Devin Townsend - Transcendence review



Reviewer:
9.2

270 users:
8.16
Band: Devin Townsend
Album: Transcendence
Release date: September 2016


Disc I [Transcendence]
01. Truth
02. Stormbending
03. Failure
04. Secret Sciences
05. Higher
06. Stars
07. Transcendence
08. Offer Your Light
09. From The Heart
10. Transdermal Celebration [Ween cover]
11. Sophie's Boobies [demo] [Japanese bonus]
12. Young Gods [demo] [Japanese bonus]
13. Wolves [demo] [Japanese bonus]

Disc II [Holding Patterns (Special Edition bonus)]
01. Gump
02. Celestial Signals [demo]
03. Support The Cause [demo]
04. Into The Sun [demo]
05. Time Overload [demo]
06. Lexus [demo]
07. Farther On [demo]
08. Victim [demo]
09. MonkeyMind [demo]
10. Canuckleload [demo]
11. Loud


"Transcendence" is not a big enough word to describe this album. Transcendence is the first true collaboration between Devin and the rest of the Project, featuring songwriting contributions from the stellar cast of musicians that has helped bring Devin's machinations to life over the course of several releases. Not only that, but Transcendence also returns Devin to his throne as a much more personal album than DTP's last few offerings and the strongest musical statement he has made in quite a few years.

With multiple dense, lengthy, slow-building masterpieces, Transcendence strongly resembles the first half of Deconstruction in terms of songwriting, but with the manic, insane, and humorous elements replaced by dark, brooding, often more subdued atmosphere. At the end of "Truth," now longer, heavier, and grander than its original incarnation on Infinity, Devin croons, "Everything has changed, but I am home." A lot of this album calls back to his past creative heights, but despite the presence of certain parallels and uniquely Devin characteristics, Transcendence feels brand new in many ways that Devin's last few releases could not achieve. To illustrate this point, "Failure" features a guitar solo from Devin, something so rare it was previously thought no longer to exist in the wild.

Harnessing the Brobdingnagian scale of Epicloud, the grey-skied majesty of Accelerated Evolution, and the balance between heaviness and commercialism found on Addicted!, Transcendence offers up a variety of textures and moods that all fold into a complex, powerful album that I'm sure many fans no longer believed Devin capable of unleashing after the less-than-stellar Z2 and millionth drastic reinvention (however pleasing) on Casualties Of Cool. Anneke van Giersbergen reappears throughout, as do fellow DTP alumni Ché Aimee Dorval and Katrina Natalie, but their presences are much more subdued here than on previous collaborations. Rather than sharing lead vocals with Devin or covering choruses, the trio sticks to providing ambience or an individual line here and there; I always love Devin's vocal tag teams, but with an album like Transcendence, subtlety achieves a greater impact. The simple "oh no" from Anneke in the beginning of "Secret Sciences" does so much for the song.

"Stormbending" swells into a gigantic, symphonic masterpiece before buckling down into the urgent, tense "Failure," both among Devin's best works to date; "Offer Your Light" rips through four of the fastest, most rip-roaring minutes he has recorded in ages. "Stars," the simple, easy-to-digest, "single-type" song stuck in the middle of the album, though probably the least interesting, still sounds relaxing and fun in an almost-forgotten manner. Meanwhile, DJevintownsENT 0000s his way through sections of "Higher" and "Failure," as if "Planet Of The Apes" fused with "Deadhead" and produced a heavy, crunchy, occasionally violent epic filled with dark significance and New-age charm. The breakd0wn in "Higher" is easily the most brutal thing Devin has produced since he laid Strapping Young Lad to rest in 2007. I've never counted myself a Ween fan, due to both ignorance and indifference, but the cover of "Transdermal Celebration" fits the nature of this album perfectly and closes out the voyage on a fittingly serene note.

Transcendence resurrects the emotional gestalt that made albums like City, Accelerated Evolution, and Terria so sublime and was conspicuously absent on more recent releases. Transcendence is about rainy days, melancholic introspection, and bittersweet personal realizations. It doesn't have the bristling, tortured fury of Strapping, but we're not exactly going back to "Grace" and "True North" with hearts open for angelic choruses. Listen to the grim yet reassuring chorus of "Failure," or the great joys explored in "From The Heart"; even in the most carefree and simplistic passages lies the sense that this positivity has been hard-won and tastes all the sweeter for it. The album pursues a variety of themes and feelings, but overall, Transcendence shows us that Devin continues to mature and is bringing his audience along with him.

It isn't necessary to connect with Devin on an emotional level to appreciate his music; the grandiose orchestrations and spectacular performances are just as efficient at drawing in listeners and holding audiences captive through magnificent musical voyages. Yet if you can detect the urgency, the serenity, the self-doubt, and the other visceral feelings that inform albums like Transcendence, the experience becomes that much deeper and more meaningful.

