Released: Jun 20, 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal
Number Of Tracks: 9
Overall, this album does a wonderful job of being a metal album, but offers so much more. As a Devin Townsend album, naturally it embodies the spirit of all previous content in his body of work, while pushing brilliantly forward.
Symphonica, on june 21, 2011 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Devin Townsend is a Canadian musician who created the Devin Townsend Project after splitting up extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad in 2007. This album is disc 3 of a 4-disc saga, and was projected to be released alongside Ghost, the final installment. This album has received some major buzz, as it features two drummers, Ryan Van Poederooyen (featured on prior Devin Townsend Band albums, as well as "Addicted", the previous album) and Dirk Verbeuren (of Soilwork fame). The true hype is in the guest musicians, as he has confirmed the following musicians: Paul Kuhr (November's Doom), Mikael kerfeldt (Opeth), Isahn (Emperor), Tommy Rogers (Between The Buried And Me), Joe Duplantier (Gojira), Paul Masvidal (Cynic), Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan), Floor Jansen (After Forever), Oderus Urungus (GWAR), Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah), as well as the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
With such an all-star cast, one might expect some jagged, irregular pattern to the music, but when it comes down to it, you're simply hearing the voices you love with the music of Devin Townsend. Devin is famous for utilizing the "Wall of Sound" technique, and this album retains the glory of his former records in that aspect. "Deconstruction" is layered with as many synth, guitar, and vocal tracks as your brain's processing system has ever dreamed of handling.
The overall sound of the album bounces around from song to song, though it tends have a slower feel, and quiet periods of soft music are often present pre- and post-climax in each piece. Much of the loud sections are dominated by double-kick and blast beasts, and to-be-expected growling vocals. Throughout the album, there are periods of magnificent styles, such as carnivalesque themes (backed by the orchestra) and soft, acoustic outros coupled with glockenspiel. The softer periods are reminiscent of "Ki" (which was crafted to be the "quiet" album of the four). The heavy sounds of Devin's open-tuned guitars and masses of synthesizers have strong influences of "Addicted" interlaced with each track. // 10
Lyrics: Lyrical content has never been Devin's strongest point, though he does explore many philosophical and religious themes (as you may expect to hear on a Death record) while simultaneously boasting angry, metal lyrics. "The Mighty Masturbator", a sixteen-and-a-half minute epic, features lyrics of a story about a man going to save his family, and does so by removing them from the planet, and encountering an omniscient being. The singing skills of Mr. Townsend truly shine in every style in which he exerts on this record, from screaming and growling high to singing with an operatic tone in almost all ranges. With these styles we are convinced of the lyrics locking perfectly into music presented. The workload presented by the company gathered on this record is nothing short of spectacular: each name you recognize delivers nothing but the best sound you would expect to hear in their own band. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall, this album does a wonderful job of being a metal album, but offers so much more. As a Devin Townsend album, naturally it embodies the spirit of all previous content in his body of work, while pushing brilliantly forward.
Naturally, Devin includes hilarious interludes throughout the album. These are sure to give anybody a good chuckle, because there's nothing like some good humour between extreme metal to remind the listener not to take everything so seriously.
I do love the laughable bits of the album, but there may be just one or two many of them for me. Other than the overstatement, what's not to love? Brilliant music that keeps developing as brilliant music should. My favourite parts of the album are the parts featuring the Prague Symphony Orchestra and choir, as they complete the colours of the pieces, and I'm a bit of a softy for orchestral music. My top spot goes to the self-titled track, a song about a cheeseburger, as it passes the five minute mark. After the choir stops for a moment, a nerdy voice emerges pretentiously stating "But I don't eat the cheeseburgers guys, I'm a veg-a-matarian!" Followed by a swiftly stated "Hit it!", complete metal madness ensues. You'll weep and bang your head, I promise you.
I plan to buy this album as soon as it comes to stores, to get me one step closer to owning this entrancing four-piece collection. This is a masterpiece not to be overshadowed by anyone with their heart in the genre of heavy metal. // 10
EpiExplorer, on june 21, 2011 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: HO. LEE. HELL. Is the very thought running through my mind. Quite possibly the best album of Devin Townsend's career. Well now that's over with...
