The Noob’s Guide to Devin Townsend, Part 2!

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Howdy my fellow turlet dwellers! Jimmy McNulty and I are here with the second installment of The Noob’s Guide to Devin Townsend! Previously, McNulty took you through the discography of Strapping Young. Today, we divided up Devin’s solo efforts and will address each album with our own take. Although much of Devin’s work is solely created by him, the albums covered today are strictly under the moniker of “Devin Townsend”. Lets get started!


 

punkyb1996 Punky Brüster Cooked on Phonics

(GL) Although most of you will dismiss Punky Brüster immediately, I invite you to hang around for a least ONE song. That song is Ez$$$. I believe the core behind this record laid strictly in his distaste for the music industry (not a totally new concept). Lyrics include “It took two minutes, to piece these three lame riffs together. It it’s the same crap that’s selling loads”. Original, I know! But, the interesting thing behind this statement is that Devin has stated in a recent interview that his work in SYL “was emotionally really unhealthy for me because it’s foundation was rooted in apathy and anger.” Why is thing important? Be sure to stick around for our third and final installment of this series!


 

dream-big-and-work-hard1997 Ocean Machine: Biomech

(JJM) This one hits home for me. At the time it was released I was under the impression that SYL was finished. I kept listening to this album thinking, “This is NOT Devin!” But it is… as I would later come to grasp. The aggression was mostly gone but the heavy melodic riffs were still present. This album is Devin finding himself as a solo artist: layering tons of guitars and taking total control over a variety of vocal styles. You’ll find melodic yet melancholic tracks (Seventh Wave, Funeral , Bastard) interspersed with up-beat, hard rock tracks (Life, Hide Nowhere, Voices In the Fan), and a few absolute surprises: acoustic with hints of electronica in “The Death of Music” and “Things Beyond Things”. Son of a gun, I’d like to link the entire album to you folks, as it’s so perfect; but I cannot… instead I will leave you with an absolute monster of a progressive metal song, “Bastard/Not One of the Better Days”:


 

Devin_Townsend_-_Infinity_-_album_cover1998 Infinity

(GL) This 1998 album was released before I had any interest in his career (cuz I was in 5th grade!). Regardless, Devin is true to form: amazing. There are a number of gems in this album ranging in typical spastic Devy in Ants, to down right rock and roll fun in Bad Devil. Highlights in this album include very pre-Casualties of Cool esque Noisy Pink Bubbles and Christeen. Overall the album is very thematically well rounded. There is enough interesting content for even the most casual of listener. Give it a try!

 


 

61VB0J777ML2000 Physicist

(JJM) I truly wonder if Devin feared losing his SYL fanbase, and therefore created the closest album he possibly could to his previous band with Physicst. It’s a thrashy, industrial effort with a minimal amount of his newly-discovered melodic tendencies. Though there are blast beats, keyboards, and a giant amount of screams, it’s not as angry or as violent as SYL. Perfect examples include Kingdom  and Jupiter, each of which could easily satisfy 7 out of 10 SYL fans. And I simply must give Devin credit for one of the best compositions of his entire career: Planet Rain.  It’s an 11-minute masterpiece which perfectly combines the fury of SYL and the melodicism of his solo material.  Please give it a listen HERE.


 

terria2001 Terria

(GL) I feel like this is one of Devin’s best albums with regard to production. Often the sonic landscape of his tunes is so jam-packed that listening often requires many attempts. Here, Terria flows effortlessly from start to end and I feel like he is truly in his element: no satire, no alien jokes, and no quirky lyrics about “Shitstorms”. Highlights of this album are difficult to pinpoint due the awesomeness of most tracks. The best place to start with is Deep Peace and Canada. For the money shot listen to Nobody’s Here! Although my education days are done, this is perfect soundtrack to working or studying.


 

cover_3349530620092004 Devlab

(JJM) Devin Townsend doesn’t hide the fact that he’s a troll; one or two tracks of silly bullshit is understandable, but an entire album? Goofy samples and snippets of dialogue over forgettable ambient, white noise. Skip it, flush it, I can’t imagine who would enjoy such a joke. *GL: agreed! its terrible!*

 


 

hummer2006 The Hummer

(GL) Anyone here like ambient noise that is actually listenable (BLAOW BLAOW SHOTS FIRED!)? Well get in here! I was not very familiar with this album prior to my write up but I’ve become quite enamoreed with a one song in particular: The Abaqus. Coming in a 8 minutes this track is the cat’s-ass from start to finish. A perfect build and a flawless end. Although this song is quite beautiful, the album as a whole is difficult to get attached to due to the endless shifting from one “noise riff” section to another. Is the album terrible? No. Would it likely be a better listen while tripping on shrooms in a pitch black room? Possibly.


