Terria
DEVIN TOWNSEND

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DEVIN TOWNSEND - Terria cover
4.15 | 82 ratings | 9 reviews
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Album · 2001

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

1. Olives (3:21)
2. Mountain (6:32)
3. Earth Day (9:35)
4. Deep Peace (7:34)
5. Canada (6:53)
6. Down and Under (3:43)
7. The Fluke (7:16)
8. Nobody's Here (6:54)
9. Tiny Tears (9:12)
10. Stagnant (5:25)
11. Humble (5:29)

Total Time: 71:59

Line-up/Musicians

- Devin Townsend / guitar, vocals, ambience, samples, keyboards
- Gene Hoglan / drums
- Craig McFarland / fretless bass
- Jamie Meyer / piano, keyboards

About this release

Label: HevyDevy Records
Release Date: November 6, 2001

Limited edition contains a bonus disc with the following track:

1. Universal (5:53)

Thanks to negoba, Stooge, adg211288, bartosso, Lynx33 for the updates

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DEVIN TOWNSEND TERRIA reviews

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martindavey87
I never considered myself much of a fan of this whole "experimental/post metal/tech metal" thing (I don't really understand what any genre of music with the word "post" in it means). I bought this album because it was cheap. I knew of Devin Townsend by reputation, but have never thought of myself as a fan. He did produce Stuck Mojo's 'Pigwalk' though, and that album is bloody brilliant!

But 'Terria'... one great big ball of "meh" from me. I find most of the songs too slow paced for my liking. Not that I mind slower songs, but these ones just plod along uninterestingly. Other than two songs, 'Earth Day' and 'Nobody's Here' (admittedly, two very good songs), I find most of the album boring. There's nothing catchy or memorable that incites anything from me other than dreariness.

The record does have a very "big" sound, and the vocals blend in with the music very well to create an almost dreamlike ambience. Sadly it just doesn't do anything to make the album any more appealing to me.

Devin Townsend's 'Terria' is not awful by any stretch, but it's just really not my thing. Simple as that.

I'd rather listen to Stuck Mojo!
voila_la_scorie
If the ratings on Prog Archives are any indication, then 'Terria' is the apex of Devin Townsend's solo career efforts before he went and formed a proper band, Devin Townsend Band, for his song-writing efforts outside of Strapping Young Lad. Disregarding the Punky Brewster band project of the mid-nineties, 'Terria' is his fourth solo album and it follows one of his most critically spurned albums, 'Physicist'. However, while 'Physicist' was for the most part a very thrash-based, aggressive album that suffered from a production that even the supporting band (the Strapping Young Lad dudes) disliked, 'Terria' delivers a greater diversity of sound in a warm, well-produced sonic atmosphere. It is as though the fruit went a bit sour with 'Physicist' but has reached perfect maturity here.

Typical of many of Devin Townsend's pre-Devin Townsend Project solo albums, 'Terria' integrates a variety of styles and influences. The opening track 'Olives' is very much post-metal / experimental with a spoken dialogue slowed down, sound effects, and a musical theme that takes time to build to a powerhouse of simple heavy chords. 'Mountain' begins with an intense pounding of heavy music with Devin singing in his softer, higher register. But the music then goes of exploring in a non-aggressive vein with a melody of 'whoa-whoa' before returning to the thunder of the beginning with a trademark scream. It's interesting to point out at this time that the guitar sound is not Devin's usual rich distortion tones but a simpler sound more like seventies proto- metal. If you are familiar with Captain Beyond's debut album then that is more like the guitar sound you will find here just with more bass backing it. It strikes me as having a very earthy feel to it, and in the song 'Canada', which almost has a slow and heavy country vibe to it, the guitar sound really suits the music. Of course, there are other songs and moments with really loud guitar distortion and production.

Other styles to be found on 'Terria' include the unusual (for Devin) simple but classically influenced guitar solo in 'Deep Peace'; an 80's power ballad-styled number with 'Nobody's Here' which comes complete with an emotive guitar solo; an 80's hair-band song with 'Stagnant' that sounds like it could have been the closing track on an album by Cinderella or London Quireboys; and the pretty instrumental number 'Down and Under', which begins with some acoustic strumming and gradually moves to a heavier theme but not without returning to its upbeat sound at the conclusion.

