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Townsend, Devin, Project: Transcendence

Long considered one of the most reliable names in the prog scene, the varied musical world of Devin Townsend continues apace with his latest 'Project' release, Transcendence. In a way it's hard to know what to tell you. If you've followed this man's solo career, you'll know it's split into distinct compartments and that you can expect grandiose washes of progressive, almost orchestral and symphonic (not in the Nightwish way) splendour from the Devin Townsend Project. You can also be pretty much assured that the results will be rather captivating.

Rich deeply layered melody is at the core of everything DTP stand for, the synthesizer backing that lays much of its foundations always breathtaking, especially at volume. And the manner in which it is all brought together also impresses on a vast scale, the sweet sounds boosted by thundering drums, big, bold guitars and an innate heaviness that somehow remains in the background, even as it drives the songs on. Vocally however, Townsend always reaches peaks few others can traverse, the arranging of layers of voice quite astounding. One of the key factors in that also returns, Anneke Van Giersbergen a constant collaborator in the DTP canon and yet here she's in a more backing capacity than usual; bolstering the huge sweeps of vocal mesmerisings quite beautifully.

If you're on the hunt for negatives, then, in truth, the similarity between what you can find on this album and previous Devin Townsend Project releases may be a flaw. Although with Ziltoid and Casualties Of Cool illustrating the vastly varying sides Townsend can produce, there's actually a strong sense that Transcendence is the sound of an artist coming home to a musical outlook in which he works at the peak of his powers. Interestingly the album opens with "Truth", a track DT originally recorded on his Infinity album some 18 years ago, this version adding more depth and breadth to the themes, while things close out on the eight minute plus "Transdermal Meditation", a cover of the Ween track. It's a strong interpretation but in truth the original material throughout the rest of the album, such as "Stormbending", "Secret Sciences" and "Stars" (a track written as part of a live stream online) betters it every time.

Transcendence is the sound of an artist completely at ease with his musical landscape and identity and while many of the themes are ones Townsend has visited before, that doesn't stop it from being a hugely rewarding and engaging set of songs. Existing DTP fans will lap it up. However if you've never heard this man or project before, what are you waiting for?


Track Listing
1. Truth
2. Stormbending
3. Failure
4. Secret Sciences
5. Higher
6. Stars
7. Transcendence
8. Offer Your Light
9. From the Heart
10. Transdermal Celebration

Added: September 10th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Devin Townsend online
Hits: 1094
Language: english

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