DEVIN TOWNSEND
Progressive Metal / Non-Metal • Canada

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Devin Garrett Townsend (born May 5, 1972 in New Westminster, Canada) is an influential canadian multi-instrumentalist musician, vocalist and record producer, drawing on progressive metal with influences from jazz, blues, progressive rock, industrial, pop, ambient and classical music. He first came to widespread public exposure when Steve Vai tapped him as lead vocalist for his "Sex and Religion" album at age 21. He is the founding member of the extreme metal outfit Strapping Young Lad, and has released a multitude of his own albums under the monikers Ocean Machine, Devin Townsend, The Devin Townsend Band, and now Devin Townsend Project. His five-album contract deal with Strapping Young Lad was fulfilled with the release of 2006's The New Black, leaving the band on indefinite hiatus. The Devin Townsend Band was also retired from touring later that year. Townsend has stated that he will pursue his role as a record producer for read more...
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Inside Out Music 2009
Audio CD$11.10
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TerriaTerria
Import
Imports 2012
Vinyl$23.99
$13.77 (used)
Presents: Ziltoid the OmniscientPresents: Ziltoid the Omniscient
Inside Out 2007
Audio CD$9.69
$9.67 (used)
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Inside Out U.S. 2011
Audio CD$8.95
$8.27 (used)
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Limited Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2011
Audio CD$7.95
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Limited Edition
Plastic Head 2011
Vinyl$18.05
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Inside Out U.S. 2009
Audio CD$9.34
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DEVIN TOWNSEND Discography

DEVIN TOWNSEND albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.12 | 42 ratings
Ocean Machine: Biomech
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.74 | 24 ratings
Infinity
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.38 | 23 ratings
Physicist
Progressive Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 4.19 | 74 ratings
Terria
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.01 | 38 ratings
Accelerated Evolution
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 2.03 | 10 ratings
Devlab
Non-Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.72 | 38 ratings
Synchestra
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.47 | 9 ratings
Hummer
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 4.26 | 90 ratings
Ziltoid The Omniscient
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 38 ratings
Ki
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.80 | 44 ratings
Addicted
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.92 | 48 ratings
Deconstruction
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 3.47 | 41 ratings
Ghost
Non-Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.10 | 28 ratings
Epicloud
Progressive Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 3.78 | 7 ratings
Z2
Progressive Metal 2014

DEVIN TOWNSEND EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.14 | 3 ratings
Infinity Ep: Christeen + 4 Demos
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Projekt Eko
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 4.07 | 3 ratings
European Tour
Progressive Metal 2011

DEVIN TOWNSEND live albums

.. Album Cover 4.05 | 3 ratings
Official Bootleg 2000
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.55 | 3 ratings
Unplugged
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.18 | 5 ratings
By A Thread: Live In London 2011
Progressive Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 4 ratings
The Retinal Circus
Progressive Metal 2013

DEVIN TOWNSEND demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

DEVIN TOWNSEND boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
Ass-Sordid Demos: 1990-1996
Progressive Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Ass-Sordid Demos II
Progressive Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 4.75 | 2 ratings
Contain Us
Progressive Metal 2012

DEVIN TOWNSEND singles (1)

.. Album Cover
3.00 | 1 ratings
Christeen
Progressive Metal 1998

DEVIN TOWNSEND movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

DEVIN TOWNSEND Reviews

DEVIN TOWNSEND Z2

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Z² (short for Ziltoid 2; pronounced "Zed squared" or alternately Zee Two) is a combo pack from Mr DEVIN TOWNSEND but has been released in three different editions.

The jewel case edition (which i have) contains the two main albums: SKY BLUE and DARK MATTERS. The limited digipak edition contains the two main albums, a third CD that is DARK MATTERS without dialogue and extra artwork. The Japanese limited edition contains all of the above with a bonus “Loud Park” concert on DVD which was taken from a show in Saitama, Japan on October 2013.

OK. Let’s get to the music. The two discs basically are sequels of previous albums. SKY BLUE is a collection of metallic dance pop tunes that basically continues the ideas that are presented on “Epicloud” only not quite as well IMHO. While all is pleasantly delivered in a trancy dancy fashion, it doesn’t really expand the ideas in any particular way. This portion of the album is nice and all but really makes me just want to go back on listen to “Epicloud” which i found to be a very nice dance pop take in the metal world.

