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Released: Nov 17, 2009
Number Of Tracks: 10
The Devin Townsend Projects latest album delivers such an epic, grandiose sound that writing a cinematic score in the future would not be a bad career move.
UG Team, on november 24, 2009 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Even if it's not his intention, Devin Townsend is quickly proving himself to be one of the most versatile musicians in any genre. While his work with extreme metal project Strapping Young Lad was usually an assault on the senses, the vast majority of his solo output has been the polar opposite or as close to that description as you can get. Fueled by mellow, ambient arrangements, solo endeavors like The Hummer and Ki seem like they could not have been possibly been touched by the man behind such crushing metal tunes as Underneath The Waves or All Hail The New Flesh. For the new album Addicted (released only about six months after his previous record Ki), his current outfit The Devin Townsend Project has combined the best of both musical worlds with impressive results.
Addicted is not what you would call light listening. With every song delivering an epic-type approach to songwriting, the Devin Townsend Project's fourth album (Townsend's 11th solo album in total) is a veritable wall of sound. It's hard to characterize the record as any one specific genre, which makes the listening experience a fascinating one. The opening track Addicted! (by the way, exclamation points follow each title oddly enough), there's an array of computer/sci-fi samples, thick banshee-like vocals, and good, old fashioned distorted guitar. Universal Ball! does not ease up on the energy, but only adds intensity with its industrial vibe and operatic vocals. Townsend's range and power are insane, and guest vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen (who sounds like a long-lost member of ABBA) is a fitting match for the multi-talented artist.
There are plenty of twists and turns on Addicted, and Supercrush! is a perfect example of the craziness. Starting out with a slower, chugging guitar and the cherubic vocal stylings of Giersbergen, the chorus explodes with a wall of sound that showcase the male and female voices trading off. In many ways, the 10 tracks could be compared to orchestral pieces. Numbered! stands out in this aspect for its grandiose construction, at times almost sounding like it would fit perfectly in an over-the-top musical at least one that doesn't mind pinch harmonics and some badass percussion. // 9
Lyrics: If the fact that every song features an exclamation point didn't tip you off, reading the full song text should indicate that Townsend has one of the oddest approaches around to lyric writing. There's something quite vague and mysterious about each song, but it's not because Townsend is caught up in a thesaurus. He just prefers to keep things simple, fairly repetitive, and very cryptic. Take the song Hyperdrive!, which features the casual lines, Where the river flows; Sail away, Hey, I'm sorry; Everyday is a new day; Hooray for love. Nothing is ever truly clarified from beginning to end, but given Townsend's amazing skills as a musician, one has to believe that he knows exactly what he's doing. Of course, that still doesn't help in the deciphering process. // 7
Overall Impression: With Addicted, you get the feeling that Townsend has some pretty lofty goals as a composer. You'll be barraged by a variety of sounds and instruments while listening to the CD, so be prepared for something far different than the traditional rock arrangements. Townsend has dabbled in a variety of genres, and the new album in many ways touches on them all again only on a grander and heavier scale. There's never quite the metal peak you'd get with Strapping Young Lad, but there's enough of an industrial vibe to keep things aggressive. Yes, those heavy moments are usually interwoven with big, keyboard-driven, epic choruses, but it makes for a wildly refreshing combination in the end. // 8
lesken100, on september 16, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Fans of strapping young lad should turn away. Now. This is not the heavy devin townsend, but his more experimental mind surfacing. Not saying that this is no good, not at all, this is a good CD! The vocals are a bit layered behind all the other sounds, but that just adds to the wall of sound pounding your face off. The presence of guest vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen is dominating at times, but not controlling, as devin shines through as a metal Pavarotti. This is going to be a long review, given that there is so much going on, but my working time is nothing compared to the time that must have been spent on this album.
01. Addicted!: It all starts with a monstrous riff that soon turns to an effect-laden experience. Annekes clean vocals paves the way for devins growling shrieks. The anthemic chorus made me start noddin my head and it did not wear off until the song was finished. The mid part being a psychedelic lead, and the song even dabbles with double bass drums! It ends with synths who fade into the next song...
02. Universe In A Ball!: This is by far my favourite, a not very hard to learn riff showing tremendous power. This is another devin-dominated song, and it showcases his talent for melodic growling. The midpart is hilarious, being some kind of evil nintendo part. A strong chorus, and a strong song. The drums are as heavy as they are groovy and I find myself noddin once again.
03. Bend It Like Bender!. This track is good fun. Its where the poppy feeling first enters, and you can hear it several times through the record. The chorus by Anneke reminds me of ABBA, but strangely enough, it works.
04. Supercrush!: Now thats downtuned guitar! The first vocal entry sounds slightly African actually, when I think about it. Even though the female vocals remind me of ABBA, they also remind me of delain, but at the last refrain they ABSOLUTELY reminds me of ABBA.
05. Hyperdrive!: The first riff is metalcore by the rulebook! The rest of the song aint. Features memorable vocal hooks and probably the strangest lyrics ever. Once again I get the poppy feeling.
06. Resolve!: you hear the evil laughter, an very ac/dc metal riff, and a scale solo ala John Petrucci. A less strong song with a chant of "I, I, I" after the chorus. An ok song, but no star in the book.
07. Ih-ah!: The only ballad-like acoustic song on the album. I love it. An incredibly catchy tune with duet parts sent from Satan himself. But the let down of Ihs and Ahs leave me utterly pissed. An excellent song, with one destroying factor.
08. The Way Home!: My other favourite. The dreamy intro prepares us for Devins magnificent vocal performance. The song is filled with synths, if you listen closely. It all seems over pretty fast, which is a problem.
09. Numbered!: this is a song for the guitarists, cause this track has got amazing riffs! And the symphonic metal singing sounds impressive. At the end it turns heavy, before it ends softly in a gentle manner. Job done.
10. Awake!: This is the album epic, and the album heavy! It puts everything Devins known for into 9 minutes. Okay, maybe not, but that's not possible, is it? The album ends on a high note, and the metal genius has gained another fan. // 9
Lyrics: Unfortunately, the lyrics don't stand the test. The weirdness is not the problem, but it quickly gets samey. The repetition parts on Ih-Ah is bad, and what you hear on the last tracks, you hear on the first too. If I was to rate only the lyrics, I would have chosen 5, but the vocal performances is stunning. This CD opened my mind for girls in metal, big time! And the man himself, would not seem out of place as a opera singer. Not that I want him to join that league! For the uplifting singing, I will give this part a 7. // 7
Overall Impression: This is something only Devin could have created! Its powerful, brilliant, and mostly heavy like a neutron star. The synths does not drag the CD down, and the man shows himself as a decent guitarist. The rythmic drums made me move a lot of times, and that's not bad for drums sounding like poppy beats. It suited the songs perfectly! A highly recommend this CD to people into progressive and industrial, and everyone interested in GOOD metal. I really need to get this CD! // 9