For fans who found the latest albums lacking, Devin is back; for those who never lost faith, he is better than ever. Transcendence lives up to its name like no album since Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 22.09.2016 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 43   Visited by: 398 users
24.09.2016 - 08:10
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Dream Taster on 24.09.2016 at 06:35

Besides the fact that I love this album to pieces, I gotta say that this review was a joy to read. It voiced everything about Transcendence that needed to be said.

Great job man!

Thank you!
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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24.09.2016 - 12:15
ManiacBlasphemer
Black Knight
Written by Ganondox on 24.09.2016 at 02:38

Eh, I'd say Ocean Machine is much more pop than Terria is. I'd say Terria more meditative than dreamy.


Ocean Machine has a small dosage of pop. "Life" is poppy, bits and pieces in "Seventh Wave", but that's pretty much it. However, stuff like "Bastard", "Voices in the Fan", "The Death of Music" or "Funeral" are complex prog songs.
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24.09.2016 - 12:18
ManiacBlasphemer
Black Knight
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 24.09.2016 at 01:54

Written by ManiacBlasphemer on 23.09.2016 at 23:57

. Also, it is a very easy listen as opposed to other DT albums.


All of Devin's solo work is a very easy listen and doesn;t need a lot of spins to sink in. Hell, also SYL's City is quite an easy listen tbh.


His popish material yeah. But stuff like his early 3 albums, Ziltoid, Accelerated Evolution, those are really complex prog albums that need more than a couple of spins to sink in. Took me lke 5-6 listens for City to finally sink in. I remember the first 2 times I listened to it I thought it was a mess. Like I thought about the debut. Even more so about the debut actually. I noticed that if I get the impression from a DT album that it is a mess, usually that turns up to be his best. I just have to give it more time. Patience is required with complex, innovative music like DT's.
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25.09.2016 - 04:28
Desert Father
Written by ManiacBlasphemer on 23.09.2016 at 23:59

Written by Desert Father on 23.09.2016 at 13:31

Why can't he leave his old songs alone?


Especially since nothing was wrong with them. Devin is a perfectionist. He goes rambling in his interviews about past records how he would've done that instead of that and so on. He just can't let it go. Particularly, his rambling about how he despises Physicist, although it is one of his best records, standing right between his SYL stuff and his solo work.


I am thinking of making a video compilation of all the riffs and songs that he has blatantly plagiarised throughout the years.

Save Our Now is a Pendulum song with diferent lyrics and production. All Hail the New Flesh has a riff from Godflesh's I Wasn't Born to Follow. AAA has a riff from Buzzoven's Sore. Silent Militia is based on a Will.I.Am song. Ghost (the song) is based on a tune he heard a band playing in a park (it's in the audio commentary).

Stay tuned for the video.
----
"Truly, my child, if I were allowed to see my sins, three or four men would not be enough to weep
for them." - Abba Dioscorus
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25.09.2016 - 05:53
Doge of Venice
Written by Desert Father on 25.09.2016 at 04:28

Save Our Now is a Pendulum song with diferent lyrics and production.
Stay tuned for the video.


Save Our Now would be plagiarized if he didn't have permission from Pendulum. Which he did.
From The Heart has a melody taken from Baba Hanuman by Krishna Das - but again he got permission.
Vampira has a riff straight out of Metallica. Not sure if he asked for permission for that though...
He also talked about getting permission to use the basis of a pop song on Sky Blue, but I can't remember which one and who by (I don't recall it being Will.I.Am or Silent Milita). I think it was Sky Blue (the song) itself?

I mean, he isn't really bothered by the idea. He says stuff about it live - for example during Christeen in the Albert Hall show, he talks about how he uses the "Phantom of the Opera" chord.
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25.09.2016 - 10:59
Ganondox
Written by Doge of Venice on 25.09.2016 at 05:53

Written by Desert Father on 25.09.2016 at 04:28

Save Our Now is a Pendulum song with diferent lyrics and production.
Stay tuned for the video.


Save Our Now would be plagiarized if he didn't have permission from Pendulum. Which he did.
From The Heart has a melody taken from Baba Hanuman by Krishna Das - but again he got permission.
Vampira has a riff straight out of Metallica. Not sure if he asked for permission for that though...
He also talked about getting permission to use the basis of a pop song on Sky Blue, but I can't remember which one and who by (I don't recall it being Will.I.Am or Silent Milita). I think it was Sky Blue (the song) itself?

I mean, he isn't really bothered by the idea. He says stuff about it live - for example during Christeen in the Albert Hall show, he talks about how he uses the "Phantom of the Opera" chord.


