The Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction

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The Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
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The Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
Industrial, Progressive Metal, Techno
InsideOut Music
June 21st, 2011
Release length: 1:10:45
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Deconstruction marks the third of the four part conceptual album series known as The Devin Townsend Project. For this installment, Devin once again changes up the musical formula. Unlike the previous release Addicted which had more of an upbeat party feeling, the musical direction here is a little darker, and at times a return to the psychotic force that Devin is known for. But, what does this release have to offer listeners considering the rocky existence that has been this project thusfar.

Right away, the music on Deconstruction will actually show off some similarities to music performed by the Industrial act Nine Inch Nails, but luckily this is only towards the start of the album. “Praise the Lowered” is a slower paced track that has a continuous Industrial beeping sound to it that goes in rhythm with the song, coming off more like someone hitting two hollow pieces of metal together at certain pitches. The song’s slower, darker pace is enough to keep the listener interested before it gradually becomes heavier, intense, and far more intimidating, especially as the overall volume picks up. It’s a nice way to introduce the album to listeners, but musically, it’s nothing too special in the long run. The track does introduce some bleeding into other songs, a staple for this one man project, as it goes into “Stand” which, again, finds a decent amount of Industrial input towards a rather dark and ominous musical backdrop. In a sense, this is perhaps the closest fans of Strapping Young Lad will get to a new album, but it’s quite dynamic in many ways.

While the album is much darker and often more intense, the Progressive aspect is still existent, and each track feels somewhat different from each other without crossing the gaps to constant screaming, and often can be catchy through lighter material. “Planet of the Apes”, for example, is a nearly eleven minute song that feels epic in many ways through complex music, constant shifts, various moments of building music and layered vocals that are typically clean singing, and some Space Rock moments through Industrial or Keyboard inputs that really shift the song into a completely different direction, all of which works together to create a very dynamic, and in thsi case almost operatic experience. But, while “Planet of the Apes” really shows the dexterity that is presented on this release, “Sumeria” becomes one of the strongest tracks of the recording thanks to it’s more chaotic atmosphere and faster pace with catchy, hook-driven music that feels ominous and far more epic then the previous track to the point that, from an astral or Space Rock meets Progressive point of view, it becomes moving musically.

Each song manages to flow into one another nicely too, and not just through that bleeding in transition at the end of a song. Many of the songs here seem to go in a fluid motion through a conceptual approach similar to that of a musical. Even some of the performances feel that way, though can be a little more grand in a dynamic opera sortof way. “Sumeria” has that vibe of an operatic performance, though when it ends, it concludes in a softer manner, then transitions into “The Mighty Masturbator” to continue that slower pace for a bit and build a more conceptual musical performance through the instruments, then building to a much grader scale, and eventually shifting throughout the sixteen and a half minute track through various shifts in musical direction. But, some of the changes in this song are simply insane. Some instances feel more like you’re listen to the solo Devin Townsend project Ziltoid the Omniscient, while there are moments are the halfway point that feel more like the song has taken on a Mad Max post-apocalyptic setting or environment. None of this does manage to go over-the-top, and given the lyrical content and premise of the song itself, it manages to suit the rather long song well and offer enough variety to the mix to keep the listener attentive from start to finish. All of which ends with a suiting carnival music leading to perhaps the most glorious and epic of conclusions from the mind of Devin Townsend humanly possible.

Of course, after this track, everything just seems to get a little odd, and it ruins the flow of the album. But, at this point, given the rather epic conclusion of “The Mighty Masturbator”, it all starts to just sound like additional madness given to the listeners. “Pandemic” is just a fast and overly intense song that takes the aforementioned Metal opera idea and performance to it’s most extreme, and the accompanying background female vocals really make it stand out. Then there’s the title track “Deconstruction” which, actually, really does come off a bit too much. The song starts off with the sound of flatulence, followed by a discussion about cheeseburgers, and throughout the song you are greeted with the sounds of farts or diarrhea and straining, all to give a satyrical concept of it being art. It becomes a little too much and honestly goes a bit too far at times, but musically it’s still an enjoyable song. “Poltergeist” rounds out the album with a more final conflict sense to it that nicely wraps up the album despite the last few songs not really feeling too fluid to the rest of the release.

In the long run, there’s nothing really wrong with the album to sit down and point out. It’s mostly a composition of traditional Devin Townsend madness, and fans of his releases will obviously enjoy this part of the series in a great sense then some of the other entries for it’s heavier sound and more Industrial driven premise. The release does start off rocky, and isn’t all that fantastic until around the time of “Juular”, though “Stand” still makes for an impressive track that shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed. There’s also the issue of the closing tracks that feel a little out of place, as well as the more over-the-top additions of farts, diarrhea and cheeseburgers on “Deconstruction”, on top of the fact that these songs at the end do seem to hurt the overall flow of the release. Despite all that, Deconstruction still proves to be a rather enjoyable album that really throws it all out there to put it on the line in the most bizarre ways possible, though oddly still restrained and on topic given the general composer of the material, and of the four albums for this project, is perhaps the most important effort to take notice of by fans.

01. Praise the Lowered – 5:58
02. Stand – 9:36
03. Juular – 3:46
04. Planet of the Apes – 10:59
05. Sumeria – 6:37
06. The Mighty Masturbator – 16:28
07. Pandemix – 3:29
08. Deconstruction – 9:27
09. Poltergeist – 4:25
Overall Score: 8.5/10
The Devin Townsend Project (band)
The Devin Townsend Project
Digital review copy of this release provided by InsideOut Music.