...Jokes, but seriously. "Deconstruction" is one the most hotly tipped albums of the year, and for good reason: Orchestra? Check. 12 famous guest musicians including vocalists and instrumentalists? Check. A song called "The Mighty Masturbator"? CHECKMATE.
Lets just keep this simple, a deconstruction of a chees-erm, song. The title track, "Deconstruction", is the pinnacle of all of Devin's work and creativity, one of those songs that just sticks with you, not because of a catchy chorus, specifically good riff or notable chord progression but because it is downright fun. Starting with a dialogue between two scientists in a public toilet (you can guess why its in a public toilet), it goes into this hyperactive, crazy riff and the mention of cheeseburgers, that just goes into a half serious, half insane mixture between happy riffs (this is all very oxymoronic) and tremelarpeggios (tremolo picked arpeggios) with the catchy prog-grooves of none other than Dirk Verbeuren (one of, in my opinion, the most technical metal drummers alive) and a choral/orchestral backdrop. The vocals of Mr Hevydevy are more along the lines of a narrator having too much fun with his project:
"...Drugs, sex and money? Fine! OOo, I need to get myself some drugs, then when I get the money, ladies will know I'm the man... because I ain't gonna be questioned for sex if I ain't living in poverty and if I ain't got no disease, in fact you could say I was the logical choice!"
And on to an epic chorus-like section (its never repeated) that just seeps of EPIC epic sound. This is only 2:30 into the 9 minute epic. Safe to say then, you will have never heard so much guitar wizardry, extreme melodic magnificence and utter hilarity within one song. And it also has a signature solo from Fredrik Thordendal (!) of Meshuggah.
The rest of "Deconstruction" is a bit more restrained, but by no means toned down. "Sumeria" is a fist-pounding chug fest which is held by its repetition and vocal appearances of Joe Duplantier (!) of Gojira doing clean and harsh vocals and Paul Masvidal (!) of Cynic having a whole 2 minutes of his own for a soft ending. "Juular" is the more consistent, constant death/black track along the lines of "New Black" era SYL and "Prometheus" era Emperor, plus the Disney Orchestra from Hell, and none other than Ihsahn (!) on vocals ("I survive, nothing ever bothers Juular"). "Mighty Masturbator" is perhaps, the soundtrack to Devin. 16 minutes of metal, industrial rock, medieval guitars, carnival/funfair music and a speech dedicated to the man himself, its just so overdone that you have to give him respect.
I thought I'd heard the most fluidly written symphonic metal album this year ("The Great Mass") and thought there'd never be anything quite like it again. But then in comes Devin and his magical production hands. Coupled with his suitably massive sound of heavy layering, reverbed recording, dense instrument multi-tracking and guest list from hell, and I really don't know how anyone could top this. // 10
Lyrics: The vocalist list includes:
Paul Kuhr (November's Doom)
Mikael kerfeldt (Opeth, Bloodbath)
Tommy Giles Rogers (Between The Buried And Me)
Joe Duplantier (Gojira, ex-Cavalera Conspiracy)
Paul Masvidal (ex-Death, Cynic)
Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan)
Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever, ReVamp)
Oderus Urungus (Gwar)
Frankly, one of the best line-ups for anything I've ever set eyes on. Their performances range from high impact roles to backing vocal support, with the most impressing performance (again, this is my opinion) being from Ihsahn on "Juular", followed by Floor Jansen on "Pandemic" (blimey, that lady can sing). The least impressing performance is from Tommy Rogers on "Planet of the Apes", who's vocals get lost among the heavy guitars and orchestration and that's followed by (sadly) Mikael Akerfeldt, who gets little more than a few growling lines on "Stand". Greg Puciato should be mentioned for his diverse singing and screaming performance on "Mighty Masturbator", having lines like "We praise god/we praise Satan/we praise ourselves" but each musician performs to his or her best, despite their varying degrees of impact.
But Devin himself is also on a roll with this one. Despite taking a bit a back seat from screaming, he has instead worked his magic into some amazing guitar work and his faux-soprano voice. There are times on "Deconstruction" where he sings in the ranges not really meant for the male voice box and its just one of the most sublime moments of time when he really lets it loose, such as on the title track and "Mighty Masturbator".
