Devin Townsend Project – “Transcendence”

Album Reviews | Oct 17th, 2016

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Record Label: Inside Out Records
Genre: Progressive Metal
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This is the latest offering in Devin Townsend’s 25+ album career. Transcendence finds Dev and his band diving more into more emotionally invested material in the style of ‘Ocean Machine’, ‘Accelerated Evolution’ and ‘Terria’ and putting the Ziltoid cartoons aside for a bit.

One of the things that made this album just a bit different is Devin, who for the most part self produced and wrote most of his material, took a step back this time, let the rest of his band contribute to shaping the material more. Strong examples of this can be found in “Failure”, which was a group effort and other areas where Dev was out of ideas that guitarist Dave Young and keyboardist Mike St. Jean stepped in on the pre-solo section to “stormbending”. Another thing that was also a welcome breath of fresh air was the lack of attempts at more pop related material that seemed to be the primary focal point of the last few records. The one thing with Devin Townsend albums is you never know what you’re going to get, whether it be a pop album, a cartoonish circus, an ambient album, or a more atmospheric laid back acoustic styled effort. This album feels like a swerve from all of that. Not to say they’re aren’t poppy moments on the record, but it’s not the focal point. “Stars” is some more poppy type Dev stuff in the vein of songs like “Back where we belong”, but outside of the up-tempo “offer your light” that’s about as poppy as the album gets.

Mentioning Dev taking a step back also applies to production, as they had Nolly Getgood of Periphery assisting in the production and engineering of this album. It’s really hard to tell what impact he had sonically on the album, other than taking some stress of Devin’s plate from being too hands on. From the looks of the documentary series that aired on YouTube, It looked like his presence really enlightened the band, using different recording techniques on drums, but the end result is the colossal wall of sound one would expect from a Devin Townsend record.

Gripes with the album would be the re-recording of “Truth” which seemed a bit unnecessary. The inclusion of cover of Ween’s “Transdermal Celebration” seemed like an odd way to close out the album, as it seemed like “From the Heart” did a good job at it. There’s also a deluxe edition with demos that acts as it’s own album. Some of these songs like “Gump” and “Into the sun” are pretty heavy, and there’s no denying Dev leans on his metal side from time to time, especially after hearing this and the heavier section of “Higher” from the first part of the album.

Bottom Line: This is one of the better albums Dev has put out in a while. It feels like a great deal of work has been put into this that we haven’t seen since he originally embarked on the 4 album Project series. It’s great to see Dev delve back into more emotionally driven material.
Notable Tracks: Failure, Stormbending, Higher, Secret Sciences, Stars
Overall Rating:


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