Jan 2017 10

Devin Townsend Project - TranscendenceDevin Townsend Project
Category: Progressive / Metal / Experimental
Album: Transcendence
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: No longer just an extension of the individual, but also presenting the strength of a collective unit, the latest album from Devin Townsend Project does well to please longtime fans and entice a new audience.


With an impressive body of work spanning multiple projects and appearances, and possessing a renowned and rather spastic sense of humor, Devin Townsend is one of modern music’s most prolific and chaotically diverse figures. With this seventh release from his Devin Townsend Project, the mad genius loosens his usually tight reigns as Transcendence features not only the cooperation of product Adam “Nolly” Getgood, but more creative input from the other band members, resulting in an album that takes its place as one of Townsend’s most fully realized conceptual achievements.

With the overture that is a re-recording of “Truth” starting the album off, the listener is treated to Townsend’s usual wall-of-sound production sound as layers upon layers of vocals, guitars, and keyboards create a nearly impenetrable atmosphere that amid the dynamic rhythms of drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen and bassist Bryan Waddell begins Transcendence on an entrancingly cosmic note. The interplay between Townsend’s tightly knit melodic schemes and fellow guitarist Dave Young’s makes for a delightful contrast, each trading off solos and phrases to add their own touches throughout the album. This is especially felt in “Stormbending,” Young’s frenetic tapping solo creating a sense of frenzy that leads to the slower, but no less intense eye of the storm simplicity of Townsend, while the crystalline 12-string that introduces “Higher” gives Townsend room to build his powerful vocal harmonies with the assistance Anneke van Giersbergen and Ché Aimee Dorval before the song erupts into a viciously ballistic, even monstrous heavy metal symphony. Similarly, the title track explodes with a Wagnerian exuberance full of operatic grandeur that is remarkably well executed, while “Failure” may stand as the musical highpoint of the album as the nearly imperceptible shifts in time signature belie a sharply menacing rhythmic cadence that underscores some lovely moments of subtlety and beauty. Songs like “Secret Sciences,” “Stars,” and the blissfully romantic “From the Heart” are no less boisterous or voluminous, though the primary major key passages possess an almost saccharine pop appeal that does well to guide uninitiated listeners into the band’s esoteric sonic realm. The same can be said of the quite faithful cover of Ween’s “Transdermal Celebration,” the song giving way to a celestial cloud of keyboard pads that closes the album out brilliantly.

Whether Transcendence signals a new direction for Devin Townsend Project or not remains to be seen, the deluxe edition featuring a series of demos and additional tracks that further indicate the tight synergy among the band members. Sure to please longtime fans while also enticing a new audience, Transcendence may not be the best of Devin Townsend Project, but it represents all of the band’s strengths as a creative unit and as an extension of the individual artist.
Track list:

  1. Truth
  2. Stormbending
  3. Failure
  4. Secret Sciences
  5. Higher
  6. Stars
  7. Transcendence
  8. Offer Your Light
  9. From the Heart
  10. Transdermal Celebration

Devin Townsend
Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
HevyDevy Records
InsideOut Music
Website, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
Purchase at:
Amazon CD (Standard Edition)
Amazon CD (Deluxe Edition)
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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