For a Devin Townsend album (or Strapping Young Lad for that matter), 'Terria' includes an unusual amount of guitar soloing. According to the article on Wikipedia, Devin doesn't like shredding and only includes a guitar solo is he feels it can work within the musical framework of a song. Thus it is possible to find few if any proper guitar solos on many of his albums. Yet 'Terria' includes solos on five tracks, and Devin proves that he is capable of soloing in different styles that do indeed suit the music. In fact, listening to 'Accelerated Evolution', 'Deconstruction', and Strapping Young Lad's 'The New Black', Devin proves that he has worked very hard to be able to pull off some excellent guitar solos. But again, typical of him, he only employs any of his particular skills when he feels it belongs in a song or instrumental piece.

No early Devin Townsend album would be complete without nature sounds, radio broadcasts, background music, and other sonic decor. We can hear a Chinese radio broadcast at the conclusion of 'Mountain', a French-Canadian radio broadcast at the end of 'Canada' and also in 'Canada', a curious slowed-down recording of the beginning of a story about a bird in a nest. This recording was included at normal speed and in a longer version at the end of the 'Detox' '96 demo, which appeared as a bonus track on the reissue of Strapping Young Lad's 'City'. I have read that this is actually a recording of a story written and read out by a very young Devin Townsend.

There are two additional points to mention about the music here. The first is the curious and for me disappointing conclusion to 'The Fluke'. The song begins almost in a pop punk / 90's radio rock style which veers more into a progressive metal direction. Then the guitar and band abruptly get cancelled and some ambient / experimental keyboard sounds take over for a moment. This gets supplanted by some quick notes that play like a seventies electronic album, and this in turn drops out to be replaced by a low pulsing tone. Static fades in over the low tone and a clean guitar sound over the static brings us to the end and leads us into the next track, 'Nobody's Here'. The other bizarre track is the hidden one at the end, 'Humble' which begins very promisingly with some strummed guitar backed by bass guitar and string synthesizer. It sounds like the makings of a demo, the early framework of a song. The music attempts to move in a new direction, there's a mistake, someone laughs, the recording breaks to silence for a second, and returns. The song is abandoned for another take but then a backwards recording runs on repeat until the end of the track. This lasts for about three minutes, and at one point some water drop sounds come in. Weird.

I gave the Devin Townsend Band's 'Synchestra' four and a half stars and at first I was sure that I would give this album four, in spite of it being Devin's most highly rated album on Prog Archives. However, with each subsequent listen, the album grew on me more. I now feel it makes for a very good companion album to 'Synchestra', namely because the albums both sound very earthy to me though different in guitar sound and overall musical approach. Still, they share a commonality in that they both feature some simple heavy music in a progressive vein and some more complex music at times. The vocals cover nearly all of Devin's diverse range of ability and the music styles also spread out. In fact, if these two albums share any direct bond it can be found in a riff in 'Earth Day' which sounds very similar to a riff that surfaces in 'Baby Song' on 'Synchestra'. In style alone, 'Synchestra' makes for a good logical successor to 'Terria' even though there is a five-year gap between the two that is filled with Devin's first ambient / experimental album 'Devlab', the Devin Townsend Band's first album 'Accelerated Evolution', and two Strapping Young Lad albums!

If you are interested in progressive metal that includes traditional metal, hair metal, experimental and post metal, with a bit of aggro-metal thrown in, topped off with a twinge of heavy country on 'Terria' and world music on 'Synchestra' then I recommend buying both of these albums together.
arcane-beautiful
Having released what was a disappointment to most of his fans, Devin felt a bit lost. Then an idea hit him...why don't I make an album about myself and my native land of Canada.

To most people, this idea would seem barking mad, but because it's Devin behind the wheel, he has made what I think to be one of the most beautiful albums I've ever heard in my life.

Musically this album is a sonic step in the right direction. The loud parts of Devin's music are even more like a giant wall of sound, with the production being spot on. But, with the loud comes the quiet, with some moments of this album being some of Devin's most prettiest and beautiful musical work to date.

