Gildan's Guide to Good Music: Devin Townsend Project - Addicted

Gildan's Guide to Good Music

The world of music is a vast ocean of crap - join me on a voyage to the tiny isolated islands of excellence.

As the tagline not so subtly suggests, it's really easy to find terrible music - you have but to turn on your radio, and lo, bad music abounds. The good stuff though, well that's rarely quite so easy to find, and while some popular music actually deserves the accolades it receives[1], most excellent music languishes in comparative obscurity. And that's where I come in!

What I aim to accomplish with these articles is to showcase quality albums from bands you've[2] never heard of, in the hopes that at least one of the comparative handful of people who actually read my rambling and rampantly egotistical definitely quite humble reviews has found them useful[3].

This episode of the guide will focus on one of the various reasons I'm not especially resentful of Canada for inflicting Justin Bieber on the rest of us.



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Devin Townsend Project

Addicted

Musical Genre: Industrial/Techno/Metal
Running Time: 46 minutes
# of Tracks: 10
Particularly noteworthy songs: Supercrush!, Ih-Ah!, Numbered!

Devin Townsend: Crazy awesome, or awesomely crazy? The answer is really a bit of both - but I'm getting ahead of myself!

In case you're unfamiliar with the man, Townsend was the vocalist/guitarist/chief motive force behind Canadian extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad[4] and The Devin Townsend Band, which played his very different solo album materials - a casual listener, upon learning both were the work of one man, might conclude he was bipolar.

Devin Townsend is bipolar. So that makes sense then.

The album I'm examining tonight is the 2nd album (out a planned 4) that he's released under the new moniker "Devin Townsend Project", after disbanding Strapping Young Lad and the Devin Townsend Band and undergoing a self-imposed hiatus from the music industry in 2007. While the first of his new albums, Ki, was relatively tranquil and contemplative, Addicted is both much heavier and more 'commercial' fare, falling more on the Strapping Young Lad side of his musical spectrum, albeit the more generally accessible examples from that discography, as there's a much greater melodic focus.

At the time I bought this album, I was not a Devin Townsend fan by any stretch of the imagination, so I have two things to thank for my introduction to it:

    1. It was on sale for a ridiculous price (yay).
    2. The review I glanced at mentioned it had Anneke Van Giersbergen on it.
Now Anneke is hardly a household name for most, but as an avid fan of The Gathering and Ayreon (she's been a guest vocalist on several albums)[5], that instantly caught my eye, and I'm very glad it did, because this album is awesome. Anneke contributes varying amounts of vocals to every track, whether as backing vocals, solo-verse/choruses, or duets with Townsend, and she handles track 5 (Hyperdrive!, a cover of an earlier Townsend song from Ziltoid The Omniscient) almost entirely on her own; her clear sweet voice contrasts/complements Townsend's snarls/shouts/not-really-sure-how-he-sings-like-that/soulful crooning quite nicely. Listening to them singing together, it's easy to imagine they'd been doing that for years, though this is in fact their first collaboration.

The music, apart from the odd minimalistic section here or there, tends to be a densely packed 'wall of sound', with multiple harmonies and counterpoints layered onto the otherwise straightforward and simple melodies - rarely is there ever just one or two things going on at once. There is also a heavy emphasis on synthesizers and reverb effects on most tracks - acoustic music this is not, heh. Townsend described the songs on this album as "heavy but danceable", and it's a particularly apt description for them.

If my mentions of "extreme metal" and "screaming" earlier have raised musical red flags for you, worry not! This is nothing like the typical extreme metal fare wherein 'vocalists' growl incoherently, scream painfully, or otherwise assault your ears for no damn good reason - as someone who only tolerates harsh vocals if the rest of the composition is awesome enough to balance them out, I'd hardly be recommending this if it was typical of the harsher end of Industrial Metal. The vocal approach I couldn't quite describe earlier is really a mixture of shouting, screaming, and singing all at once, and is both completely intelligible and (most importantly) musical - also it's only ever really prominent on the first two tracks (with either Anneke or his own clean singing acting as a counterpoint).

Okay, enough of my yammering on, here's my 3 favorite tracks from the album so you can listen to it for yourself.

Due to all three of those videos getting removed due to terms of use violations since I originally posted this, what you see below is actually two of my favorite tracks and another one I liked because those were all I could find anymore (so many shitty live recordings and amateur-hour covers, grah!).