Sky Blue is based on "Dj's Got Us Falling In Love" by Usher.
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25.09.2016 - 11:27
ManiacBlasphemer
Black Knight
Written by Desert Father on 25.09.2016 at 04:28

Written by ManiacBlasphemer on 23.09.2016 at 23:59

Written by Desert Father on 23.09.2016 at 13:31

Why can't he leave his old songs alone?


Especially since nothing was wrong with them. Devin is a perfectionist. He goes rambling in his interviews about past records how he would've done that instead of that and so on. He just can't let it go. Particularly, his rambling about how he despises Physicist, although it is one of his best records, standing right between his SYL stuff and his solo work.


I am thinking of making a video compilation of all the riffs and songs that he has blatantly plagiarised throughout the years.

Save Our Now is a Pendulum song with diferent lyrics and production. All Hail the New Flesh has a riff from Godflesh's I Wasn't Born to Follow. AAA has a riff from Buzzoven's Sore. Silent Militia is based on a Will.I.Am song. Ghost (the song) is based on a tune he heard a band playing in a park (it's in the audio commentary).

Stay tuned for the video.


Plagiarized is a bold statement. Used as an influence is more appropriate. After all, he took only a riff or two, not an entire song or melody. Every band, pioneer or not took riffs from predecessors and did their own thing with them. Like Townsend does with his signature wall of sound, vocal harmonies, giving also that 'dreamy' atmosphere to his music. That is as original as it gets. Townsend is very honest in interviews regarding his inspiration for some songs. Someone that blatantly plagiarizes will never admit doing it.
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25.09.2016 - 12:32
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Still i'll wait to see his video. It going to be interesting.

Speaking of plagiarism, as ManiacBlasphemer said, a couple of riffs/section of riffs, bass or drumming has been taken from some other work to be shown in your work is not plagiarism considering the fact that Devin has always been influenced from bands surrounded to him.
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26.09.2016 - 06:21
Desert Father
I was a bit over the top there. I just think that there is a difference between displaying your influences and just taking riffs from them and putting them in your own songs.
----
"Truly, my child, if I were allowed to see my sins, three or four men would not be enough to weep
for them." - Abba Dioscorus
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30.09.2016 - 09:49
SoUnDs LiKe PoP
Jesus Christ... that last refrain on "Stormbending"... shivers every time. Glorious.
----
I lift weights and listen to metal
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04.10.2016 - 02:14
Apolyon666
I know Devin Townsend... heard songs in singularity... but not complete albums... I like transcendence... listened to "Addicted"... and listened to "Deconstruction" which was brilliant, hysterical and gave me an aneurysm at the same time... someone guide me to an album to sum this psychopath up... thanks
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04.10.2016 - 09:06
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Apolyon666 on 04.10.2016 at 02:14

I know Devin Townsend... heard songs in singularity... but not complete albums... I like transcendence... listened to "Addicted"... and listened to "Deconstruction" which was brilliant, hysterical and gave me an aneurysm at the same time... someone guide me to an album to sum this psychopath up... thanks

Transcendence is actually pretty representative of a lot of Devin's tropes and styles, but moving on from there, one of Devin's greatest strengths is his eclecticism, so it's difficult to say that any album could really sum him up. I would say that Accelerated Evolution, Terria, and Ocean Machine: Biomech display a lot of his best ideas and show off some of the main reasons why people love him, and they're among his best albums, so if you're looking to dive into Devin, those would be the places to start. If you want something more along the lines of Addicted, though, you should check out Epicloud first.

Also, if you have any interest in Strapping Young Lad, the place to start is City. Everyone has their own opinion about where to go first from there, but City is one of Devin's greatest works.
----
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
Loading...
04.10.2016 - 09:29
Apolyon666
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 04.10.2016 at 09:06

Written by Apolyon666 on 04.10.2016 at 02:14

I know Devin Townsend... heard songs in singularity... but not complete albums... I like transcendence... listened to "Addicted"... and listened to "Deconstruction" which was brilliant, hysterical and gave me an aneurysm at the same time... someone guide me to an album to sum this psychopath up... thanks

Transcendence is actually pretty representative of a lot of Devin's tropes and styles, but moving on from there, one of Devin's greatest strengths is his eclecticism, so it's difficult to say that any album could really sum him up. I would say that Accelerated Evolution, Terria, and Ocean Machine: Biomech display a lot of his best ideas and show off some of the main reasons why people love him, and they're among his best albums, so if you're looking to dive into Devin, those would be the places to start. If you want something more along the lines of Addicted, though, you should check out Epicloud first.

Also, if you have any interest in Strapping Young Lad, the place to start is City. Everyone has their own opinion about where to go first from there, but City is one of Devin's greatest works.

I know SYL and I appreciate the recommendations... coincidentally... I didn't listen to the albums you just mentioned... about to dive head first now... hopefully I don't break my fuckin neck... more than likely from what I've heard thus far I will...
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