DEVIN TOWNSEND
Progressive Metal / Metal Related • 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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Presents: Ziltoid the OmniscientPresents: Ziltoid the Omniscient
Inside Out 2007
Audio CD$9.38
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DEVIN TOWNSEND Discography

DEVIN TOWNSEND albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.10 | 39 ratings
Ocean Machine: Biomech
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.74 | 24 ratings
Infinity
Progressive Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 22 ratings
Physicist
Progressive Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 4.28 | 73 ratings
Terria
Progressive Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.10 | 38 ratings
Accelerated Evolution
Progressive Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 2.65 | 9 ratings
Devlab
Metal Related 2004
.. Album Cover 3.65 | 38 ratings
Synchestra
Progressive Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.47 | 9 ratings
Hummer
Metal Related 2006
.. Album Cover 4.31 | 88 ratings
Ziltoid The Omniscient
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 37 ratings
Ki
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.82 | 43 ratings
Addicted
Progressive Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.91 | 47 ratings
Deconstruction
Progressive Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 40 ratings
Ghost
Metal Related 2011
.. Album Cover 4.15 | 27 ratings
Epicloud
Progressive Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 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 3.52 | 4 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 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!

DEVIN TOWNSEND The Retinal Circus

Live album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"The Retinal Circus" is a live album release by Canadian progressive rock/metal artist Devin Townsend. The album was released through HevyDevy Records in September 2013. "The Retinal Circus" is both available in audio format and on DVD/Blu-ray. The 25 tracks, 2 hours long show was recorded/filmed on the 27th of October 2012 at Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London. The show was a one-off, which took a year of pre-production. The show was divided into two parts with an intermission in between.

As "The Retinal Circus" is meant to be a celebration of Devin Townsend´s, at the time, 20-year musical career, the tracklist features tracks from quite a few of his releases. There are even two Strapping Young Lad tracks included, which also feature Jed Simon on additional guitars. Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) also guests and contributes female vocals on some tracks. The band consists of Devin Townsend on guitars , vocals, keyboards, Ryan Van Poederooyen on drums, Mike Young on bass and Dave Young on guitars. High level musicianship all around. These guys are skilled and execute Devin Townsend´s music to perfection. Not in a clinical way though, as the live versions of the tracks are different enough from the original studio tracks to warrant releasing a live album and more organic sounding too.

"The Retinal Circus" has what I´d characterize as a great flow. The song selection, and the way the dreamlike concept of the event is put together, work really well. There is generally a good response from the audience throughout the concert and Devin is always good for a couple of hilarious/silly or mindbending commetaries. It´s one of those live shows where you, as a listener, can feel the good energy that was at the concert venue on that particular night.

...and that´s it. "The Retinal Circus" is about as perfect a live album release as they come. Flawless high level musicianship, a high quality sound production, great tracklist and concert flow and a receptive and active audience to give the release that crucial final boost. If you are not familiar with Devin Townsend´s work, "The Retinal Circus" could be a great place to start listening. It´s a release that perfectly displays his eclectic approach to writing music but at the same time also displays the red musical thread that goes through his entire discography. Be it as a solo artist or as part of a band. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid The Omniscient

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
A solo project in the truest sense from DEVIN TOWNSEND where he presents ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT, an album so hilarious and creative that it could have even been worthy of being in Zappa's discography. This is a concept album about a pretentious alien named Ziltoid who hails from the planet Ziltoida 9 and for some reason he decides to travel all the way to Earth in order to find the universe's ultimate cup of coffee. Yeah, a little far-fetched but in a good way. This reminds me of those Looney Tunes with Bugs Bunny and that Martian dude when he was trying to blow up planets and always got foiled by that wiley wabbit.

Devin played every single instrument on this album including the drum programming from a software program called Drumkit From Hell which was graciously provided to him by Frederik Thordendal of Meshuggah. He also wrote all the music, mixed and produced it. Devin admits that he basically withdrew from the world for four months and worked incessantly on this album in the Ziltoid cave ironing out every detail and to great success I declare.

The album flows brilliantly. This is basically first and foremost a story to be told with the music accompanying it appropriately, so maybe this could be considered a heavy metal musical of sort. An accomplished mix of his aggressive Strapping Young Lads days mixed with his more ambient solo works. Lots of nods to different types of metal in here as well. All in all a well-executed delivery system of one of the most ridiculous album themes ever to be released. In addition to creating the perfect musical accompaniment, Devin nails all the vocalizations in their corresponding roles as well, but I have to admit that when the Planet Smasher's voice enters the cast I keep expecting him to say “ME WANT COOKIE!”

DEVIN TOWNSEND The Retinal Circus

Live album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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Kev Rowland
Over the years I have been lucky enough to hear most of what this mad Canadian has released, and what I have learned to expect is actually not to expect anything but just go along for the ride. His mind obviously works on a totally different plane to the rest of us, and the only person I have ever compared him to is Phil Spector, as here is yet another genius who creates a wall of sound all of his own making. So when I heard that there was going to be a double CD (plus associated blue-ray and DVD versions) released of his ‘musical’ I knew that I was going to be in for a treat. The word ‘musical’ is in inverted commas, as there is no real storyline and to be honest it is just a whole load of songs put together from different periods (including the mighty Strapping Young Lad) that gave him excuse to put together a stage show quite different from anything he had undertaken previously.