On this album Devin has gone into more personal territory, especially lyrically. But, the lyrics throughout are very vague at times, making the album seem a lot more personal in nature. The album themes also cross into native territory, with Devin showing signs of homesickness to his native Canada. The artwork in this album is also astounding, with artist Travis Smith, creating some of his best artwork to date.

The opening track “Olives” is a rather comical opening to the album. Some nice instrumental work throughout too. In many ways, the song reminds me of something Pink Floyd would have done during the late 70s.

The weakest song on the album for me would have to be “Mountain.” I kind of feel this song is almost the intro of the album, but to be honest, “Olives” is already the perfect intro to this album, so it seems that it's not really needed.

“Earth Day” has to be one of my all time favourite Devin Townsend tracks. If you haven't heard this track you need to here this one. This is definitely one of the more diverse songs in Devin's catalogue, fusing metal with more groovy orientated rock. Lyrically the song is also rather humorous, which makes the song even more enjoyable.

“Deep Peace” is a song that has it's roots grounded in its instrumental work. With some stellar guitar work from Devin showing off a wide spectacle of Devin's guitar work, moving from Pink Floydian moments to neo classical showmanship. A pinnacle of the album.

“Down & Under”, the album's instrumental shows off a lot of compositional skills. Building upon a simple acoustic guitar riff, the song explodes with a lot of power and energy.

“Nobody's Here” is very much the ballad of the album. A very simple song for Devin, but behind the simplicity, the beauty shines forth even more.

One of the album's epics “Tiny Tears”, it has a very beautiful feel throughout. In fact, how it builds up without the need for a giant explosion is very smart, and works very well in the songs favour.

The album closer “Stagnant” is a brilliant ender to the album. A song that pretty much ties a lot of strings together musically, it has a more relaxed feel with some stellar vocal work from Devin.

In conclusion, this is an absolute beautiful and odd masterpiece. This is a must have for fans of Devin;s music, because pretty much everything great about his musical talent and skill is all here on this album. A progression is also seen to what would soon become his more standard sound. While “Ocean Machine” birthed his musical sound, this was a step in the right direction and a further progression into Devin's musical world.

8.8/10
Warthur
Devin Townsend is shaping up to be another one of those prog metal acts which I just don't get. I can appreciate the technicality of Terria, for instance, and I admit the task he poses himself of combining the prog rock approach and musical motifs of Yes with his own musical style represents an interesting challenge. But still, the album seems somehow fake and insincere to me, and I can't connect to it on an emotional level; nor can I get much of a handle on the atmosphere Townsend is trying to attain with the album. It just seems rather boring and irritatingly New Agey to me.
AtomicCrimsonRush
One incredible composition after another on one incredible album

Terria is perhaps the greatest thing Devin Townsend has done up to Ziltoid, which is masterful in it's own quirky way. Terria is a serious emotional album reflecting on life and it's source and the emotions of the earth. To capture such beauty Devin delves headlong into darkness and then shines with rays of hope to present some truly uplifting music that will resonate with some listeners in an unforgettable way. At first listen the album washes over and seems to just flow like waves over the listener and after the first two tracks I found myself forgetting I was listening to a particular song as it all seemed to blend seamlessly. Then Earth Day started and I sat up and simply was astonished at the structure, the time sigs, the musicianship and Devin's incredible vocal treatment and the anger that is invoked is unbelievable. A masterpiece track for Devin that will mark his music forever.

Then the album seems to pick up pace with one incredible composition after another. After the brutal confronting Mountain and Earth Day, Devin takes us on an emotional journey through the Canadian countryside and beyond into the very soul of a torn and broken man; there is melancholy solitude in Deep Peace, the freedom and exhilaration of exploring nature on a freeway in Canada, the reflective nuances of Down and Under, the ferocity of The Fluke, the sense of loss and alienation in Nobody's Here, the exploration of sadness in Tiny Tears, and the joyful exuberance of Stagnant. Then Universal takes us to another level again, just as Olives sent us into the realm of the imagination at the beginning of the album. At the end of the journey we are released into the bright sunshine; the ray of hope that lifts up the human spirit.

