DEVIN TOWNSEND

Progressive Metal / Non-Metal / Metal Related / Alternative 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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DEVIN TOWNSEND Discography

DEVIN TOWNSEND albums / top albums

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ocean Machine: Biomech album cover 3.98 | 63 ratings
Ocean Machine: Biomech
Progressive Metal 1997
DEVIN TOWNSEND Infinity album cover 3.67 | 38 ratings
Infinity
Progressive Metal 1998
DEVIN TOWNSEND Physicist album cover 3.60 | 32 ratings
Physicist
Progressive Metal 2000
DEVIN TOWNSEND Terria album cover 4.23 | 91 ratings
Terria
Progressive Metal 2001
DEVIN TOWNSEND Accelerated Evolution album cover 4.09 | 51 ratings
Accelerated Evolution
Progressive Metal 2003
DEVIN TOWNSEND Devlab album cover 1.88 | 13 ratings
Devlab
Non-Metal 2004
DEVIN TOWNSEND Synchestra album cover 4.20 | 48 ratings
Synchestra
Progressive Metal 2006
DEVIN TOWNSEND The Hummer album cover 2.50 | 13 ratings
The Hummer
Non-Metal 2006
DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid The Omniscient album cover 4.33 | 105 ratings
Ziltoid The Omniscient
Progressive Metal 2007
DEVIN TOWNSEND Ki album cover 3.77 | 45 ratings
Ki
Metal Related 2009
DEVIN TOWNSEND Addicted album cover 3.92 | 54 ratings
Addicted
Alternative Metal 2009
DEVIN TOWNSEND Deconstruction album cover 4.17 | 55 ratings
Deconstruction
Progressive Metal 2011
DEVIN TOWNSEND Ghost album cover 3.65 | 48 ratings
Ghost
Non-Metal 2011
DEVIN TOWNSEND Epicloud album cover 4.09 | 40 ratings
Epicloud
Progressive Metal 2012
DEVIN TOWNSEND Z2 album cover 3.46 | 17 ratings
Z2
Progressive Metal 2014
DEVIN TOWNSEND Transcendence album cover 3.91 | 12 ratings
Transcendence
Progressive Metal 2016
DEVIN TOWNSEND Empath album cover 4.28 | 9 ratings
Empath
Progressive Metal 2019
DEVIN TOWNSEND The Puzzle album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
The Puzzle
Non-Metal 2021
DEVIN TOWNSEND Snuggles - Beautiful Dream album cover 2.58 | 2 ratings
Snuggles - Beautiful Dream
Non-Metal 2021
DEVIN TOWNSEND Lightwork album cover 2.40 | 6 ratings
Lightwork
Metal Related 2022

DEVIN TOWNSEND EPs & splits

DEVIN TOWNSEND Infinity Ep: Christeen + 4 Demos album cover 3.33 | 7 ratings
Infinity Ep: Christeen + 4 Demos
Progressive Metal 1998
DEVIN TOWNSEND European Tour album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
European Tour
Progressive Metal 2011

DEVIN TOWNSEND live albums

DEVIN TOWNSEND Official Bootleg 2000 album cover 4.33 | 3 ratings
Official Bootleg 2000
Progressive Metal 1999
DEVIN TOWNSEND Unplugged album cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
Unplugged
Non-Metal 2011
DEVIN TOWNSEND By A Thread: Live In London 2011 album cover 4.28 | 5 ratings
By A Thread: Live In London 2011
Progressive Metal 2012
DEVIN TOWNSEND The Retinal Circus album cover 4.93 | 7 ratings
The Retinal Circus
Progressive Metal 2013

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

DEVIN TOWNSEND Projekt Eko album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Projekt Eko
Progressive Metal 2003

DEVIN TOWNSEND re-issues & compilations

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ass-Sordid Demos: 1990-1996 album cover 3.88 | 4 ratings
Ass-Sordid Demos: 1990-1996
Progressive Metal 1999
DEVIN TOWNSEND Ass-Sordid Demos II album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Ass-Sordid Demos II
Progressive Metal 2004
DEVIN TOWNSEND Contain Us 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 Addicted

Album · 2009 · Alternative Metal
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UMUR
"Addicted" is the eleventh full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsend´s own label) in November 2009. It´s the successor to "Ki" from May 2009, making "Addicted" the second Devin Townsend album released in 2009 (both were released under The Devin Townsend Project monicker). During his near 2 year hiatus from touring and recording, Townsend wrote around 60 tracks, some of which ended up on "Addicted".

