DEVIN TOWNSEND: The Rebirth of Devin Townsend

Few artists in metal have been as single-handedly influential and prolific in the late 90’s/2000’s as DEVIN TOWNSEND. Despite amassing a diehard fanbase and the high praise and respect of his peers, Devin‘s personal life was suffering. After taking a self-imposed sabbatical in conjunction with the end of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, Devin went through a soul searching journey and a reevaluation of his life.

APESHIT spoke to the mad scientist of metal before his show in LA earlier this year. We’re happy to report that not only is Devin back with a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration, he’s here to be bigger and stronger than ever.
Continue reading

THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: 2010 Touring Campaign and NAMM Performance, Signing Schedule

Devin Townsend will be hitting the road in 2010 in support of THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT‘s Addicted album, which was met with worldwide critical praise and scored very impressive first week numbers debuting at #168 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #2 on the Billboard Heatseakers chart. The band will join BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, CYNIC and SCALE THE SUMMIT for a North American trek that kicks off January 8th. Visit http://www.myspace.com/devintownsenddtb for the latest tour dates.

Also, Devin will be signing and performing at the NAMM convention on January 16th. His schedule is as follows.
EMG booth: 12:30PM – 1:30PM (signing only)
Peavey booth: 1:30PM – 3:00PM (signing only)
Alvarez booth: 3:00PM – 4:00PM (40-minute solo acoustic set)

Check out rehearsal footage of Devin with his band:

Townsend comments: “Here’s a short clip of a DTP rehearsal with no overdubs and no fixes. We plan to have a choir for the tours coming up after January to cover the background vocals. My plan was always to make the live experience tight, and like the record (with a few surprises). This was our first take of ‘By Your Command‘ that day.

“I am thrilled to be able to come play for you. Thank you for allowing me to continue doing whatever it is I do. I believe now is the start of it all. What I want to do is pretty epic in terms of live concerts. I think my dissatisfaction with shows in the past is that I want to see and provide people with an EVENT, a spectacle, and the music is the soundtrack to the experience. First things first is getting the new band tight and disciplined, we’re ready to play this first tour (our first one) with BTBAM, CYNIC and SCALE THE SUMMIT. When I complete ‘Deconstruction‘ I believe we’ll have every musical base covered to make a heck of a statement.

“Have a great New Year folks. Keep it strong, keep it brutal. Keep it quiet, keep it gentle. See you all soon.”

APESHIT’s Top Albums of 2009

It’s that time where we take a look back on the year as 2009 comes to a close. So we, the APESHIT goons, asked ourselves, what albums moved us, kicked our asses, and reminded us of why we love metal (and music)? Read on for our top albums of 2009…
Continue reading

THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT – Addicted

Metal god Devin Townsend bestows upon us album number two in his four part “THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT” entitled Addicted. The album is most reminiscent of his Infinity album but with a lot more of everything. The album is built upon beautiful upon beautiful layer of synthesizers, fantastic hooks, and those familiar guitar tones in that famous Devin “metal pop” style. If you thought Infinity sounded futuristic, Addicted is light years ahead of that album.

To add to this musicial orgasm is another underground metal pioneer, Anneke Van Giersbergen (AGUA DE ANNIQUE/ex-THE GATHERING), who shares vocals duties on Addicted. To have her sing on Devin‘s songs is not only extremely interesting but it fits so perfectly. Both vocalists write catchy vocal lines and also hold out those long notes with ease. It’s a joy to hear two vocalists who can really sing their asses off throughout an entire album.

Songwise, you’ve got the songs with the gigantic cascades of lush synthesizers, driving tempos, and “big” vocals. One pleasant surprise is “Ih-Ah!” which is an acoustic guitar/piano driven song that is easily one of Devin‘s most accessible to date and least “abrasive.” Album closer, “Awake!!,” is the most bombastic track and features some fantastic vocals from Anneke and Devin.

Devin Townsend justifies his godly status with Addicted being yet another great work. The album would’ve been superb without Anneke Van Giersbergen. However, her part in Addicted really puts it over the top in the echelon of Devin Townsend albums. Few albums released in 2009 can match the pure listening pleasure and feelings of euphoria that is Addicted. (Inside Out Music)

[blipfm 30553486]

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT to Release Ki

In a world of increasing conformity and musical banality, Devin Townsend is among the few real personalities who have character, charisma and surprising innovative creativity. As a solo artist and producer, a member of the (by now disbanded) STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, and vocalist on Steve Vai’s album, Sex and Religion, – Townsend has always inspired fans and critics alike. The latest chapter of his extremely diverse career is entitled Ki and will be out in May/June 2009.