DARK MATTERS is the sequel for “Ziltoid The Omnisicient” which i believe is one of the best TOWNSEND projects he has yet put out. While the original was a one-man show (for the most part) this is a major production under the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT. I very rarely like sequels and i have to say that this one seems particularly unnecessary. The whole thing feels forced and reminds me of one trick ponies that milk it for everything that can be milked. I feel the original ZILTOID idea was brilliant but really needed no further expansion. While the original was a really cute over-the-top musical production by DEVIN alone, this one seems like it was tweaked and stuffed with so many sounds and ideas that it explodes on itself. I mean, really what’s the fascination with a Therion style symphonic embellishment complete with full choirs with a majorly unsatisfying expansion of the story around which the musical ideas gravitate. There is lots of borrowing of North American cartoons going on here. The narration reminds me of Rocky & Bullwinkle while the whole production reminds me of Dr Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” goes Broadway. Their is a showtune approach to a whimsical idea that is devoid of enough substance for my gleeful consumption.

This is a bit disappointing as i was expecting a ZILTOID experience that delivered at least a partial experience of the first but the contrast between the over-production and weakness of the plot which dictates any musical development just leaves me wanting to go back and listen to the original which was surprisingly balanced. The Who’s down in Who-ville liked Ziltoid a lot but the Grinch who loved Ziltoid, the sequel does not. It all feels contrived and forced and parts go on and on. Like Saturday Night Live sketches that were excellent for a one-time skit of whimsy, so was ZILTOID, but for such a project to be able to expand beyond its initial parameters requires more substance than what i find going on here. Overall, this isn’t a horrible combo package but it doesn’t feel like a necessary one either and i really hope there isn’t a ZILTOID franchise in the making after hearing this. Heavy Devvy has many hits and misses of his career and in my world this one just feels lost and contrived by adding bombast without any substance to back it up.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Physicist

Album · 2000 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
Whenever I get into a band or artist and like them to the point that I decide to get all the studio albums I know there will be an album or two that fail to grab me. With Devin Townsend, the album I like least is this one, an album that is almost unanimously one of his least impressive a midst a catalogue rife with impressive albums. The man himself counts this as his biggest solo effort flop and the backing band (the Strapping Young Lad guys) are also unanimous in their dislike for the album.

The problem is mostly with the production and not the music itself. Devin's early albums are not as fine tuned production wise as his later stuff; however, "Physicist" is really a muddied effort. The project was initially conceived by a joint venture with Jason Newsted who was with Metallica at the time, but Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield did not want any member of Metallica involved in projects outside the band. Devin decided to continue on his own and called in the members of Strapping Young Lad, Devin's flagship band, to record the music. His desire was to combine the bright pop metal of Def Leppard with thrash metal. The thrash element is there without a doubt. But the bright pop metal appears only in the form of some keyboards which in a lot of cases do not work well with the rest of the music. Devin would later get the sound right on his Devin Townsend Project albums like "Epicloud", which features a much better version of the "Physicist" track "Kingdom".

If you listen to this album along with some other Devin Townsend albums or other modern albums, you will instantly notice that the sound quality is lacking. The other day, though, I listened to this album first thing in the morning while commuting to work and it sounded better than when placed against a background of superior recordings. The thrashier tracks likes "Namaste" and "Death" don't sound too bad for thrash metal. I also rather like how the keyboards add some melody to songs like "The Complex" and "Jupiter". "Kingdom" is good here. It's just that the song sounds so much better on "Epicloud" which I heard first.

The big "epic" here is said to be "Planet Rain". As the longest track it does have room to move and change rhythm and atmosphere, which it does in roughly four distinct parts, but I don't feel that it is anything particularly exciting. Perhaps for those who don't care for thrash too much this is a welcome respite. But compared to Devin's "Terria" and "Synchestra" or even "Biomech: Ocean Machine", this song needs some help.

Ultimately, this is a thrash metal album and there's not much here that illustrates Devin's more prog or post metal side. As a thrash album it's okay but the bright keyboards don't always improve the song quality. As a progressive album it seems that this is more of an experiment that didn't work out as well as it was intended. From time to time it's alright to listen through on its own. But Devin Townsend has much better music with much better production elsewhere.