Terria is a masterpiece for all these reasons and the fact that Devin did everything right with this album. The songs are multilayered with various instruments and vocals, and it is a veritable wall of sound that lifts the roof off anything he has done previously. There are a lot of subtle hidden treasures to unearth to ensure repeated listens will not get laborious. I can assure you that this album is one you will return to and hopefully by the end of each journey you will feel lifted up and refreshed by a master of his craft; the great Devin Townsend.

Conor Fynes
'Terria' - Devin Townsend (10/10)

Devin Townsend is an artist known for his strange, yet undeniably original and unique music. 'Terria' is no exception. However, it's full beauty did not reveal itself to me until after a good many listens.

At first listen, one may be puzzled by the overtracked recording, surreal lyrics, and incredibly anti- commercial approach to myself. Townsend defies many conventions, and alot of the songwriting may seem 'odd' or anti-climactic to one that isn't used to it. However, as the sounds become more familiar, it starts to wash over you, and the true magic of 'Terria' unfolds.

'Terria' has such a magic power about it, bestowing upon the artist the power to transport you wherever he wants you to go. A very earth-based album (much alike Synchestra) there are many recurring themes of nature wound around the music. Possibly the most defining quality of Terria, and Devin Townsend's music (in my opinion) is his unparelleled recording technique. With the incredibly dense overdubs, there is a 'noisy' quality to it that contributes greatly to the 'organic' quality of the album.

'Terria' is one of the most powerful musical journies I've ever been on, and anyone willing to take a leap of faith and listen to something a bit 'out there' is more than recommended to try out this masterpiece. A top five record for me.

Negoba
Devy's Masterpiece

Devin Townsend is a productive guy, with lots of examples of his unique style ranging from purely ambient works to one of the heaviest albums ever made. The word "Genius" gets thrown around alot when discussing his creative production, and there is no doubt that his muse is pulling from some plane of existence that most of us don't even perceive. And Terria, well, this is the peak. Here he pulls on the full range of his musical world and in typical fashion, just as it's reaching an insanely intense peak, he breaks to say "After all you're just talking meat, and music, it's just entertainment folks."

After the spacy montage "Olives" sets the stage, we get the metal ambient work of "Mountain," which has an ethereal lyric "You are so beautiful to me." over a harsh vocal screaming "Suffer." Blast beats with angel choruses, guitar armies, screams, it's all here.

And then comes "Earth Day." The over 9-minute tour-de-force comes in with an nearly screamed "Eat Your Beets. Recycle." refrain that was the first thing I ever heard from Devy since a brief sampling of the Steve Vai album over 15 years before. My reaction, and I imagine the reaction of many was "WTF is this?" The actual first verse doesn't start until 2:30. The rapid-fire vocals at 3:40 are as heavy as anything Devy did with SYL. And we have yet another soaring theme to come, a bridge of sorts at 6:40, and once more through the main sections. The power of the piece takes several listens to soak in, but after that, it is musical ecstasy (at least for me.)

How do you follow the best song of a brilliant career? Well, you bring it way down and let the listener rest for a second. We get the heart-wrenching "Deep Peace" which is a logical descendent of "Sister" from the Ocean Machine album. But where "Sister" always felt laden with unrealised potential, "Deep Peace" has a powerful lyric which is superficially lovey-dovey but hints at serious demons under the surface. It includes an amazing electric solo, so uniquely Devy, enormous and overwhelming though not that technical. It's composed as a piece of music and when the band comes in, I'm nearly brought to tears.

This song segues directly into "Canada," which continues in the huge, epic vein of the previous track. Though not quite as powerful as "Earth Day," the big chorus of "It's oil, it's beef, etc." is a classic Devy odd ball lyric. The upbeat and happy "Down and Under" releases the heavy mood next, and is predominantly instrumental. The trend continues with the almost overtly pop "The Fluke" which is my least favorite song on the record. Still, it develops by midway into another enormous production with seemingly hundreds of tracks playing simultaneously. "Nobody Here" is a poppish, melancholy ballad which continues the flow of the album nicely. "Tiny Tears" continues in the slower vein, building layer by layer with great lyrics to the point that the last bars have a thundering metal riff. "Stagnant" is another pop tune that leaves the listener of this extremely dense album with something a little lighter to see them home.

While metal is enormous part of this album, it extends far beyond any one genre. It is one of the best album made since 2000, and possibly the best.