Devin actually admits as much during the performance, but he takes it all to a new level with the use of loads of guests outside of the core band, but not all of these are musical. And it is this that is so frustrating with this album for me, and the clue is right there in the title of this. ‘Retinal’ is an adjective pertaining to the word ‘retina’, which is a delicate, multilayered, light-sensitive membrane lining the inner eyeball and connected by the optic nerve to the brain. All the time I am playing this I keep feeling that I am missing out on something visually, so I went onto YouTube and checked out the official video for “Grace”. Some time later I managed to get my jaw back into place from where it had dislocated while I sat there open mouthed not quite believing what I was seeing. As well as a top metal band, he has brought Anneke van Giersbergen back, and although I can hear that on the CD, I wasn’t able to see the video of Steve Vai providing the verbal introduction, the double jointed acrobats on stage, the gospel choir, the guys with angle grinders shooting sparks over the stage and so very much more.

I went back to the CD feeling a little disappointed, but to be honest I soon got over it as I put “Planet Smasher” on at speaker damaging volumes (I’ve always been a sucker for Ziltoid). Once I had accepted that there was more to it than I could hear I instead concentrated on just the music instead of what I might be missing, and what we have here is an aural feast. Anneke has a wonderful voice, and relishes playing the part of being the light against all of the shade. This music is really heavy, very bottom end, and she plays a huge part in making it sound complete.

What we have here are 25 songs, more than 2 hours in length, and a show that must have created huge waves when it was performed last year. This is a masterpiece, and I am sure that the full blu-ray (which I have yet to buy, but is now definitely on my list) is stunning. Somehow, even though I feel that part of it is missing, I can’t bring myself to score this any less than 5 *’s, as it truly is one of the most remarkable live albums I have ever come across.

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ki

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
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arcane-beautiful
I remember the day Devin said he was quiting Strapping Young Lad. I was watching a very old British TV station called Rock something or other (it was very good but it didn't meet viewers needs and kind of fell into the ground). Devin was performing a puppet show as Ziltoid and made me laugh like the hyenas from The Lion King.

Then Devin comes out and says “I'm done!”

I was saddened. I had just gotten into Devin's work and hearing him say he was retiring from music pretty much was sad. But...luckily enough he was pretty much stating he was leaving Strapping Young Lad.

So a year or two passed and Devin emerged again. He was looking healthier, he had shaved his head and he said he was going to release a 4 album series that was going to be like a 4 course dinner. And that the first album Ki, would be like an appetizer. And in many ways this is pretty much a great appetizer.

This album did receive some slight confusion whenever it was originally released, mainly due to it's vast difference to anything Devin has done before. In many ways it does harken back to some of Devin's earlier material and touches of his original sound, but it very much is a very different and rather different type of album.

The opener “Coast” has to be one of my personal favourites from Devin. A very beautiful song with some rather interesting guitar lines. The ambient sounding backgrounds are also very beautiful as well. A great vocal performance from Devin as well, showing a lot of diversity in his softer and operatic tones.

“Disruptr” is one of the more heavier moments on the album with some brilliant build ups throughout. This song and the next track are rather similar in nature, with Disruptr having a slightly more calmer effect. The next track has “Gato” has to be one of my personal favourites on the album and is definitely one of the more heavier songs. Also, any lyrics about cat people will always interest me. Devin's vocals in this track are pretty insane at times.

The ballads on the album “Terminal” and “Lady Helen” are also very interesting. With very minimal and quiet music behind them, it harkens back to some of the more prettier moments found on an album like “Terria.” Terminal in particular is done brilliantly live in “By A Thread.”

My favourite track on the album would have to be the longest composition “Heaven Send.” A rather relaxing start with a rather bluesy groove, it builds up with some brilliant distorted guitar grooves and an almost gang like chorus. The guitar solo in the song is also one of Devin's most interesting guitar solo, with great use of a whammy peddle.

One of the prettiest tracks on the album has to be “Winter.” A very beautiful song with a very large instrumental base, with the vocals being very simple. A beautiful and relaxing song.

One of the most oddest tracks has to be “Trainfire.” A song inspired by 50 and 60's rock and roll, it really gives off a rock a billy train feel to it. The ending is also very different with the song taking on a rather different and more interesting form with some beautiful guitar playing.

The title track is one of the more interesting tracks on the album. Again, another song that wouldn't go amiss on “Terria”. A very quiet start slowly building up to a multi layered contrapuntal musical masterpiece. Great production on this track with some spellbinding guitar playing from Devin.

The album closer, or the should be album closer “Quiet Riot” is a rather beautiful acoustic ending, taking melodies and lyrics from Slade's (or Quiet Riot's) “Cum On Feel The Noize.” A very beautiful ending to the album, along with the other close “Demon League.”

In conclusion, this album does get a lot of mixed opinions from people, but I personally I really like it. I do admit that it does have a lot of styles and is a lot less cohesive than most of his albums, but personally I find the album to go through a whole range of emotions due to Devin going through a whole load of emotions at the time. This is a mixed bag, but there is some really beautiful and powerful moments on this album. Something very different, but something very interesting.

8.8/10

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Prog Geo wrote:
1362 days ago
Insane and calm artist.

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