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Devin Townsend – Deconstruction: Review

The final two albums of the Devin Townsend Project are to be released on June 20. The first to be reviewed here is Deconstruction (the second is entitled Ghost). For those who haven’t been keeping up with the Devin Townsend Project, it is basically a four album collection which Townsend has been releasing over the past couple years. The first two have been well-received. As for the next two… well let’s just say here is an excellent start.

The Music (rating: A)

  1. Praise the Lowered
  2. Stand
  3. Juula
  4. Planet of the Apes
  5. Summera
  6. The Mighty Masturbator
  7. Pandemic
  8. Deconstruction
  9. Poltergeist

With all the genres associated with it (progressive, electronic, symphonic, avant-garde, death metal, etc.), it is still impossible to imagine what Deconstruction would sound like until you actually hear it – that’s Devin Townsend for you. The album is rather heavy for the most part, but there are long stretches of ambient as well as electronic. It still retains Townsend’s multi-layered style and highly refined production. But despite knowing the artist, one cannot predict the music. Only once you hear it will you understand how it can be so recognizably Devin Townsend while simultaneously being so unfamiliar.

The uniqueness of style in Deconstruction is a huge positive with the record. It has the artist’s eccentric humor (somewhat reminiscent of the legendary Zappa), but also has a professional musical approach. A huge mix of genres comes together at different levels of emphasis throughout the album, yet the whole thing feels extremely well-strung. Some songs are of pure heaviness (like “Juular”), while others are of dynamic chaos (like “The Mighty Masturbator”). Its diversity most certainly and intently instils anarchic conditions; Deconstruction is a glorious mess.

Chaos is no doubt Townsend’s intention with Deconstruction, though sometimes it goes a bit too far. There are of course many logical build-ups and sequencing. But with songs such as “The Mighty Masturbator” and “Deconstruction,” things get messy. For the most part, it is stylistic and unpredictably pleasant. On rare occasion, it is excessive. With the inclusion of dialogue and spoken segues, it can compromise the natural musical flow and create some turbulence. The humor aspect definitely adds to the messy style, but it wears itself thin too quickly. Consequently, it ends up detracting from the music more than it adds to the presentation. It really rattles the fluency in the music, as intended by the artist, but can go too far. Regarding Deconstruction’s humor, it is ultimately a hit-or-miss with the audience. Townsend fans will mostly love it; others will not be so welcoming. For sure, this is a messy album. Townsend knows how to make a brilliant mess of things.

From a more logical standpoint, the instrumentals presented are fantastic. There is a massive arsenal of guest death vocalists, though personally the quantity falls short with me. But the guitar work is at some points awesome and at other points phenomenal. The intro to “Deconstruction” (not the dialogue) is utter madness! The drums often follow the death metal blast beat, but they are highly complementary to the music. Townsend’s phrasing is great as always, and his songwriting is unique and unmistakably his own. The transitioning is highly variant with some sections clashing, others flowing. Doing so adds greatly to the unpredictability of the album. The music is all-around exceptionally well-written and diverse. “Juular” and “The Mighty Masturbator,” for example, are completely different in length, pacing, and transitioning, yet still retain a sense of belonging to this same album!

With Deconstruction, Townsend truly portrays his ingenuity on all fronts. Yes, some things were a slight miss with me. But his scope and thought process are nonetheless mind-blowing. His layering and production, as usual, surpass excellence. And the instrumentals are simply fantastic. This is not an album for everyone, but it certainly is grower and a lover for those who can accept it. Deconstruction is one of the better and most unique albums released in today’s world.

Click here for Ghost review.

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