Bottom Line: Amazing Masterpiece
Phonebook Eater
8/10

“Terria” is an immense album,thanks to its earthy, atmospheric moods that share the stage with gigantic heavy walls of sound that make Devin's music so unique.

It took me a while to appreciate this album in it’s entirety. I always loved the first couple of songs, but I was never really into the last couple of tracks. I have to say this one was a grower, and boy, did it grow on me.

Devin Townsend with this album reaches to his highest peak, and also arrives to maturity, after a few albums. The only album that was able, after the release of this album, to equalize “Terria” was “Ziltoid The Omniscient”, the other Devin Townsend masterpiece.

“Terria” is, in a way, the most experimental album by Townsend; strange atmospheric soundscapes, which remind of a remote, deserted, and foggy plain ( see the artwork cover), are alternated with heavy but melodic moments, strong, powerful vocals as well as soft, delicate ones. The album that mostly defines Towsend’s crazy world.

The opening track, “Olives”, is quite eerie, being a sort of sample of a man speaking with a very low voice, as well as an avant garde song with different, strange, and a bit creepy parts. Towards the end, the song explodes into a heavy, simple riff, which ends almost immediately, with the end of the song.

“Mountain” can easily be considered one of Townsend’s best and finest songs. Mysterious, but epic, with haunting vocals by Devin, at times strong, at times delicate and suspended. Brilliant time changes, this is one of the artist’s most progressive songs in my opinion.

“Earth Day” is much longer than the first and second episode, since the time clocks around nine-ten minutes. Another Devin masterpiece: alarmed atmosphere, many times changes, many excellent themes and riffs. Great chorus, great verse, and very well done experimentation. Another key track.

“Deep Peace” is very different; like the title implies, the mood is very calm and delightful, thanks to the surrounding atmospheres and the relaxing, simple guitar notes. It get’s heavier and heavier, but it never becomes too hard. The experimentation is sublime in this piece.

“Canada” has a great melody, great passages and moments. Devin is in shape for this song, since he gives a brilliant vocal performance, and really makes the song. Even this song isn’t as heavy as “Mountain” and “Earth Day”, it’s lot dreamier, relaxing, and cheerful. Brilliant song.

“Down and Under” is a great interlude, a pause, a parenthesis. Or, it can be considered a bridge, that connects the first and second part of the album. The riff is great, even though it’s always perpetual, for the entire song. Still, awesome climax and great bridge.

“The Fluke” is a very catchy song, and possibly one of Townsend’s best. Great vocals, great verse, too bad the chorus isn’t as good. It is a lot faster than “Deep peace” and “Canada”, as well as much heavier and technical, musically speaking. Still, it has it’s delicate vocals, like during the verse. I love this song. “Nobody’s Here” is another great experimental song, for it’s deserted soundscapes. Great melody, in both the verse, which is between prog and psych, and the chorus, much more enlivened. I never liked this song much, now I love it.

“Tiny Tears” is the other very long song (9 minutes), although it doesn’t reach the same levels as “Earth Day”. It has an interesting melody in the beginning, it get’s more plain after, when the electric guitars come in. Generally speaking, this is the dreamiest and spaciest song. In fact, it took me a while to fully understand it.

“Stagnant” is much more down earth. The melody is great, very cheerful and optimistic, like usually Townsend likes to end an album. I hated this song for a while there, now, of course I love it. Very catchy and memorable, I really don’t understand how I didn’t appreciate it earlier. Great way to end an album.

“Terria” is an immense album,thanks to it's earthy, atmospheric moods that share the stage with gigantic heavy walls of sound that make Devin's music so unique. Certainly its the artist’s masterpiece, a brilliant progressive album, that should be in every prog and metal fan's collection.

Members reviews

Earendil
What an album! I first heard Terria about a year ago and didn't think much of it, but (thankfully) I decided to really listen to it. The album pulses with such high levels of beauty, anger, and peace that it's incredible it all works. But it does! The guitars switch between massively powerful and intimate effortlessly, creating an atmosphere that seems to say "there's a place for anger, but ultimately, the world is a place of wonder." Terria successfully transports the listener to this world of vastness that manages to still feel grounded. It's a dense, yet surprisingly accessible masterpiece. Rating: 10/10

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