The Devin Townsend Project
Album – Addicted
By Johnathan Newman
Devin Townsend is a god in the world of music.
He has had a music career spanning 24 albums, first beginning with his vocal work for Steve Vai on his “Sex and Religion” album in 1993. He has released albums under his own name, as well as with his band Strapping Young Lad. Having disbanded both bands, he took some time off to discover his roots and sober up. During this period of soul-searching, he wrote 60 or so songs, each with four distinct styles of music. He decided to create a four album series, under the moniker of the Devin Townsend Project, and came back with the very deep and very heavy “Ki” album, which was the first album, and also set the stage for what was to come. Six moths later, he released “Addicted,” which is a return to form of sorts, with more accessible songs.
“Addicted” starts out with a simple but heavy riff and the lines “Hey! You’re awake,” possibly an allusion that his last album put some people to sleep, which keeps in with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics you normally find in his songs. But under these normally silly lyrics, there is a deeper message of the pain and power drugs and alcohol had on him. The songs on this album may be heavier, but they also have a poppy feel to them as well, a very pop-metal album if you will, which is probably why these heavier lyrics could not be taken as seriously. But it’s hard to miss the point when you hear a slow riff, with Devin wailing “I don’t want to save my soul now. I don’t want to lose control. And even if it takes a lifetime to learn … I’ll learn.” It’s very melancholic, showing us he’ll try to write sober music, but it still is catchy. But really, the crown jewels of the album are the last three songs, “The Way Home!” “Numbered!” and “Awake!”
My favorite track, and quite possibly one of the catchiest and most beautiful songs ever written, “The Way Home!” starts off soft with a whisper, slowly building power and rescinding into a powerful and moving track about wasting time being high. “Numbered!” opens with vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen singing slowly and beautifully about how we are numbered over a heavy guitar riff, with the song building then suddenly dropping off to a cappella of herself. This leaves us with the track “Awake!” which opens with the same opening line as the first song. The song sends us on a trip of all of his musical styles, until finally climaxing the whole album into a slow descent into tranquility after a heavy section very reminiscent of “Strapping Young Lad,” making this seriously one of the best albums of 2009 and one of the best Devin Townsend albums to be put alongside “Ocean Machine: Biomech” and “Accelerated Evolution.” This album will have you addicted.
88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Thursday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.