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The Devin Towsend Project
Released: 2011, InsideOut Music
There was a time in my life when I couldn't possibly conceive of anything less than a month's worth of sleepless nights in the run-up to a new Devin Townsend record - be it the aggrandized psychosis of Strapping Young Lad or the emotive overtures which had been a hallmark of his solo work. But lately, my interest has been on the wane. It started with the self-indulgent pap that was 2007's comedy concept, ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT, and it really reached it's ebb with last year's ADDICTED. Like a heavy metal-inspired episode of Glee, the record's exuberance sounded painted on; as much as Devin might deny it, it actually smacked more of a desperate desire to please than the last, apparently made-to-order Strapping Young Lad effort.
So, it stands to reason then that I'd approach DECONSTRUCTION with caution, notwithstanding the hyperbole around it being Dev's heaviest work to date. It's not. Instead it's ended up sounding a little like I'd imagine INFINITY may have had Townsend's love of progressive rock been a little more manifest at the time - and if he hadn't paid a visit to a mental institution. Certainly one very welcome change from the all-smiles approach employed on ADDICTED is that this record is distinctly more dynamic - in both the raft of emotions it actively explores and where it takes the listener musically. It's long too. Very long. "The Mighty Masturbator" clocks in at over sixteen minutes and though it's title suggests piss-take, its heady onslaught of blasting riffs, atmospheric keyboards and a stellar vocal performance by Devin, erases such concerns with authority. "Juular" likewise, boasting a guest turn by Emperor's Ihsahn, is every bit the layered beast you'd expect it to be and the dueling voices that make up the song's center-piece will make even the most jaded ears prick up.
In the end, DECONSTRUCTION might well be the finest thing that Devin has put his name to in nearly a decade. It's as heavy, adventurous and multi-dimensional as any of his cataloge's brightest moments - and like those classics will take years of study to appreciate completely. I'd like to say welcome back, but off the back of this, it's safe to say that Devin simply kept the real deal under wraps for a while.
1. Praise The Lowered
4. Planet of the Apes
6. The Mighty Masturbator
Devin Townsend – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, programming
Ryan Van Poederooyen – drums on tracks 1, 2, 4 and 6
Dirk Verbeuren – drums on tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
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