Stylistically the material on "Addicted" is very different from the non-distorted, non-metal oriented, organic and brooding progressive rock style of "Ki". "Addicted" is instead a heavy, uplifting, melodic (even occasionally mainstream oriented), and accessible progressive metal release. Townsend is complimented on vocals by former The Gathering vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen, which makes the vocal part of the album varied. The combination of the male and female vocals is a strong and defining element of the sound on "Addicted". Tracks like "Addicted!", "Supercrush!", and "Numbered!" feature pretty heavy riffs and rhythms, but still manage to be accessible and melodic, while other tracks may not be quite as heavy, but still feature memorable vocal lines and intriguing songwriting ideas.

The re-recording of "Hyperdrive!" featuring van Giersbergen on lead vocals (the original version from "Ziltoid The Omniscient" (2007), features Townsend on lead vocals) is an example of one of the not so heavy tracks on the album, but even more so "Ih-ah!", which is basically a melodic rock song. "Hyperdrive!" is one of the standout tracks on the album, but "Addicted" is generally an album loaded with quality material. The three heavy tracks mentioned above are definitely also among the highlights, but tracks like "Bend It Like Bender!" and "Awake!!" are standout tracks too. The latter is to my ears an absolutely brilliant composition, which makes sure that the album is closed in great style.

"Addicted" features a powerful, detailed, and quite massive sounding production job, which suits the material perfectly. Some of the riffs on tracks like "Addicted!" and "Numbered!" are produced to sound crushingly heavy, which is a great and effectful contrast to the otherwise very melodic direction of the album. Upon conclusion "Addicted" is arguably among the most accessible releases in Townsend´s discography, but it´s still an intriguing listen, full of adventurous songwriting ideas and high level musical performances. Packed in a professional and very well sounding production, it´s through and through a high quality release and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ki

Album · 2009 · Metal Related
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UMUR
"Ki" is the tenth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsend´s own label) in May 2009. It´s 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. It´s still unmistakably a Devin Townsend album (although released under The Devin Townsend Project monicker), but it´s 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. It´s sometimes a pretty intense album, and often not meant for mellow listening pleasure, so it´s 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, it´s also a pretty long release.

"Ki" is probably Townsend´s 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. It´s an absolutely brilliant production, where you can hear every detail of the music and all instruments and vocals are well balanced in the mix. It´s interesting to hear Townsend´s 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 that´s 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 it´s taken me many years to get through the album and many re-visits to be able to write something about it. And it´s not because it´s an overtly complex release in terms of the song structures or challenging parts, but it´s 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...

...I´m sure the often idiosyncratic Townsend would be delighted if he read my reaction to "Ki" and the struggles I´ve been through to understand what he has created, but at some point you do have to ask yourself if it´s worth it. Some albums just seem to alienate you even though you try everything to understand them and appreciate them. And that´s 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 you´re 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 don´t 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 Townsend´s discography, and it´s one of those releases which is an aquired taste. Just because you think of yourself as a Townsend fan doesn´t mean you´ll be able to appreciate "Ki". In parts maybe, but probably not the full album in one sitting unless you´re 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.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ocean Machine: Biomech

Album · 1997 · Progressive Metal
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SilentScream213
And so began Devin Townsend’s solo career. Often hailed as a musical genius with no limits to his creativity, unbound by genres, yet still Metal through and through, the debut is a unique piece in Metal history. That is to say – in 1997, absolutely nothing sounded like this, and it’s not dated one bit. Eclectic, modern, catchy, and willing to throw all ideals of what Metal should be out the window in order to craft whatever the hell he wants it to be.

But, is the album good? It’s certainly good, but is it that good? I don’t think so. Most songs are overlong, lacking any strong musical hooks, and meandering in dense atmosphere that isn’t really sure what it wants to be. Many people will call this melancholic or ethereal; I hear no such thing. The closing song is a fantastic example of the heartfelt melancholy Devin is capable of – nowhere else on the album do I really feel any significant melancholy. Similarly, the first half of Bastard is built on an incredible riff, one of those that are so good you don’t mind hearing it over and over for 5 minutes. Despite that, I can’t recall another riff on the album. Nothing else really captured me.

