Physicist has always been voted the least favourite Devin Townsend solo album among the fans on both the official DT and SYL boards. Although very strong in its own right, I guess I can see why it is not right up there with the likes of Ocean Machine, Terria and Infinity. The core SYL fans, however, seem to lean towards this disc more than any other solo material from Devin.
Basically on Physicist Devin, for the first time, did not experiment with as many new ideas and push his music in more unexplored directions. This album kind of sounds like a lighter version of Strapping Young Lad but still has the ambient and classic Townsend vibe to it. Overall it's very speed metal oriented with slight modern touches thrown in. Devin himself agrees that Physicist is a stripped down version of something that was already there, but for someone who's never heard any SYL before, it is safe to say he's in for a treat because in the end Physicist does sound different from Devin's other albums. It's faster, angrier and more in your face.
This was also the first album where Devin was able to reach a wider fanbase due to the widespread distro support. The album still presents Devin's body of work with more accessible sensibilities. It's like if someone has never heard any Devin Townsend stuff before and picks up Infinity or Terria they may be shocked. Physicist isn't that way. That's what sets it apart from the rest of Devin's catalog. It has the potential to click with you right from the start.
To be honest I listen to this album the least often because every other solo album from Devin is more appealing to me. They're more experimental, more progressive and offer more depth. When I'm in the mood for some heavier stuff, I usually prefer SYL's City or their last one. Also of note is that Devin was going through a very hard time writing this album. It got to the point that releasing the disc turned into a real big mess. And I believe all of this has reflected on the record. I'm not putting Physicist down or anything because it's still 100% Devin Townsend and a very deep album, just not on the same level as Terria and Ocean Machine to me.
- The Complex
- Irish Maiden
- Planet Rain