Devin Townsend – Transcendence (Album Review)

Devin Townsend – Transcendence


Devin Towsend Line up:

Devin Townsend | vocals, guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, programming, production
Brian Waddell | bass guitar
Ryan van Poederooyen | drums
Dave Young | keyboards, guitars
Mike St. Jean | keyboards
Anneke van Giersbergen | vocals

Devin Townsend Online:


Devin Townsend has always been a great, idiosyncratic talent within heavy metal. From his humble beginnings in the much beloved Strapping Young Lad to his left-of-field peculiarities through The Devin Townsend Project, Devy has carved his own niche out of the heavy metal tapestry and with each release he continually shifts, twists and changes his sound, challenging both new and old listeners with the creations spat out from his often twisted mind.

So it speaks volumes, that Transcendence not only defies expectations but dazzles with a renewed sense of focus and vigour after the theatrical sprawl of his previous effort Ziltoid 2. From the very beginnings of ‘Truth’ the ethereal album opener you’re instantaneously transported to the stratosphere with haunting textures that layer upon each other, coalescing into something I can only describe as otherworldly.

13265937_1228064513885535_1637065495899767957_nThis quality seeps into the next song ‘Stormbending’ which sees classical instrumentation added to the mix as Townsend’s voice rises high above the thumping drum patterns and guitar flourishes, leaving you utterly intoxicated as you become awash from his hypnotically, elegant vocal quality.

Standout song and first single ‘Failure’ follows on from this and takes a turn as it displays Townsend’s newfound sense of confidence within his guitar playing, stepping up his game with the first of many solos, it adds a whole new dynamic to the Devin Townsend experience and makes me hope for more in future albums.

This newfound confidence bleeds into the next song and second single from the album ‘Secret Sciences’ which uses acoustic guitars, synths and metal to create something utterly unique and twisted that could only come from the mind of Townsend.

The halfway point proves to be my favourite song on the album as ‘Higher’ starts off with a gentle guitar and somehow morphs into Townsend being filtered through a Periphery album with muscular technical guitar riffs and a sinister vibe that will blow your fucking mind and force you to bang your head until the song reaches the conclusion. Honestly, this song absolutely crushes.

We also can’t forget the contributions of Anneke van Giersbergen who is as instrumental to the Townsend sound at this point as his own operatic vocal gymnastics, not as in your face as she has been on past albums, her contribution to this album is no less significant as her vocals generate an undeniable atmosphere which would be sadly missed if they weren’t there.

Honestly, if there’s anything that can be sad about this album, is that it has an apt title and that’s more than obvious on the title track which is nothing short of utterly enthralling with rich choirs and Giersbergen’s lush vocals leaving you spellbound by their sheer range, scope and emotional resonance. Finishing this ten track album with ‘Transdermal Celebration’ which is apparently a cover from Ween a band from the 80’s I’ve never heard of, it’s a gentle stroll into the black hole of Devin Townsend’s sheer madness until a solo at the two minute mark transports us into a newfound world, before taking us back with gentle synths and whispers before ending in nothing. So basically it’s like No Man’s Sky without the crushing disappointment.

This album put simply, is the best Devin Townsend Project album since Addicted. It’s singular focus and consistent sound is miles above the sprawl of his previous work and it’s all the better for it. There’s not a missed step or boring song on this ten song opus and when it’s over, you’ll want to put it on again and again, because it leaves you utterly at peace within yourself. Just go out and buy this album and let Devin Townsend help you transcend into time and space. Seriously, fucking do it.

10/10 magic mushrooms, because that’s what it’ll make you feel like you’re on.

Transcendence 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

By: Kaydan Howison

Transcendence is OUT NOW – check out some of the tracks below…