Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Devin Townsend "Transcendence" (2016)

It seems to be a recurring sentiment that an albums first impressions are misleading and once again I found myself disappointed for an album by an artist I have the greatest of respect for, Devin Townsend, musical genius and all round nice guy. Whatever Devin does I will always been in anticipation of, this his seventeenth record? Is no exception, Its hard to keep track of his unrivaled output. It wasn't until I thought I was done that the magic started to emanate and make sense, rather unusual for an artist I know so well. "Transcendence" is as expected another masterclass of the glorious metallic wall of sound, primed with rich glossy synthesizers, lush distortion guitars and Devin's stunning voice merging into an engulfing magnetized musical force.

Another expected marvel of production value perhaps shadowed the music initially, its far more subdued, of the moment and lengthier in its demeanor than usual. "Epicloud" had fifty minutes over thirteen tracks of pop like Metal smashers where as here we have ten tracks spanning sixty five minutes. The lengthy nature of the songs have the absence of more conventional song structures which can be felt where the instruments hold back from rocking into the forefront with a grooving riff or empowering melody. Instead we have a maturer union of instruments that have equal measures of involvement throughout the record. Even when Devin is singing you'll often hear independent synthesizers, baselines and guitar riffs working in tandem, forming a lush wall of musical power. Its most differentiating moments are the guitar solos, inspiring and moving, the mostly reveal there strength and inspiration with each listen never tiring.

The slow journey into this record has made me see the "cheap thrills" side of Devin's music, perhaps as a hangover from the bombastic, nauseating thrill rides of Strapping Young Lad, Devin's always had a touch of humor in the power of the riff and momentous absurdity of over emphasis. "Transcendence" has next to none of this and in a much maturer frame of mind Devin has crafted some stunning songs which hold over the glorious feeling of epic stature through the records rich, dense aesthetic and the steady craft of layered instrumentation.

Opening with the re-recorded "Truth" from his second solo record "Infinity" the album doesn't start for me until "Stormbending", an atmospheric thunder of dexterous guitar riffs and triumphant climaxing. "Truth" is a brilliant song and a few re-records have made there way onto recent records but as an opener it feels odd being so familiar with it. To be fair, as great as it sounds the original still does the song justice. In an attempted not to babble on for too long, its a very matured and seasoned record, dense and layered with plenty to digest. Every aspect of its production and recording is an eargasmic treat, the music just took me a little longer but I can't see myself putting this one down anytime soon, it will grow even more on me I'm sure of it!

Favorite Songs: Stormbending, Higher, Transcendence, Offer Your Light
Rating: 8/10