What does it sound like?:
First, I`m not reviewing this because Bargepole sent me a freebie. I bought the album on Amazon for £9.99 (2xLP & CD), I call that a good deal, Barge asked for a volunteer and I err, volunteered. By the time I post this I will have listened to the album 9-10 times. This is my first review so please don`t expect the eloquence of tiggs, buffoonery yes, lots.
Previously I owned one LP and one CD (a strange but excellent mix of electronica/Americana – the CD) by Devin Townsend so I ain`t no expert. (I`m now going to message Bargepole on how to post a picture of `Transcendence`.) So let`s have a bit of background on Devin;
Devin Garret Townsend (born May 5, 1972) is a Canadian musician, songwriter and record producer, thanks Wiki. He`s formed bands named `Strapping Young Lad` (1997ish), hmm, that`s it because he formed the Devin Townsend Band at the same time as SYL were still active (2002). They both existed until 2007 when Devin decided he wanted a rest, for two years! Well he didn`t decide to rest for two years, that`s how long his rest lasted.
Devin then formed The Devin Townsend Project who despite Devin deciding to disband are still going today, they made this album. Did I say that Devin sang vocal on Steve Vai`s album `Sex & Religion` in 1993, he also toured with Vai, he didn`t like it, the music biz and all it entailed.
Devin`s influences are mainly heavy metal, did I say I don`t like heavy metal? I don`t, can`t stand the genre but there is something about Devin Townsend`s music that intrigues me. Oh, Devin released the self titled `Casualties Of Cool` album in 2014 described by Townsend as “sounds like haunted Johnny Cash songs”. I concur.
The boy can also sing, his vocal range has been noted to be over 5 octaves (C2 to F7)
That`s it as far as background is concerned.
`Transcendence` is Devin Townsend`s 24th studio album (+3 live). I`ve not a bloody clue what it`s all about, reaching a higher plane or some such place. BUT this is a great album it`s got Heavy, Heavy Rock, Opera, Pop and a must for me – melody.
I`ve played this album about 20 times in the last 2 weeks and have grown to love it. Mr Townsend is a man of many talents, the band (The Project) ain`t bad also. The album opens with `Truth` an old Townsend song (I`ve never heard the original) this reminds me of that Scandinavian heavy metal band who won Eurovision but in a good way, soaring chorus, multi-tracked geetars. The lyrics warning against fear, money and that `ITS` BACK!!!
And so it goes with Devin singing his bloody heart out, high, low and away we go. Tracks with titles like `Higher`, `Transcendence`, `Stars` will give you some idea as to the album theme. A particular favourite is track 2 `Stormbending` , something about `July in her eyes` you know everyday things. The thing is I listen to the overall sound, atmosphere? of a tune and this track has it all. Psychedelia, HEAVY rock, Prog, Opera, Pop. If I say you get all of this in every track I may be right. There are references to Baba Hanuman, (remember him? thought not), `Jaya Seeyaa Raama, Jai Jai Hanumaan`. Baba is a Hindi God for those who do not know. Oh did I mention that the Scandinavian Euro winners I refereed to were named `Lordi`.
What does it all *mean*?
Well I reckon I now know what it all means and it`s this: `Through the storm, may we learn to live without fear`, so says Devin and a fine sentiment it is.
It also means that if you listen to a heavy rock album 20+ times you may come to love it.
Goes well with…
A beer or two in a relaxed or lively place with friends. Maybe more than a beer or two. Played LOUD!
Might suit people who like…
I can`t compare this album to any other Townsend album, I only know `Epicloud` and `Casualties Of Cool`, the former obviously comes closest, the latter is Americana, have I already said that? If you are a fan of any of the genres I`ve already mentioned you will love this, I say this without fear!