Unlike the last album I looked at in this guide, I don't really expect Addicted to be universally well-received - Townsend doesn't really write music like that, you're either going to love it or hate it. If your musical sensibilities align with my own and yet you were somehow unaware of this until now, you're welcome! Everyone else can go write their own guide to good music if they don't like what I think know is awesome, heh.

Well, that wraps up another entry in the ongoing guide to music that is the inverse of bad - feel free to bombard me with suggestions for what to 'review' next, so I can ignore them and just do whatever the hell I was going to anyways. Or not, I'm not picky!

Other entries in Gildan's Guide to Good Music

Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR
Guilt Machine - On This Perfect Day
Ride The Sky - New Protection
Karmakanic - Who's The Boss In The Factory?
The Romanovs - ...And The Moon Was Hungry...
Penumbra - Seclusion
Within Temptation - The Heart Of Everything
Octavia Sperati - Grace Submerged
Virgin Black - Requiem - Mezzo Forte
Allen/Lande - The Battle
Todesbonden - Sleep Now, Quiet Forest
Beyond Twilight - Section X
Katatonia - Night Is The New Day
After Forever - After Forever
The 69 Eyes - Back In Blood
Red Circuit - Homeland
Hurt - Vol. 1
Myrath - Desert Call
Ayreon - The Human Equation
Nocturnal Rites - The 8th Sin
Witchbreed - Heretic Rapture
Arjen A. Lucassen's Star One - Victims Of The Modern Age
Agua de Annique - Pure Air
Joe Bonamassa - The Ballad of John Henry
Taal - Skymind

Want to be notified whenever I post a new Guide to Good Music article? Well now you can join the Guide to Good Music notification service group, and receive a notification whenever I post a new Guide to Good Music article! Huzzah.

[1] In which case it is certainly good music, but you don't really need me to tell you about it, now do you?
[2] Certainly true of the average person on the street, but there's always the possibility that as a member of The Escapist you have indeed heard of some of the various bands I review, in which case you get a (metaphorical) high five.
[3] Whether that's always the case is debatable, as these articles of mine generally don't receive a great deal of comments or views - but that's okay, since I write mainly to amuse myself. Feedback, while nice, is merely an optional extra.
[4] So named because Townsend was known for being a one-time Steve Vai lead vocalist, and didn't want any preconceptions his name might bring attached to his new band.
[5] It turns out Townsend has also been an Ayreon guest vocalist, on none other than my favorite Ayreon album "The Human Equation", and I just hadn't made the connection.

This one is great. I've been listening to it for a couple of months now, thanks to Gildan who convinced me to buy it back then.

I like how complex the sound is. I did not know Devin was bi-polar, but it seems to fit his style in any case.

I think I have to take another moment to thank you once again for introducing me to this album, Gildan, simply because it is so awesome. :D

meganmeave:

I think I have to take another moment to thank you once again for introducing me to this album, Gildan, simply because it is so awesome. :D

You're quite welcome! Oh hey, while I'm thinking of stuff I've convinced you to buy, did you ever pick up that Hurt album? I was actually considering covering that group next (well, it's one of a half-dozen things I'm considering writing about anyways).

Gildan Bladeborn:

meganmeave:

I think I have to take another moment to thank you once again for introducing me to this album, Gildan, simply because it is so awesome. :D

You're quite welcome! Oh hey, while I'm thinking of stuff I've convinced you to buy, did you ever pick up that Hurt album? I was actually considering covering that group next (well, it's one of a half-dozen things I'm considering writing about anyways).

Not yet. It's in my list. I got on a trip hop splurge recently and that took all my music funds for a little while.

meganmeave:

Not yet. It's in my list. I got on a trip hop splurge recently and that took all my music funds for a little while.

Ah, well that's a reason I can get behind - trip hop is quite nice.

I've been looking to buy this album but I thought it was bit expensive. Good review. As a guy who already listened Synchestra and loved it, would you say this album is heavier or lighter?

Devin Townsend = My favorite musician in the world.

Nice review! Glad to see it was unbiased and analytical in a good way.

meganmeave:
This one is great. I've been listening to it for a couple of months now, thanks to Gildan who convinced me to buy it back then.

