Posts tagged ‘the devin townsend project’

October 24, 2012

Album 0143: The Devin Townsend Project – Ghost

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Progressive Rock/Ambient

Tracklisting:

1. Fly (04:14)
2. Heart Baby (05:55)
3. Feather (11:30)
4. Kawaii (02:52)
5. Ghost (06:24)
6. Blackberry (04:53)
7. Monsoon (04:37)
8. Dark Matters (01:57)
9. Texada (09:30)
10. Seams (04:04)
11. Infinite Ocean (08:01)
12. As You Were (08:47)

Total Length: 01:12:44

Fly completely sets the tone for the album. It’s relaxed and calm, and presents no pressure. It’s all beauty. The woodwinds are gorgeous and Devin’s vocals work wonders. Heart Baby kind of has a bad placement, it’s in between two fantastic songs. It is good in its own right, but I really can’t help while listening to it to just think of what’s coming next. Feather is the standout track of this album, it’s what convinced to really like this album in the first place (what can I say, the idea of Devin doing a new age album didn’t appeal to me at first) and is incredibly gorgeous. It’s probably one of the most uplifting pieces of modern music I’ve heard.

Kawaii is a nice little song with a cool vocal line but that is all of it that really sticks with me. Ghost has a slow intro, but I really love when the guitar and drums come in. It’s so happy and poppy and the complete opposite of what you would expect from the song title. Sadly I usually forget about this song, but I think that is changing. Blackberry is more folky, in the Americana sense. This sets it apart and is pretty good on its own, but the real gold standard this song sets is the unbelievably amazing feat of Devin managing to put some slightly harsh vocals in this song. I didn’t think I was really hearing this the first time, it’s incredible.

Monsoon is entirely instrumental, and actually has some pretty cool stuff. A nice piece to listen through. Dark Matters has some cool keyboards but I don’t really get its existence otherwise. Texada however uses the same type of neat keyboard and synth sounds to greater effect, so I like it a ton more. Seams is fairly good, there’s really not too much I can say about it.

Infinite Ocean seems to have a title referencing some of Devin’s past works, but I’m not familiar enough with those to know if it musically as well. Pretty relaxing track, though it feels like it goes on a bit long. As You Were is some of the same. It brings the acoustic guitar back but I honestly feel like the album loses all momentum here right at the end. Even ending with Seams would have been better. These aren’t bad tracks, but they aren’t anywhere near up to par with the rest of the album. That said, I expected to like this album of the four the least, and that is definitely not the case. When things are good on here they are ridiculously good.

Final Rating: 8/10

October 23, 2012

Album 0142: The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Praise The Lowered (05:58)
2. Stand (09:36)
3. Juular (03:46)
4. Planet Of The Apes (10:59)
5. Sumeria (06:37)
6. The Mighty Masturbator (16:28)
7. Pandemic (03:29)
8. Deconstruction (09:27)
9. Poltergeist (04:25)

Total Length: 01:10:44

Praise The Lowered can be considered a big, longer intro track. It’s a slow fizz to the heavier part, getting you prepared for the album in full. For this album, the style is a bit more on the extreme end. It’s not all fast and heavy, but there is a bit of a darker undertone throughout the entire album (interspersed with bits of lightheartedness). Stand is in the same vein, with a slower beginning that unfurls into some really infectious vocals. It also brings in the orchestra and choir for the first time, creating an entirely new atmosphere.

Juular is the first all heavy track. Just a constant beat, kind of like a train (thanks to imagery from the music video) and guest vocals pretty much keep this song always playing in the head. Just a fantastic track. Planet Of The Apes is a large song, that starts off with another vocal line that sticks with you. Has some other neat moments but after a certain point it does feel like it drags on a bit. I really appreciate the very brief reference to Awake!!! near the end of the track though.

Sumeria has a decent heavy first half, but I actually like the calmer second half. The Mighty Masturbator is a big, big track and has a lot of stuff going on. The intro is a very cool slice of Devin’s style, it’s pretty much perfect. After a slight bit of comedy we get an insanely cool section that is heavy on the instrumental fun. Suddenly we get a more electronic section with Devin acting like an announcer. It’s neat at first but goes on a bit long. Most of the last chunk of the song is fairly good, but I really do like the ‘circus’ vibe of the ending, even if the comedic stuff doesn’t entirely work for me.

Pandemic is decent, it’s pretty heavy and chaotic and I want to like it but it’s just too much for me. Deconstruction starts off with some more bad comedy, but the music is good once it starts. Fairly good track overall. Poltergeist is fairly good but the ending is a bit sudden. I really wanted to love this album, it sounded exactly like what I wanted from Devin based on what I had heard so far, but it really doesn’t click with me too much out of select moments. This is kind of the album that convinced me that the four DTP albums are a cool experiment, but I’d rather have him mix everything together.