The album does a great job of displaying Devin’s genius through moments and pieces, highlights that prove his potential. But as for the full album, and even individual songs, they are bloated, filled with insignificant space, and repetitive too often when they have nothing worthwhile to repeat. I can easily see how this could be so lauded among fans, because it is groundbreaking, it’s impressive on many fronts, and there is a lot to love here. For me, it just can’t break through the barrier of being a “good” album. For that, Devin must shed his excess skin.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid The Omniscient

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Ziltoid The Omniscient" is the ninth full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsend´s own label) in May 2007. It´s the successor to the ambient/drone/experimental music album "The Hummer" from November 2006. After having recorded and released albums with both his solo project and Strapping Young Lad, and having toured relentlessly since the turn of the millenium, Townsend felt burnt out and withdrew from the scene. His first child was born in October 2006, which probably also contributed to his decision not to tour as much as he had done in the previous years. But in true Townsend style that didn´t mean he stopped working on new music, and the material for "Ziltoid The Omniscient" was written, recorded, produced, and mixed during a four month period in early 2007. It´s truly a solo release as Townsend did everything on the album including producing and mixing the album, and programming the drums using the Drumkit from Hell software. After the release of "Ziltoid The Omniscient" Townsend went on a longer hiatus (at least it was long considering his usual output and touring rate), which he spend rediscovering himself. A journey which led him to stop abusing drugs and alcohol and to spend more time with his family.

"Ziltoid The Omniscient" is a concept album/progressive metal opera featuring a comedy sci-fi story about the Alien Ziltoid from the planet Ziltoidia 9, who comes to earth and demands to taste earth´s best cup of coffee...but becomes furious when he is handed a poor tasting cup of coffee. He then declares war on earth and wows to destroy it. He summons The Planet Smasher for the purpose...and you´ll have to listen to the album to learn how the story ends (which actually makes great sense). Obviously this is a very silly story, but it´s not the first time Townsend has made a comedy themed album, as he already released the "Cooked on Phonics" album under the Punky Brüster monicker in 1996. It´s a similarly silly comedy themed album, although that album´s story is centered around a death metal band who turns into a punk rock group, when they find out that there´s money, fame, and groupies to be made.

Stylistically the material on "Ziltoid The Omniscient" covers a lot of musical ground, and the various sounds and styles from previous Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad releases are represented here in some sort of hybrid form. The album therefore features both heavy aggressive riffs and raw screaming vocals, but also melodic parts with clean vocals, multi-layered atmospheric parts, and generally complex and intriguing songwriting. While Townsend is often praised for his drum programming on this album, my ears don´t quite agree, and I think the drums have an artificial quality to them, a human drummer could have eradicated and a more organic tone could possibly have increased the quality of the release. It´s not a major issue, but it´s not exactly a positive either. I understand the reasoning for using drum programming (Townsend´s need for isolation), but I don´t think it was a great idea.

The 11 tracks on the 53:46 minutes long album ebb and flow and one minute the listener is pummeled by aggressive heavy riffs and various extreme forms of vocals, and the next they´re transported to a tranquil place filled with pleasant atmospheric sounds and mellow vocals. The best example of the latter is probably "Hyperdrive". While the re-recorded and re-arranged version of the song, which appears on Townsend´s 2009 "Addicted" album, featuring Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals, pretty much blows this original version out of the water, this version of "Hyperdrive" is actually a great version too. It´s such a pleasant, melodic, and atmospheric track, which is a nice variation after the dramatic and progressive three-song opening to the album. And that´s one of the strengths of "Ziltoid The Omniscient". Other than the silly comedy story line and even more silly narration (the latter which is probably an aquired taste), the album is nicely varied which makes for an engaging listen all the way through the playing time.

The album features a layered, detailed, and powerful sounding production job, but it´s one of Townsend´s more tangible and less ethereal productions. So it´s a more easy listen in terms of sonic output. Overall "Ziltoid The Omniscient" is still a highly adventurous and progressive metal release by one of the most unique artists on the scene. While it may not be Townsend´s most rewarding or representative album, it´s certainly a standout release in his discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Synchestra

Album · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Synchestra" is the seventh full-length studio album by Canadian artist Devin Townsend. It´s the second and last album released under the The Devin Townsend Band monicker. The album was released through HevyDevy Records (Townsend´s 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 it´s no wonder that Townsend needed a break after the release of "Ziltoid the Omniscient" in May 2007.

Coming off the heels of some of Townsend´s/Strapping Young Lad´s 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 Townsend´s heavy riffs and the heavy drumming by Ryan Van Poederooyen. "Synchestra" features several guest/session musicians. One is Townsend´s 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. It´s 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 (it´s certainly progressive in any way possible). At least that´s 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. It´s not Townsend´s most heavy release, and therefore the sound production isn´t 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 it´s called for. "Synchestra" may not have the immediate catchiness and appeal as the last couple of Townsend releases, but it´s still arguably a high quality release, and it´s quite the bold release too, but knowing Townsend that´s actually no surprise. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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Prog Geo wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Insane and calm artist.

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