Album Review: Devin Townsend – Transcendence

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Artist: Devin Townsend Project
Album: Transencence
Label: InsideOut Records
Year: 2016

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Devin Townsend, also known as the man that doesn’t quit (and we love him for that), is about to release his brand new album Transcendence! Just two short years after the release of the highly anticipated Z2 album, the follow up to Ziltoid the Omniscient, Devin and crew are back at it again. Yes ladies and gentlemen that’s right, the DTP are coming back with their new album Transcendence and boy is it a good one.

Starting off with a remastered/rerecorded “Truth” from the Infinity album, you can instantly tell the energy is good with these guys. We were a bit weary when we heard there was another song being redone from previous work, usually when you think of a band re-recording a song, you instantly think its because of lack of ideas for original songs. We all know this is never the case with Devin and to be honest it doesn’t feel like it either. Once we heard the track we knew this wasn’t the case. You could tell the group knew a solid opening track for  the album and what better way to praise it, than to re-record it with the group of musicians you have been working nonstop with for the past seven plus years. They were able to take a song and make it better using the unity and the energy of the band at its current state; especially considering none of the DTP are original members that recorded “Truth” other than of course, Devin.

The song leads directly into their first music video for the album “Stormbending” which is a very inspiring song and leads you into what to expect from the rest of the album. . . for the most part, but I’ll get to that later. Next, are the two songs that have been released already “Failure” the Meshuggah-esque riff, ok DJENT-y song, that was written by the entire band (which is a first) and if you ask us it needs to happen more often! Followed up by “Secret Sciences” featuring our favorite guest vocalist Anneke Van Griersbergen. Thus far, Devin and the band have stayed on the somewhat mellow side, while still showcasing their work and talent. Drummer, Ryan Van Poederooyen, as seen in his early play through video, has some monster beats on this album just check out his work on “Higher” (one of my favorites on the album, maybe even the albums heaviest). Hell just listening to the album right now, “Secret Sciences” has some crazy technical drumming to it hidden in the mix. The last song I will mention, is one we probably all heard before, “Stars.” For those keeping track, this was the song Devin recorded live in 2 hours.* “Stars” is as epic as, if not even more epic sounding than it was, when it was mostly computer generated drums; and I hear a hint of Anneke accenting portions of the chorus.

As I mentioned before one of my favorite songs on the album “Higher” is probably one of the heaviest and most technical songs on the album. Now that isn’t the reason I enjoy the song, not the only one at least. No, “Higher” while being technical and heavy, also has some of the most inspiring lyrics, and while I can neither confirm, nor deny, it sounds like Anneke might be on this song, as well with what sounds like a choir during a part of the song. Kicking off the song with an acoustic riff by Dave Young, this song kicks into full speed at the 1:15 mark and doesn’t really stop till the song ends at 9:40. This will be a song to see live for sure! While the rest of the album would be amazing to see, this one would just be fun to watch them try to keep up.

Real quick I wanted to shout out to Dave Young (Guitars) and Brian ‘Beav’ Waddell (Bass), I don’t feel like they ever get the credit they deserve. In watching the most recent video for the studio sessions or whatever, Dave goes through a lot to be Devin’s right. . err, left hand guy. Besides, who ever really talks about the bassist, seriously there are some great parts throughout all the songs and it’s because of them that these songs are whole.

While I am not going to go through the whole album song by song, as I already started, I will leave you with this. This is a great follow up to Epicloud in the sense that it pulls concepts from many of his previous albums. I have heard elements of everything from Accelerated Evolution to Synchestra, Ocean Machine to Terria with a bit of a nod to Deconstruction. It’s always nice to see that bands never fully lose the sound they came from, they just build upon them. And while I know she isn’t a permanent member, just hearing Anneke’s voice in the handful of songs adds that special something. It’s never really been missing from Devin’s music, but its a nice touch and their voices just mesh well together.

Transcendence is due out September 9th, 2016 via InsideOut records and is currently available for pre order at these locations here and here, oh and here.

Rating: 5/5

RIYL: Meshuggah, Periphery, Katatonia, Steven Wilson, Ayreon

Tracklisting:

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

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