Final Rating: 8/10

October 22, 2012

Album 0141: The Devin Townsend Project – Addicted

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Addicted! (05:36)
2. Universe In A Ball! (04:08)
3. Bend It Like Bender! (03:35)
4. Supercrush! (05:11)
5. Hyperdrive! (03:34)
6. Resolve! (03:11)
7. Ih-Ah! (03:44)
8. The Way Home! (03:13)
9. Numbered! (04:54)
10. Awake!!! (09:44)

Total Length: 46:49

Addicted! is kind of a misleading intro for the album, as this one is the ‘pop’ album with more commercial-type metal songs. Honestly my least favorite tracks on here are probably the first two. This one does have a cool bit that references the last track so it’s something you can only catch once you’ve heard the album a few times. I do also really like the guitar solo. Universe In A Ball! feels a bit repetitive but I don’t entirely mind it.

Bend It Like Bender! is fantastic, it’s the first real taste of fun on this album and Devin varies up the vocals a bit more. Supercrush! really focuses on the female vocals here, after appearing for the first time in the previous track. Pretty good song but what really sticks with me is near the end, the repetition of “You left me to die” and this is when I really feel the album steps up its game even more.

Hyperdrive! is a cover of the same track from Devin’s previous album, Ziltoid, and this time the lead vocals are by Anneke and it’s played in a different key. This made it really jarring the first time I heard it after being so in love with the original, but this one has grown on me and it makes hearing the original weird now. Resolve! is kind of odd and forgettable but I never forget listening to it. For me it is more the placeholder between the two halves of the album.

Ih-Ah! immediately goes into something a little more laid back and I absolutely love it. I cannot help but sing along with the chorus. The Way Home! is also a ton of fun, and a perfect example of how amazing Devin’s production is and how much it helps his work. In all honesty, this song would be good but not half as gripping without the amazing engineering and production. Numbered! is a bit of calm before the storm in my opinion. Still a heavy track but it doesn’t try to be fast or too crazy, it’s kind of lulling in a good way.

Awake!!! is the real masterpiece of the album, and makes the entire album worth listening to. The other tracks are good, but it’s all built up to this and it is so worth it. Devin’s soaring vocals are some of my favorite ever, and everything is brilliant. The album has been pretty non-stop so the long outro helps fade you out and calm you down. I really love this album, and just like Ki it took me a couple spins before I understood what Devin was trying to portray here. The focus here due to him splitting up the four albums works fantastically.

Final Rating: 9/10

October 21, 2012

Album 0140: The Devin Townsend Project – Ki

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Progressive Rock

Tracklisting:

1. A Monday (01:43)
2. Coast (04:36)
3. Disruptr (05:49)
4. Gato (05:23)
5. Terminal (06:58)
6. Heaven Send (08:54)
7. Ain’t Never Gonna Win… (03:17)
8. Winter (04:48)
9. Trainfire (05:58)
10. Lady Helen (06:05)
11. Ki (07:21)
12. Quiet Riot (03:02)
13. Demon League (02:55)
14. Oodles Of Noodles (15:35)
15. Testing Fender Gear (07:49)

Total Length: 01:30:13

A Monday is a nice, short intro that sets the tone of the album as somber and a bit downtrodden with just a solo guitar. Coast is a totally cool song, I love the atmosphere that Devin gives off. It’s really calm and laid back, while still having hints of something heavier. Disruptr is much the same way, always hinting at an anger and fierceness, as Devin’s vocals slowly get harsher and louder throughout the song. Ridiculously cool.

Gato is similar as well, adding female vocals for the first time. Great track as well and the chorus gets stuck in your head like a mother. Terminal doesn’t have any real heavy stuff though, just a nice breather before the next big track. This song is kind of forgettable though, but I enjoy it. Heaven Send is funky and awesome, and I love how heavy it builds up to be. A real highlight of the album, though the break before going back into song gets annoying on repeated listens.

Ain’t Never Gonna Win… is also sadly a bit forgettable. It has some nice ideas but they are played so softly and low that they don’t do much for me. Winter is unfortunately much the same. Just kind of feels a bit long and like it’s repeating itself too much. Trainfire is an unexpected partial tribute to the Elvis-style of blues rock. Then Devin throws in some harsh vocals and his weirdness shines through and makes the entire song worth it.

Lady Helen is the same issue as two songs ago, where I like what I can hear but it’s so buried and slow that it does nothing for me. Ki is the other ‘big’ song on here. The first half is much like the rest of the album but a bit more focused. The real treat is the second half, the building, galloping instrumental section with lots of repeated crescendos where the album finally lets itself get a bit crazy.

The song transitions to directly into Quiet Riot, a weird amalgam where the music is a cover but the lyrics are new. Very cool little song. Demon League is kind of an unexpected ending in how it’s probably the most chill song on here, and I dig it. Oodles Of Noodles and Testing Fender Gear are absolutely, 100% bonus tracks. The former is just the band jamming for a while, and the latter is more jamming, but just Devin on his guitar. Neither has anything really worth talking about, and I never consider them when I think of the album as a whole, which is mostly positive thoughts but just a bit disappointing in spots I mentioned. If this had been released standalone instead as part of a promised album set I would be more disappointed as well.

Final Rating: 8/10