I like how complex the sound is. I did not know Devin was bi-polar, but it seems to fit his style in any case.

Check out the album 'Synchestra' by him, it's a bit heavier and a lot more complex but just as good!

I feel this song is an absolute fucking masterpiece:

Pity the sound quality is crap, couldn't find a good version.

I didn't like it as much as Ki, but it was still really good. When the hell's Deconstruction and Ghost coming out?

Artemus_Cain:
I didn't like it as much as Ki, but it was still really good. When the hell's Deconstruction and Ghost coming out?

Might take a while, he's been saying in interviews they're a bit heavier and more complex so they could be taking more time to mix/record.

MiracleOfSound:

Check out the album 'Synchestra' by him, it's a bit heavier and a lot more complex but just as good!

I feel this song is an absolute fucking masterpiece:

Pity the sound quality is crap, couldn't find a good version.

His other albums are on my list, but I went a little nuts with the trip hop.

The song is great though, even with the low quality.

Wrathful:
I've been looking to buy this album but I thought it was bit expensive. Good review. As a guy who already listened Synchestra and loved it, would you say this album is heavier or lighter?

I wouldn't have known the answer to that, but since MiracleOfSound noticed this thread it would appear that the answer is "Addicted is lighter than Synchestra".

Artemus_Cain:
I didn't like it as much as Ki, but it was still really good. When the hell's Deconstruction and Ghost coming out?

The news I've seen is that those are scheduled to release simultaneously on May 11th of next year.

Damn it! I was going to make a review of this along with his Ziltoid the Omniscient and Terria album :(

Oh well, still, it was a great review of one of the few great albums still around.

Too bad he doesn't get enough recognition.

MiracleOfSound:
Devin Townsend = My favorite musician in the world.

My thoughts exactly. Personally, I'd say his best was either Accelerated Evolution or this one.

Wrathful:
I've been looking to buy this album but I thought it was bit expensive. Good review. As a guy who already listened Synchestra and loved it, would you say this album is heavier or lighter?

I'd personally say it's heavier, but some songs like The Way Home are almost power pop-ish. The first 2 tracks are definitely heavy while the rest are varying in their heaviness but it's still a fantastic album

Julianking93:
Damn it! I was going to make a review of this along with his Ziltoid the Omniscient and Terria album :(

Oh well, still, it was a great review of one of the few great albums still around.

Thanks, but I hardly have a monopoly on any album I happen to cover - if you really wanted to make that review, you should go ahead and make it. I don't go into very much detail in these articles (as the intent is mostly just to raise interest and let people come to their own conclusions) so a more exhaustive analysis could easily be done without it feeling superfluous.

And it's not like there's a ton of other people writing music reviews; you can hardly shake a stick without hitting 5-10 different takes on [Popular game that just came out], but there's maybe 3-4 people who review music with any degree of regularity (however irregular that might actually be, heh). I'd say go for it!

Julianking93:
Damn it! I was going to make a review of this along with his Ziltoid the Omniscient and Terria album :(

Oh well, still, it was a great review of one of the few great albums still around.

Too bad he doesn't get enough recognition.

MiracleOfSound:
Devin Townsend = My favorite musician in the world.

My thoughts exactly. Personally, I'd say his best was either Accelerated Evolution or this one.

Accelerated Evolution is amazing alright... gosh if I had to pick a favorite I'd have to say either Ocean Machine or Alien by SYL (Shitstorm is the heaviest fucking song I've ever heard)

MiracleOfSound:

Julianking93:
Damn it! I was going to make a review of this along with his Ziltoid the Omniscient and Terria album :(

Oh well, still, it was a great review of one of the few great albums still around.

Too bad he doesn't get enough recognition.

MiracleOfSound:
Devin Townsend = My favorite musician in the world.

My thoughts exactly. Personally, I'd say his best was either Accelerated Evolution or this one.

Accelerated Evolution is amazing alright... gosh if I had to pick a favorite I'd have to say either Ocean Machine or Alien by SYL (Shitstorm is the heaviest fucking song I've ever heard)

Well, I was going only by Devin's solo work, but SYL's pretty good. Only really listened to "City" but the tracks on there were just so goddamned heavy it was insane. And yeah, Ocean Machine is good but I really loved Accelerated Evolution even if it was just because of the song Deadhead.

 

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