 

1506252007 Ziltoid I: The Omniscient

(JJM) Many a Devin fan consider this to be his best material; and though I don’t agree I’m okay with that assessment! This is a very well-crafted metal opera with a variety of song lengths and appropriately-placed dialogue. It’s a great balance of heavy and melodic; everything flows together extremely well. The album does a fantastic job of telling the story of an alien who invades Earth in search of the prefect cup of coffee (don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything!). With this album, Devin starts to recycle a few elements from previous efforts. You’ll hear little easter eggs from songs off of SYL’s “Alien” his solo Ocean Machine: Biomech. Side note: he’ll later re-interpret the wonderfully catchy Hyperdrive on a later album entitled Addicted (with stunning female vocals included). This album is best enjoyed front-to-back, so the only other track that I really want to link to is The Greys because it does a good job of standing alone and could have EASILY fit in with his masterpiece Ocean Machine: Biomech.


 

Devin_Townsend_Z2_cover  2014 Ziltoid II: Dark Matters

(GL) With all the love for Devin in this seemingly endless circle jerk, Ziltoid II is where Devin loses me. I just do not get the Ziltoid thing. The album is with odd puppet dialogue but there is at least one gem inside: March of the Poozers. Silly title aside, this song is straight boss! If you don’t get the Ziltoid mania and still want to give this a shot, I would try to focus solely on the music.


Thats it folks! In our next and final installment of The Noob’s Guide To Devin Townsend I will be tackling music created under the umbrella of The Devin Townsend Project. Stay tuned!

<3

GL and JJM

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  • Reposted Avenged Sevenfold Fan

    This guy walked through a metal detector naked and it still went off.

    -declairWAR595, 4 days ago

  • SWOLEBEARD

    I still rally don get devin

    • The best part is that as a musician he is so multi-faceted that there is something (content wise) for everyone!

      GL

      • SWOLEBEARD

        I know a bunch of Mexican guys that are mulch-faceted tho

    • Based Tapir

      It really hurts me when I have to agree with you.

      • SWOLEBEARD

        Daw, it’ll be okay

      • you like Devin, sillypants

        • Based Tapir

          I’m not a huge fan of his music. Also, my pants are not silly.

          • more beer

            Does a Tapir even wear pants?

          • Based Tapir

            I don’t wear them, I just look at them. Sometimes I try to eat them. I love my pants.

          • VVayne Brady

            For some reason, this sounded to me like something JJD would say if he was a tapir.

          • Based Tapir

            Not enough dad rock band references

          • more beer

            Apparently so. What kind of condiments go well with pants?

          • Based Tapir

            Pesto goes well with black jeans.

          • more beer

            Pesto is delicious!

          • Lacertilian

            Just make sure you boil all your denims

      • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras
        • Based Tapir

          I ain’t hatin’ him, Icelandic Kim Jong-Un.

    • Scrimm

      Same.

  • Also, this version of “Kingdom” is the tits!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nubJjB95VdY

    GL

    • SWOLEBEARD

      This isn’t terrible. That guitar is the coolest part

      • He is the greatest. Thus, the articles. You should really check out the recommendations that JJM and I put together for you all! I am sure you will enjoy it.

        GL

        • SWOLEBEARD

          I’ve heard most of his albums, and I wasn’t even into syl much. I meant the guitar itself was the coolest part. I’m going to have to think about using some leds on my next guitar project

    • RustyShackleford

      Love his playthrough videos. Highly entertaining!

    • Sick talent!

  • Tyreeling In The Years
    • Tyreeling In The Years
      • Scrimm

        I’d fucking kill someone to have a video of my buddy running on a treadmill when it unexpectedly died. So great.

        • more beer

          There is nothing like laughing at your friends pain and misfortune.

        • Tyreeling In The Years

          Treadmill accident videos are the best.

          http://i.imgur.com/QacTmWY.gif

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            Smooth.

          • Tyreeling In The Years

            Total BRO move.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            I tripped on a treadmill once in a crowded gym, commenced laughing my ass of at myself, others joined in. No fucks given.

          • more beer

            Looking at that ass instead of paying attention.

          • Maik Beninton

            Played real nice.

          • Scrimm

            Im gonna spend hours looking at these now. When it happened to my pal he went all the way over the front of the thing and kicked a mirror off the gym wall.

          • it’s the girl’s fault for wearing those hawt pants

  • Dagon’s Shocked Right Nipple

    A worthy sidenote: Some of The Physicist’s material was ment for a band of the same name with Jason Newstead, who – because of Hetfield – couldn’t participate, so that explains some of the change.

    • Dagon’s Shocked Right Nipple

      Never was a DT fan though. Devlab is okay, Hummer is better and Terria is quite alright indeed, maybe his best.

    • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

      That I never knew.

      • Dagon’s Shocked Right Nipple

        He and Jason have both verified in some interviews.

  • Y’all ain’t forgettin’ The Devin Townsend Band, are ya?

    • That will be covered in part three, brother!

      GL

      • HELL YEAH, BROTHER.

      • Which reminds me, despite my mancrush on Devin Townsend, I actually haven’t listened much to DTP outside of seeing them open for Gojira.

  • The God Emperor of Mankind

    Soooooo, my dream come true is for him and Voivod to do a collab. I decree it has to happen.

    • Welcome to the toilet! New here?

      GL

      • Maik Beninton

        He has been around for awhile.

      • The God Emperor of Mankind

        I’ve been around, only recently decided to drop my psychic veil and save humanity.

