DEVIN TOWNSEND — Deconstruction (review)

DEVIN TOWNSEND — Deconstruction album cover Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
If not one of the most impressive albums you'll hear this year, Deconstruction will surely be one of the most entertaining. Devin Townsend has always been known as a musician willing to experiment with the wacky side of music, and the third album in the Devin Townsend Project series is among his craziest thus far. Although not outdoing Ziltoid the Omniscient in terms of over-the-top wackiness, Deconstruction is certainly among the more insane albums in Devin Townsend's catalog. This concept album revolves around a man who meets the devil, receives a cheeseburger (which he cannot eat, for he is a vegetarian), and other topics like farting and masturbation. Although possibly a bit too lyrically "juvenile" for your average prog metal listener, the unique and intriguing compositions keep Deconstruction from ever feeling like a boring vehicle for middle-school humor. And, for what it's worth, I personally find the crazy lyrical concept to be extremely interesting and well-done. With Deconstruction, Devin Townsend has convinced me that he is "the Frank Zappa of metal", and a genius visionary for 21st century music. People who enjoy progressive metal on the more unique, experimental, and creative side should find plenty to love with this effort from the Devin Townsend Project.

The music on Deconstruction is every bit as crazy as its lyrical counterpart. From a songwriting standpoint, expect plenty of technicality and odd song structures, but also a few melodic (and even beautiful) sections are contained within the CD. This album covers damn near every emotion in existence, yet never feels incoherent or poorly written. The instrumentation is also quite varied; lots of different vocal styles, keyboard tones, and guitar techniques are used on Deconstruction, and it's even complete with a full orchestra. A symphonic feeling is present throughout most of the album, even if it's in combination with about five hundred different stylistic traits. Deconstruction is a busy album with very little breathing room, and this is a wacky journey from the first note of "Praise the Lowered" until the very end of "Poltergeist". Remarkably enough, the album never loses any steam in spite of its 71 minute playing time. Arguably the highlight of Deconstruction is the sixteen-and-a-half minute epic, "The Mighty Masturbator". Although every bit as lyrically insane as the song title implies, this is a truly remarkable piece of music that is filled to the brim with memorable hooks, technical nuances, and entertaining antics. Deconstruction is virtually free of weak moments, though, and I'd have a tough time picking out my least favorite track here. Devin Townsend is a truly gifted songwriter, and there are enough jaw-dropping moments on Deconstruction to satisfy me over and over again.

One thing that will immediately jump out about this album is the prominence of guest musicians - something very rare on Devin Townsend's other works. Deconstruction hosts plenty of metal legends, including Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), Ihsahn (Emperor), Tommy Giles Rogers (Between the Buried and Me), Paul Masvidal (Cynic), Oderus Urungus (Gwar), and many others. Although it may be a slight disappointment to hear some of these guys only contribute a few lines to the album, Devin Townsend makes sure that the guest vocalists never get in the way of the music itself, and in that sense, I'd say it's a good thing.

On Deconstruction, Devin handles all of the instruments except for drums; truly a remarkable feat considering the complexity of the music here. Blistering guitar work mixed with amazing vocals and complex keyboard sections are always present, and the fact that Devin can handle all of them is admirable, to say the least. Mr. Townsend is also responsible for Deconstruction's sleek and powerful production - the polished sound suits the music perfectly, and I can't think of a production that would've sounded better for this album.

Deconstruction took a while for me to fully appreciate, but I can safely say that giving it the attention it demands was worth it. Devin Townsend is one of the most important musicians in modern metal, and with this album he's proven his genius once again. Deconstruction is unquestionably among my favorites from 2011, and will probably remain one of Devin Townsend's strongest efforts until he ceases to make music. People who enjoyed the over-the-top antics of Ziltoid the Omniscient should love this one, and anyone with a craving for truly original progressive metal should get Deconstruction in their collection as soon as possible. I'd say a big 4.5 stars are deserved for this terrific album. This is one of 2011's highlights for sure.
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Wilytank wrote:
more than 2 years ago
2011's number one for me so far.
Xaxaar wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Nice review, I enjoyed this one a lot as well.


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