Lyrically, its perhaps its his most abstract work. The whole thing is the "deconstruction" of human mentality and state of being using examples such as fame ("Mighty Masturbator"), the science of love (Title track) and surviving in general ("Juular"). These lyrics are all added with total tongue-in-cheek jokes, japes and general enthusiasm: This can range from fart samples and multiple uses of "penis" to musical shifts from super heavy metal to fairground music. // 8
Overall Impression: This is one corker of an album. If you have any interest in anything, at all, whatever it is, it doesn't even need to be relevant to anything at all, then get this album. That more or less includes everyone. Of course, I may be forcing it down your throat but give it time, the songs will sink in and so will the craziness.
However, it's not for everyone, but you don't have to be a total metal head to love it. It might appear to be the greatest ego stroker ever, but this is far from it, "Deconstruction" is the sound of one man doing what can be done. Also, I quite fancy a cheeseburger.
Songs to look out for: "Praise The Lowered", "Juular", "Planet Of The Apes", "Sumeria", "Mighty Masturbator", "Pandemic", "Deconstruction". // 10
Doodooma, on july 11, 2011 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Deconstruction" is the third album in a 4 album series by the over-the-top, probably insane Canadian musician Devin Townsend. The goal of these 4 releases is to put a magnifying glass on all the aspects of Devin's personality, highlighted by his newly found sober mind and self control. "Deconstruction" is meant to explore his more aggressive tendencies. In other words, Devin f--ks the place up.
"Deconstruction" in a nutshell is everything you felt when that kid stole your lollipop, your dog died, or you found out that Wintersun's "Time" was postponed for another year. All that times a hundred. Devin himself said that "this is the most antisocial record I have ever written, and even surpassing stuff I wrote for Strapping Young Lad." This is a completely unique body of work, and isn't really like anything Devin has written. The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir are all playing during a majority of the playing time, along with down tuned seven string guitars, thundering drums, bass, and Devin's vocals.
The album's production is fantastic. Everything that needs to be heard is heard. An extra mention should go out to the vocals. Swarms of what sounds like beasts and undead screaming to angelic falsettos, the vocal variety is huge, and utterly satisfying to hear as a listener. Not to neglect all the other aspects: the guitar playing is tight and heavy, littered with headbangable riffs and mind boggling solos, supported by a subtle but deep bass and primal drumming, giving all the insanity a pulse. // 10
Lyrics: Lyric wise, this album is a concept album. In short, a man in search for the meaning of life meets up with Satan (as you do). Satan answers his question with a greasy cheeseburger but the man, being a vegetarian, can't munch on it. This where some possible negatives could come in. For those in search of a serious release this album might not be the greatest. Most of the music is very serious, but tidbits of Devin's humorous side are unavoidable. I personally find the lyrical approach refreshing, but I can see how that opinion could vary. // 8
Overall Impression: The overall sound of the album is chaotic and very, very heavy. The album does kick off with a fairly jazzy beat reminiscent of some works from the album Ki, but very quickly turns into a juggernaut that doesn't stop pummeling. Within this chaos however, things rarely get dry, which is a huge strength of the album. Devin is always popping up with something different, and its really quite hard to absorb all at once. Every song has it's own devilish persona, all the way from the fist pumping "Stand", to the black metal/evil gremlin workshop-esque "Juular", to the comedic "The Mighty Masturbator" and Meshuggah inspired "Planet Of The Apes". Blast beats, harp arpeggios, jazz fusion solos, unique melodic lines that appear only once, palm muted polyrhythms, farts, you name it (no typos there I can assure you). We can't forget the guest musicians who also add to the dense mix, whether it be growls or a guitar solo. Songs flow very well despite the vast expanse of content, which is again a huge plus. Even within the noise, "Deconstruction" still has its melodic, softer side to show, which doesn't take away from the listening experience, but adds to it.
The album is a must hear for people who enjoy expert musicianship, and who don't mind pummeling chaos. A chaos however which balances aspects of noise and melody perfectly, and leaves you incredibly satisfied after a listen. The magic is in how Devin manages to put so much into an album, and it still being cohesive, not repetitive and most importantly, incredibly enjoyable. One of the best, of not the best of 2011 without a doubt. // 10