Overall, I prefer his Strapping Young Lad albums more for the heavy stuff and some of his other solo albums for the more interesting stuff. But I'll say again that the other morning it did sound not so bad for the first time.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Z2

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
The original Ziltoid album, “Ziltoid the Omniscient” was a one-man show. Devin Townsend recorded the whole thing at home, playing all instruments except for drums, for which he used Drum Kit from Hell to program the drums. He did nearly all the voices: vocals, Ziltoid and his crew, Captain Spectacular, narrator, Planet Smasher and others. There are only two other names credited as guests (one called The Beav) who provided a small contribution. The story was wacky, cheesy, silly. The music sincere, loud, fun, and often really good. Whether you liked it or not, it was an album that showed what one person’s imagination could do and get away with. It was crazy. It was cool because it was so crazy.

“Zed Squared”, as it is called (written as Z to the power of 2), is the sequel, and like many sequels to original movies, the budget was way bigger this time. No longer a one-man show, this album features a band, a choir, and an orchestra along with guests playing the main characters (Chris Jericho as Captain Spectacular, Dominique Lenore Persi as Blataria the War Princess, and famous broadcaster Bill Courage as the narrator). You could compare the two albums to “Terminator” and “T2” for budget or “Alien” and “Aliens” for a boost in the cast. The album is big and loud, the story cheesier and sillier, the music over the top, and the voices and sound effects will make you feel like some 50’s B sci-fi movie has been remade into a heavy metal musical.

Devin himself has stated in interviews that even he can’t say what the true meaning behind it all is. He won’t know for a while. For now, more than anything, he hopes that someday in the future people will look back on this album and think that it was incredible that anyone could do this. Not just him. This entire project with so many people involved to make the vision come true. About the story he has also said that many ideas were given to him by children and that he sucks at writing stories. But he loves theater and entertainment and puppets (“The Dark Crystal” left an indelible mark on him as a child) and he really wanted this to be a huge production. In fact, it was so demanding that numerous times he wanted to just quit. But he didn’t and that’s one big reason why he’s so proud of it. In addition, the schools were on strike while he was working on wrapping up the album and kids were tearing up the place.

Keeping the big impossible production theme in mind, you’ll find that the story and voices drive the album along as much as or perhaps even more than the music. I find myself paying more attention to the story and voice acting than many of the songs. Bill Courage is excellent and a familiar voice to me, having grown up in Canada with Bill’s voice often on television programs. Some of the lines in the script are so silly and Bill hits the delivery right on. There is so much that is cliché in this story and so much ham, cheese, and corn that you’ll wish you had some bread to go with it except that Devin spent all the bread on making an animatronic Ziltoid puppet (search for Ziltoid ZTV on YouTube).

As everything is so big and loud, I find that my visual impression of the music is not of a 3-D array of instruments and voices where I can move between the sounds and pick out the individual instruments but rather like a wall with a raised-relief surface in which the instruments are carved. It can be a little too solid, dense, and massive at times. And although I have been enjoying the album so far, only songs have really stood out for me and called for stand-alone replays: “War Princess” and “Death Ray”, the latter being full of clichés both in compositional style and voice acting lines. It is so brilliant like that though, and I love it! “People of Earth! We are your Poozonian overlords. You Cannot run. Resistance is futile. Hand over your coffee!”

Actually, between typing this and posting it, I had a chance to listen to “Deconstruction” by the Devin Townsend Project and these two albums are musically siblings, both with big production, choirs orchestras, guest vocalists, and a distinct dense sound.

If there are any real disappoints for me, they are in changes made to the story. In particular, after so much was made about the Planet Smasher (a.k.a. Herman) coming to earth, it was a let down to hear him described as being a cute furry little creature the size of a football, whose voice could destroy entire galaxies. In the CD booklet that came with “Ziltoid the Omniscient”, the Planet Smasher is said to be so huge that he can’t help but destroy planets when he moves about. But perhaps in his sixth dimensional nature he is as such. In his three dimensional form his only appears to be so small and cuddly. There are a few other small misses in attention to scientific and language detail that irk me a touch but I can let them go. In the end I think the album really is an incredible product. However, Devin warns us not to say that you love it or you hate it so soon. It’ll take time before any of us can really understand what it really is.

