Sound — 10
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.
Lyrics — 8
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.
Overall Impression — 10
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.