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Album Reviews : Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence

By on October 13, 2016

devin-townsend-project-transcendenceThe Devin Townsend Project has returned with yet another masterpiece, a real treat for the senses following their Ziltoid-led Z2 which was released in 2014. Transcendence represents a culmination of sounds that the band and Devin Townsend have created over the years whilst simultaneously creating unfamiliar soundscapes – ones that hold the captivating eccentricity of the Canadian mastermind.

“Truth” brings back nostalgic memories with ethereal layers, the eruption of powerful, sudden guitar riffs that are guided by an absolutely beautiful atmosphere of melodic keys and more. The little shifts of tempo make this track an eternal classic and is so driven by a chaotic rhythm and choral vocals that are absolutely addictive, perfectly balancing the technical riffage. It’s airy, sensational and a perfect introduction. Immediate transition into “Stormbending” which, aptly named, sends visuals of eerie, misty nights and a lingering thunder cloud. Devin’s voice graces the track unobtrusively, like melted butter on toast and has a really cool, ‘jazzy- tech’ section which clearly exhibits the magical powers he has when on his guitar.

The constant mood-swings from soaring choruses and orchestral backgrounds to epic guitar slides and synths fade out into the next track. “Failure” proves to be a much more emotive number and as if the frontman is telling a very emotional story. Needless to say, the instrumentation and arrangements are flawless, everything so well-placed and in sync. It also boasts some intricate guitarwork and captivating solos while maintaining an oddly satisfying pop sort of vibe coupled with more soundtrack like sections towards the end while “Secret Sciences” contrasts this perfectly and on an acoustic note, turning into an interestingly pop-like track dare I say it. Devin Townsend never ceases to amaze or confuse me. He really makes pretty much anything work to his advantage! Female vocals are the hook on this track. A really fun track, with an extremely obscure ending but one that makes you eager to hear more.

“Higher” is the longest track on this album, clocking in at 9:40 and rightly so. Keeping in line with his unpredictable nature, “Higher” begins sweetly enough sounding like a simple acoustic track, but then you hear it – it is the heaviest track on the album in a matter of seconds. But to not overdo it, the track features more choir prowess in between the choruses. It is unbelievably good and gets you really amped up while “Stars” continues in this vein but then drops to a quiet whisper of an acoustic guitar once again, bringing back that haunting yet lovely ambience. Devin’s growled vocals on this track are intense but not extreme, while Anneke van Giersbergen makes a powerful performance as well with her goosebump-inducing, angelic voice. The two of them together are a stunning combination of talents.

Title track, “Transcendence”, sure enough lives up to its name with its otherwordly atmosphere. It is a beautifully uplifting, proggy song that will certainly evoke a lot of emotion in the listener. Allow yourself to get lost in the music completely and you’ll find yourself on cloud nine. Coming towards the end  of the album, “Offer Your Light” sees Devin’s vocals take on a much raspier tone that go well with the quick tempo of the track while ‘From The Heart’ is everything you’d expect from Devin Townsend – sheer brilliance. The arrangement on this one exhibits a lot of that mood-swing nature Devy’s music is well-known for, but which is undoubtedly one of the most charming elements about his music. An interesting choice to end this masterpiece is the final track: a cover of Ween‘s “Transdermal Celebration”, which the band has taken and done complete justice to with their own unique twist.

I have no great conclusion for once. Devin Townsend is a genius, the band is absolutely tops, and this is one of the greatest albums of 2016. All you need to do is tune in and lose yourself to the magic.

Transcendence is out now via HevyDevy Records. Purchase your copy HERE.

About

Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.