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    You guys are doing a great job breaking down the ridiculous quantity of music this dude has put out. I haven’t heard a lot of his earlier stuff, so I am checking out some of the tracks now.

    On almost every song, he still is like one ambient layer away from being one of my favorite artists. Too often there is just too much noise all at once and it makes it impossible to dissect and really get accustomed to. Still enjoyable, just in smaller doses.

    • so i feel like it would be super intimidating for a n00b to delve right into the massive discography. GL and i are trying to ease in people like Papa Joe!

      • I’ve mentioned before that I’ve tried to get into DT without much success. Aside from Casualties of Cool and Ki, I really like the song “Fallout” from Z2. The intro would make a sick hip hop beat.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B7Grtd0zSQ

        • yeah i remember you saying that! Ki is one of his best works for sure, it’s obvious he put a ton of time and thought into it.
          try this Hyperdrive re-interpretation (featuring Anneke Van Giersbergen) that i hinted at:
          swoon @ those vox!!!
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf4_LB32M6Q

          • Lacertilian

            Did Anneke sing on Heaven’s End or Heaven Send (can’t remember what it’s called).?

          • Tina…The Brutal Fey

            It’s not Anneke. I thinks it’s Che, of the Casualties Of Cool collaboration.

          • Tina…The Brutal Fey
          • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

            And ANYTHING by The Gathering. IMHO, Century Media dropped the ball with them big time.

          • Tina…The Brutal Fey
          • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

            Neato! Haven’t heard this one before, but definitely sounds alot like Portishead.

          • Tina…The Brutal Fey

            Yeah, they went trip-hoppy on Souvenirs and Home.

          • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

            I could listen to her sing or recite ‘Everybody Poops’ and still find it enthralling!

        • THIS is a solid track for sure, Joe. I try to listen to this song once a day, believe it or not.

          GL

  • Scrimm

    Went and tried all these tracks. Nope, sorry.

    • Dagon

      We bond through disdain.

      • Scrimm

        This makes me happy.

    • yeah but… try them again!

      • Scrimm

        Awww man, I only did it that time for your sake! OK, here goess nothing….

        • it’s understandable. i often wonder if i’d be into the music NOW if i were a n00b.
          SYL was 1/4th of the bands that got me into trve metal and so i’ve basically grown up listening to Devy for the past 15 years!

          • Scrimm

            I can remember the first time I heard City, at least. Good old 1999.

          • Scrimm

            your rec’s are better than a lot of the stiff I’ve heard at least.

          • c’mere you

            >—-(^_^)—-<

  • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

    What, no Ki?!?!

  • great write-up, GL! his music is so good

  • Guacamole Jim

    Ocean Machine is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Everything else……… meh. The write-up here is excellent and thorough, but Devin produces so much material I think he doesn’t take the time to quality control it.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    heavy metal

    both at once–1st vid muted—2nd vid full vol
    http://youtu.be/YDCB38At1c4

    http://youtu.be/7j8vUbMmOwM

    • Dagon

      Upvoting you for the song. One of my favorites from Death. Now I feel the urge to binge on them.

  • Based Tapir

    I’ll have to try to get into Devin’s stuff. Just for you McNasty.

  • Guacamole Jim

    I do need to say that I’m impressed with the amount of material you’ve listened to and compiled here.

    • Dagon

      Seconded.
      I want to give The Porcelain Throne a try but every band I think about has a huge discog. I need something with 4 albums max.

      • Looking forward to The Porcelain Throne entry for Demilich.

        • Dagon

          I grinned. But Timeghoul is somewhat similar and would provide a short but sweet entry.

    • Thank GJ. The tricky part was making sure we thoroughly listened to all the material that we were not intimately familiar with. Def took some time!

      GL

  • thanks for this episode, GL and Macnulti! Strapping Young didn’t grab me enough, so I will try with these ones.

    I’m waiting for the third part, because the most ambient-melowdic tracks were the ones I dug

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    After the first article, I immediately grabbed City and put both Alien and the New Black on my list. Still need to listen to the other two SYL studio albums and here you both are, supplying me with a couple more albums of which some will quite likely end up on the list. My wallet hates you guys in a loving way.

    • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

      You’ll definitely have to sit back for Alien. Dev has bipolar 1, and purposely went off his meds while making that CD. It’s pretty much the soundtrack to BP1 and a nervous breakdown.

      • Further Down the Metal Hole

        I certainly enjoyed it. It’s like his attitude suddenly clicked with me and now I’m thoroughly liking it. Hope this doesn’t mean I’m becoming bipolar and/or am having a nervous breakdown without noticing.

        • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

          Nah. But did you notice how quickly his mood on the CD shifts?

          • Further Down the Metal Hole

            Admittedly, no. I’ll have to give it another go and pay more attention instead of having it as sort of background music. I won’t disappoint Dear Leader!

          • KJU’s Breakdancing Bodybags

            Mostly it’s his lyrics and moods in the vocals that change. The music? The music stays in constant kill mode throughout the entire CD.

        • KJU SkráðuVergaskip Egyo í Ras

          *how quickly his moods shift*