I purchased the limited edition, 3 CD set in the digipak with the extra artwork and it really looks spectacular. One disc is the Ziltoid disc without the between-song dialogue and most of the narration. This is really nice to have as it’s possible to enjoy the songs more without most of the story drama. Some instrumental parts seem a bit long as they are meant to be background music to the dialogue, however, I can appreciate the more progressive nature of the music on this disc easier and thus for listening to individual tracks I choose this disc.

The third disc (actually disc one) is the sixth installment in the Devin Townsend Project series, called “Sky Blue”. The music here carries on where “Epicloud” left off. It is very poppy but with the loud guitars and wall of sound that you’d expect from Mr. Townsend. Most of the music is not particularly complex but the melodies are very catchy and beautiful and Anneke van Giersbergen from “Addicted” and “Epicloud” is back. The combination of her vocals with Devin’s make the music sometimes sound like Enya meets melodic pop metal turned full blast. At first there were only three or four songs I liked but more recently I find myself enjoying “Sky Blue” quite a bit and it is nice to hear in between albums like “Terria” and any of the Strapping Young Lad albums.

Though the music has strong pop leanings, Devin has warned that the songs are not so cheerful like those on “Epicloud”. Prior to writing the songs, some people he knew passed away and his cat was eaten. But I find the songs are infused with hope. One line in “Universal Flame” optimistically claims, “Look for hope and it will find you,” and the song ends with “The sun will rise again.” Besides, not all of “Epicloud” was cheery anyway.

Overall it is quite a lot of music to digest and for me the biggest hurdle is getting over the density of the production. If you are ready to take on this mad metal musical and this massive heavy pop album then you may like this very much.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Devlab

Album · 2004 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
aglasshouse
I'm just going to say it now; this album is complete nightmare fuel. I mean, what the hell is even happening on this album? I'm not a huge fan of noise in general, so I guess I can't get a real idea of what in the flying fuck is actually happening on any track of this album.

Some of these tracks that I can't seem to understand are such as 'Devlab I', 'Devlab IV' (a particularly excruciating Devlab), and 'Devlab XI'. Some of the tracks are pretty enjoyable ambient tracks, like the third installment, 'Devlab III', and 'Devlab X' are just a few.

The reason I'm giving this 1.5 is because anyone who is a fan of Devin Townsend who believes that this is a smart purchase to make, thinking that it will be another prog. metal album, is sorely mistaken. I would have given it 2/5, but I decided to round it to 1.5 due to the first and fourth Devlabs.

I don't recommend or dis-recommend this album.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid The Omniscient

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
Devin Townsend-Ziltoid the Omniscient

I just recently started listening to this guy, and boy was I missing out!

Ziltoid the Omniscient is a concept album about an alien named Ziltoid who wants to travel to earth in order to find 'Their ultimate cup of coffee'. They then give him a cup of coffee, but he declares it as foul-tasting. So he gives the order to attack earth.

What a concept, I never thought I would see such a comedic concept coming from a progressive metal artist. Even though the story is sure to bring some laughter, it isn't just the story that makes this a masterpiece.

The music ranges from many different styles, from progressive metal, to ambient, to power metal, to space rock influences, to even death metal. With the short intro 'ZTO', the combination of death screams and operatic vocals fits very well. 'By Your Command', one of my favorites, has more combinations of death metal vocals and clean vocals with the drums pounding throughout. Surprisingly the more space-infused passages contrast very well with the powerful riffing and angry vocals. The bridge has great powerful riffing and space-infused keyboards. The end of the song is a among one of the best headbanger moments I've ever heard. It then flows smoothly into the song 'Ziltoidia Attaxx!' which shows Townsend using mostly death screams. Probably my favorite song is 'Hyperdrive', where Townsend shows his powerful soft vocals. The way his vocals flow perfectly with the driving guitar riffs. The thrash-death track 'Planet Smasher' is another song that stands out.

One thing that really amazes me, is that he plays every instrument himself. That is quite an amazing feat with such a complex album.

Overall, this album should appeal to most metalheads. If you don't enjoy a sense of humor when you're listening to music, it may not be for you but I still find this an essential album for many a metal collection. Certainly one of my favorite progressive metal albums of all time.

Hope you found this review helpful--------------Feel free to leave a comment!

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Prog Geo wrote:
1676 days ago
Insane and calm artist.

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