DEVIN TOWNSEND — Deconstruction (review)

DEVIN TOWNSEND — Deconstruction album cover Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
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For those looking at the other Devin Townsend Project outputs, they may be missing something from the rest of his catalogue, especially if they miss Strapping Young Lad. Ki had a really heavy mood, but used soft instrumentation and atmospheres to convey it. Addicted used solid metal instruments, but used them to create really catchy and colorful moods. This is the album where Devin brings back his sound full swing, over the top everything back together into his full fledged prog metal album Deconstruction.

In terms of sound, it can be compared mostly to his solo album Ziltoid: The Omniscient. It's got a lot of the progressive sounds under fairly heavy riffing. The humor's there, though unfortunately Devin has switched Ziltoid's clever tongue in cheek over the top humor for some sophomoric cheeseball toilet jokes. The main difference is that Deconstruction's instrumentation's significantly heavier, and the song structures are more chaotic on the whole. That being said, there are also some unusual "circus" style noises that permeates the album, giving it a unique, zany feeling under the heavier shell.

This album works best as a whole and the highlights don't stand out as much because it's more of a cohesive work. That being said, the title track is probably the highlight. The riffs are crazy and fun, especially when it comes to Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah when he guest stars and pulls out a solo. The humor is decidedly more self aware, like Ziltoid, especially when the choir begins to sing about cheeseburger condiments. Other standouts include "Juular", which is a short, fast-paced track with some dark riffing, and the guest vocals of Ihsahn certainly give the track a more nightmarish attitude. "Sumeria" gives a very large crushing feeling, and the intro verses are absolutely stunningly epic. It's as bombastic as it comes, and brings a large scale feeling to the album. "Stand" is also a highlight, with some midtempo heavy riffs that are downright groovy.

At a look at the album tracks, though, and you'll notice that I've neglected two of the longest tracks on the album, "The Mighty Masturbator" and "Planet of the Apes", which together make up a good thirty minutes of the album. They are good too, but don't quite match up to what one may expect from an epic. Rather, they are simply long extensions of the album. For "Planet of the Apes" case, it starts off with some awkwardly timed riffing and verses, but makes up for it with a heavy but ethereal outro along with a nice catchy chorus. "The Mighty Masturbator" is made up of several long sections of music sort of glued together, going a while in some repetition of some standard Devin riffs and arpeggios, going into a dance rhythm, and ending on a pompous orchestral riff. The dance section hurts the song a bit, though, there's some rather repetitive annoying beeping that goes on for an extended period of time, and it never seems to end.

Along with just a couple awkward sections, this album has maybe a few flaws. The production is good for the most part, as to be expected from Devin, but there are a lot of loud parts in the album, also to be expected. At the most chaotic and heavy, the instruments drown each other out, which becomes a problem sometimes. It also is the cause of some of the other problems, most notably the guest vocals. A handful of the artists stand out, such as Ihsahn, Floor Jansen, and Paul Masdival. At other times, you'd hardly notice that they're there, partially because of the chaos. Because of this, they don't bring the variety to the album that they could.

At the heart of it all, though, Deconstruction is still a solid release for Devin. It's got all the trademarks: the walls of sound, the melodic arpeggios, the humor. It's not really a Ziltoid, Terria, or even Alien in the case of Strapping Young Lad. It may be the heaviest release in the "Devin Townsend" realm, but that may pull it back a bit. The three albums listed aren't quite as chaotic as this one, but somehow they manage to be over the top and tongue-in-cheek when it needs to be, which this album seems to lack. They also have their strong moments of beauty and melody, which are a bit absent from here. That being said, it's still a Devin Townsend album, and he's still got the touch to make a good album such as this, a worthy release and a good one from 2011.
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Xaxaar wrote:
more than 2 years ago
What's with The Mighty Masturbator hate? I actually like the beeping and the dance section is kinda like a break from the proggy-goodness. But a lot of people seem to not like it. Hmm...kinda with it was longer, tbh.

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