leave home without a copy of the 'Retinal Circus' video loaded onto my phone as one never knows when the urge to watch again will strike. I didn't hear his debut 'Ocean Machine' when it was released but did pick up on his next album 'Infinity' and from there on in was a solid fan. He has a way of creating a wall of sound which no-one else has managed in the modern era, and I grabbed the opportunity when he finally decided to play New Zealand (hey guys, you don't all have to just play the States and Europe you know, we do appreciate it when you get down here as well). He was also playing in my favourite venue (Power Station, which is incredibly reminiscent in many way of the long-lost Marquee), so it was with heavy heart when I left before the end as it was just so, um, boring.

Here we find a long set (triple CD) which includes the whole of his debut 'Ocean Machine' from 1997, along with plenty of other material. As well as the band we are treated to the Orchestra and Choir of Plovdiv State Opera who join in for the first two CDs, but it all feels rather flat. Take opener "Truth" which also appears on 'Retinal Circus': it isn't that Devin is just going through the motions, but where is the bounce and joie de vivre so evident on the earlier live release? Surely it can't just be that Anneke wasn't involved in this? When Devin is on form, having fun, and with the right support around him then he is in a league all his own as his vision and endless musical creativity just lifts him far away from everywhere else. But this could never be an album to introduce a listener to his music, as the spark isn't there. I am sure there are many fans who will buy this, listen to it a few times, then put it back on the shelf and instead turn to the much loved and battered version of 'Retinal Circus' instead. With heavy heart I have to say I can't imagine playing it again.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 161 ratings

Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by keriboi

5 stars Wow. This is nothing like the Devin we have known. Some beautiful music with amazing production. A little cinematic. Always knew this was in Dev. So happy for him. He has nailed this. Die hards may hate it but this is what dev wants at this time in his life. He has pumped out so many albums. Standout song for me was 'why?' This is up there with Ziltiod but totally different. Devs vocals are the best they have ever been. The mixing is right up there and easily the best production of all the devy albums. Must Listen on headphones. Epic Album. Im not sure what Devin can follow this up with. Singularity suite could be an album on its own.

 Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 188 ratings

Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars 'Casualties of Cool' is not just the name of this album, but it is the name of the project of both Devin Townsend and Che Aimee Dorval and was released in 2014. Che has participated in some of Devin's other projects, but this is the first one that actually has full collaboration from the both of them. If you expect this to be another of Devin's heavy albums, though, you better think twice. Not to say that this is not a great album, because it is and it demonstrates the genius behind both artists. Now, you can hear hints of Devin's sound in this, but the shocker is that these songs are based around country, blues, psychedelic and ambient music. In other words, if country music could be progressive, this is what it would sound like.

Don't let the country moniker scare you away though, because if you do, you will be missing something that is quite excellent here. You know if Townsend is involved, that you will get an end result totally unique, and Dorval's added collaboration only strengthens it. Many other musicians are also involved in creating the music on this album. The album is a concept album in that there is a sci-fi style story line behind it all. A man living on a moon with nothing but an old radio listens to old style songs to try to avoid his fears, that is the concept in a nutshell. All of the songs are tied together in that they run into each other like a continuous suite almost. Many of the tracks also have sections that involve different styles to help keep the storyline cohesive.

Starting out with 'Daddy', Dorval sings the vocals and the feeling is definitely inspired by country music, but there are shades of psychedelia in there, especially when moving to the next track. The song is great, it is something definitely new and unique, yet tied to old styles. 'Mountaintop' features Townsend's airy vocals, they are strong, yet light, and definitely far away from his extreme vocals. Again, there is that lush and beautiful texture to the music and it continues with a nice upbeat song, but somewhere towards the end it veers off into psychedelic and ambient territory, yet sounds just like it should be doing that, not just something 'glued' together, but moving there naturally. It's this ambience that takes us into 'Flight' and a beautiful mix of acoustic guitar and lovely electronic effects that create the texture.

'The Code' has a snappy toe-tapping rhythm, but with the echo-y sound especially in the vocals that keeps things mysterious and unique. There is even a nice Walter Becker style guitar solo in there. The sound of frogs tie the tracks together as 'Moon' starts, which has a rhythmic base similar to 'Run Like Hell' from Pink Floyd, but the similarity ends there in this track which is more of an ambient sound, but with a percussive effect that almost sounds like a train chugging far off in the distance. Layered harmonies and a sax keep the other-worldly sound along with the lush texture. The dying sounds of the end of that track carry us into 'Pier' which is an instrumental ambient/psychedelic track as the trance-like feel breaks slowly down as the track continues turning the train sound to the sound of ticking clocks, which slow down even more signifying time passing more and more slowly. 'Ether' picks up the tempo again as Devon and Che harmonize with their beautifully layered vocals. The hazy sound of the track reflects the title quite well.

'Hejda' is another psychedelic and experimental track that brings in a tribal rhythm and Native American feel with the tribal flute, and various other effects and a few subdued vocals. Very spacey and traditional at the same time. 'Forgive Me' has the folk-blues vibe along the lines of Dire Straits, but mostly with Che's vocals and later with those lovely, other-worldly harmonies. 'Broken' is almost cinematic with a chamber male choir and almost symphonic sound. 'Bones' is a pensive track featuring Che, a sitar and a lovely melody with an almost European feel. 'Deathscope' builds a boogie sound ala Johnny Cash style. But this isn't Cash, it's Townsend, so be careful where you step. You might line dance yourself into a black hole. You haven't heard anything like this, I guarantee that, and that is what makes it sooooooooo coooooool. The last half of the track goes completely ambient and eerie. I told you to be careful, but you didn't listen.

'The Field' manages to pull an acoustic guitar out of the ambience with a nice western style ballad. I only have one word, Brilliant! 'The Bridge' has got a peaceful and lovely mid-Eastern vibe to it in the beginning. It builds slowly and becomes quite cinematic and amazing, especially with the choir effects and subdued vocals. But when the climax hits in the middle and towards the end, it will take your breath away. After that, it calms again and soon Devin sings in his head voice. This music is Zen! Absolutely gorgeous. 'Pure' begins with a wind effect and a solo Native American flute to act as a cool down for that last track.

This is one of those albums that is meant to be played as an album. Together, this is a musical experience that is so hard to describe, it just has to be heard. There is a 2nd disc included with the special edition that has outtakes from this album along with alternate versions. It also contains some songs that were recorded for the scrapped 'Ghost 2' project, and it works better as a separate entity from this amazing album, yet it is still worth your while to get.

This album is without a doubt one of the best that Townsend has a hand in, and that is saying a lot. The sound of the music is literally out of this world. It is like you are listening to regular music as you are falling asleep (if you have ever done this, I think you know what I mean), or like your head is in a fog and all of these beautiful sounds and textures are melding together and going into your ears. You just have to listen to it to understand, but I mean to really listen and not have anything else going on. There is so much to grasp here and the genius of Townsend and Dorval is undeniable. No doubt that this is an essential album that sounds like nothing else.

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

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