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Author Topic: In Synch With The Universe  (Read 4623 times)
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The Prairie Prophet
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« on: April 19, 2006, 12:08:45 PM »

The Devin Townsend Band
Synchestra
2006 ~ HevyDevy
Metal/Progressive

Devin Townsend is easily one of the most creative and talented people in Canada, and the world.  He's got it all, musicianship, creativity, raw talent, sonic technical ability, and borderline insanity.  He's a mad musical genius.  Known best for his work as frontman for the extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad, Townsend is revered for his ability to do metal as a really heavy thing.

The Devin Townsend Band is the yin to the yang of SYL, the balancing of the scales.  It's the major chord to the minor chord.  The light to the dark.  You get the drift.  My first taste of Devin Townsend was his 2003 release "Accelerated Evolution", and it stands to me as one of the best albums ever created.  In comparison to his earlier works, it was a lot more straight ahead and easier to digest.  Really, it was and is where mainstream music should be, if it had integrity or vision.  It's by no coincidence that Townsend himself coined the term "Prog-pop".

Never one to stay with the same ol' same ol', Townsend has taken another turn with Synchestra.  The new album takes a little from Accelerated Evolution, but is a lot more diverse, which throws back to his earlier albums.  The album also has a feel of the song "Two Weeks" (from SYL's: Alien) expanded into an epic adventure.  There is a constant ebb and flow in Synchestra, where the album will build up and let down, with smooth transitions most of the way.  There are some abrupt surprises as well, in true progressive taste.  The song Triumph has a early Dream Theater feel to it, until he throws a mandolin solo in there.  Said solo is matched shortly thereafter by a Steve Vai solo, of course that flows together, didn't you know?  That song flows straight into Babysong, which is aptly titled with a lullaby feel to it.

Then you have Vampolka followed by Vampira, which is the album's first single.  The first is a polka-esque build up to the latter, which has power metal written all over it.  Vampolka has a very "haunted circus" feel to it, kind of reminiscent to the theme from Beetlejuice.  Leave it to Devin Townsend to incorporate both mandolin and tuba into the same album, and still have it classified as metal.

Mental Tan has the same effect as Two Weeks did on SYL's Alien, it brings the listener down from the up-beat Vampira.  After that, the album throws back to the same feel that Accelerated Evolution had.  Townsend cranks his "wall of sound" knob to 10, and lets the prog-pop flow forth.  Extremely melodic and ambient, this is where the album really opens up and lets the listener fall into something of a groove.  This wave of ambiance rides you through right through to the end in the same fashion as other albums by Devin Townsend, or even in a similar manner as was the case in Fear Factory's "Archetype" album.  The last song picks up the pace again, also true to Devin Townsend style, leaving the album on a high note.

It fades out with an outro of rainforest sounds (which ties into the artwork theme) before bounding into a straight up hard rock sounding tune that is a bonus track on the album.  This is about as straight as it can be with the refrain "Sunshine and Happiness for all....", a great ending to a great album.

Synchestra is packed with the bonus "Safe Zone" DVD, which includes a live studio performance, the video for "Storm" (AE) and a bunch of extras.  The artwork of the albums inlay is extraordinarily done, as are the photos.  The rainforest feel has a very earthy element that ties in with the album, and really all of Devin Townsend's work.

On first listen I didn't think the album was going to match Accelerated Evolution, but upon listening a few more times I'm beginning to have second thoughts in that regard.  It doesn't grab as fast as his previous work did, but it definitely grabs you the same way.  And by the end it is even more epic than Accelerated was.  Some way, some how, Devin Townsend has figured out a way to take it even further, as only he can.  Synchestra is another flawless and exciting creation from the universe of Devin Townsend, and will go down as one of, if not the best album of the year.

Objective: 9.5/10
Subjective: 9/10

Dustin Lemire
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Daltron
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2006, 10:58:31 PM »

This album is too good for words, as is Hevy Devy.
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IAmGray
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006, 08:48:00 PM »

The last song is downright cheerful.

And I think I heard frogs croaking.

This album is beautiful.
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Cryptic Coronor
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 11:20:34 PM »

I should probably give this another spin. really haven't gotten into it thusfar. 'cept for Vampira, that song is great, and the vid just makes it better.
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The Prairie Prophet
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2006, 09:08:51 AM »

the whole album is just an experience if you have the time to sit down and listen to it all.  i suggest a quiet sunday.
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2006, 03:41:56 PM »

i've never been able to get into any of devin's stuff...i should give this a listen, even if i just wanna hear a stevie solo...speaking of which, do you get to see vai on the dvd?
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The Prairie Prophet
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2006, 02:40:05 PM »

i've yet to watch the dvd
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