Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Album of the Week 11/27/06
Devin Townsend - Ocean Machine: Biomech

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Suggested by: MJ

MJ: In 2005, I discovered the genius that is Devin Townsend. My first entry into Devdom came from seeing the video for “Love?” off of Strapping Young Lad’s “Alien”. I would usually watch Headbanger’s Ball and fast forward through most of the crap – but this one caught my attention. It was quite extreme, but with a little hook that gave me something to sink my teeth into. I did a little research and picked up a different SYL CD. I really enjoyed it, but I wasn’t quite head over heels in love. Yet.

I continued to read about Dev’s other band, aptly titled The Devin Townsend Band. The brief synopsis was that this was much different than SYL, less extreme, more melodic, etc. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that and, without rushing into it, picked up some DTB stuff.

I was pretty much instantly blown away. The music was so…how do you describe it…HUGE. Very ambient, heavy at times, but mostly just really good songs. I found that the ability to weave in and out of intensity levels and “heaviness” really added to the overall effect, making the heavy heavier and the less heavy sound very delicate and beautiful (the McDLT effect – hot side hot, cool side cool...). Interestingly, it gave be a better appreciation for the SYL stuff. Sometimes, you just want to rock, you know?

“Ocean Machine: Biomech” was the one album of DTB (their first) that really grabbed me from the start. It is likely my favorite DTB album, although I will admit that I need to give the others more love. I seem to play this one a lot more than the others. During this week’s listen (which blended into the month), my love for this album has been solidified. This one ranks very high on my list of rock/metal faves. There are MEGAJAMS on this. I’m not sure if I know of a better one-two punch than the songs “Funeral” and “Bastard”. To add to that – the first song of that tandem is about eight minutes, the second is over ten. So yea, that’s over 18 solid minutes of ridiculous uninterrupted rocking. Put that in your hookah and take a lung-filling monster tug…

Of course, this solidification of my love does not come free. In my enthusiasm, I bought three CD’s and a DVD from Hevy Devy’s website the other night. One disc is his second ambient release, which is much different then both SYL and DTB. He says it’s good to go to sleep to. I could use that sometimes. The other two CD’s are demo and outtakes, some from this album. So I had to get those. I’m pretty much in for any and all that Dev has to offer…

MH: First off, I love Devin Townsend. I think he is so infinitely talented that it almost pisses me off. He is so prolific and all of his stuff is, even if I don't dig it, it is, at least, interesting. When QM and I started to find him, I remember looking at a magazine and seeing his "Skullet" and thinking, "I don't think I can handle this guy". It was then when I called QM and told him, "I don't think I can handle this guy". Then I saw a video for "Relentless" by Strapping Young Lad. It was the heaviest and most relentless riffage I had heard up to that point. I was kind of hooked. It had all the noise and melod that I love in metal. I think I called back QM and said "I might have been wrong about this guy..." So in classic form, QM then managed to download the entire catalog and in hours I had the whole Strapping Young Lad catalogue. It was then that QM found out that he had a series of solo albums that he released when he wasn't doing SYL. Awesome. We now had MORE by this guy!!! I think one of the reasons I like him is his sense of humor about his industry. (He's Canadian and their SYL DVD is called "For Those Aboot to Rock.") I also think I like him because his songwriting is as close to what I wish I wrote songs like. All melody and rock.

So let's get to this album. Ocean Machine: Biotech. I love it. I lose myself in his albums all the time. They actually are able to make me float away and I sometimes forget what I was doing before that. My personal favorite song on this album is "Life". That is one of the best songs I have heard period. It has a great sing-a-long chorus. It's got cool guitar scales in it. It sounds like it could have been in a 80's movie when the main character is learning that everything was going to be allright. Maybe a "Training" scene. And I mean this in the best possible way. It's one song that has remained on my IPOD since we got all his stuff. It's suprisingly accessible. Most of the other tunes on this cd are relatively long, 6 to 7 minutes, and I couldn't have been happier. I totally dug the riffing in "Funeral." And I think it's very ambitious to write a song called 'The Death of Music" Right on, Dev. Go on, you maniac.

Strapping and Devin Townsend are now on the VERY top of our lists to go see in concert. Strapping came around with Ozzfest last summer, but I couldn't bring myself to buy a ticket for System Of A Down and Disturbed. I think they are not that good, and it would have only been twenty minutes on the side stage. QM and I deserve a whole show. It would be perfect if SYL and DTB played together. He'd be tired, but hey, that's rock and roll. You can't say you're relentless without being so. I think he could do it. He's got the perfect Skullet after all....

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