Ki is the first in a series of four albums under the moniker ‘DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT.’ Each album is essentially a different band or collection of session musicians playing my music,” Townsend explains. “They were chosen based on what the theme of the album is and the vibe that the album is trying to project. The album Ki is very specific in this quartet of albums in that it controls its anger throughout, barring one song – ‘Heaven Send‘ – and really is an exercise in having little to prove.”

The most renowned project member on Ki is drummer Duris Maxwell (62), who has played with many acts, such as HEART, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, THE POWDER BLUES, TOMMY CHONG and THE TEMPTATIONS. Maxwell even jammed with Hendrix. “I am very conscious of drummers and the energy they bring to the bands,” Townsend says. “I went to a blues club way up in the North of Canada and watched Duris. He has the vibe I wanted for the drums here: nothing to prove, but strong and a bit angry. Duris is an older cat but he’s heavy.” He is supported by bassist Jean Savoie. “Jean plays in a BEATLES cover band and spent years playing the cruise ships all over the world. Name a style and he can jam it for hours. His technique is accomplished, and the fact that he had never played heavy music made him and Duris perfect for the project.” Dave Young is the keyboardist, and Townsend has been working with him for years: “He’s the most schooled musician out of all of us and can play any instrument. Keyboard players typically annoy the hell out of me, but Dave is more of an ambient musician and fills the spaces with fitting but unusual note choices simply by watching where I am on my fretboard.”

After an extremely difficult phase (“I quit many bad habits in my life after SYL ended. I felt depressed, angry and unhealthy and was not satisfied with living that way for the rest of my life. I quit all drugs, alcohol and a host of other addictions that were controlling me and my world”), Ki now sees him embark on an unmistakably new path. Although not overly aggressive, the album oozes a haunting intensity, a vitality which hides below a seemingly smooth surface. “Ki is a subtle, severe album, a challenge in some ways. The point to the music is that the whisper is louder than the roar in many ways. Ki is – on the surface – quiet and unassuming. Whenever it begins to lose its temper, it stops and doesn’t let go. It is avoiding that temptation, as that sort of anger is really gratifying but ultimately just leaves me unhappy.”

In perfect unison with this thoroughly unusual, gripping and intelligent album, Townsend presents a three-dimensional cover artwork. As the music on Ki, the graphic design is also consciously multilayered. Townsend: “I live in the North of Canada and I believe that the native cultures of the world have it really down in terms of spirituality. Nature is ‘God,’ in all its subtlety and terror. And we are all a part of it, whether or not we want to be. The mask on the cover is based on native North American and Chinese paintings. It is not authentic and is just meant to be two faces in one.”

And what will the future bring? “When all four records in the DTP series are done and the ultimate box set is released at the end (eight records plus a DVD), I will play selected shows throughout the world. I will not climb into a van and play clubs in the middle of nowhere, though, I am going to assemble a sober team of incredible musicians to play ALL the records, perfectly, to many people. You will see me soon, and get ready for the next three records in the series; Ki is a subtle introduction to a sprawling theme. Please enjoy, it’s good to be back.”

http://www.myspace.com/devintownsenddtb

SOILWORK – Sworn to a Great Divide

Sweden’s SOILWORK return with more bite and aggression than their last two albums. The band inject more aggression in their riffing and delivery than in recent years. There is also a stronger emphasis on guitarwork this time around. However, there is just as much, if not a little more, focus on and refinement of melodies, particularly in the vocal department. It would be an over statement to say that the band have made a return their heavier, thrashier beginnings even though songs like “The Pittsburgh Syndrome,” “I Vermin,” and “As the Sleeper Awakes” would make you think otherwise. At the end of the day, SOILWORK make their bread and butter on melodies and vocalist Bjorn “Speed” Strid is the man that holds it all together. There are times when his melodic clean vocals are so catchy and smooth that they inadvertently subtract from the overall aggression and heaviness of the band. But don’t judge this to mean that Speed is necessarily softening the band. Newest member Daniel Antonsson (guitars) from DIMENSION ZERO/PATHOS fame fits in perfectly and heartily contributes to four songs. SOILWORK do break new ground on “Sick Heart River” and “20 More Miles.” The songs has more of a grander and more emotional feel than the standard SOILWORK song. Speed really delivers on the passionate choruses that would certainly make vocal producer Devin Townsend smile. The album also comes with a bonus DVD, which includes footage of the band in the studio and playing a live show in Switzerland. The best part is the footage of Speed recording the album’s vocals in Devin Townsend’s home studio. As you can expect, Devin is his hilarious, eccentric self. In the end, Sworn to a Great Divide is a solid, catchy album that follows the style that the band have become known for. (Nuclear Blast Records)

DARKANE Vocalist Resigns After Seven Years

Vocalist, Andreas Sydow, has announced his resignation from Sweden’s DARKANE following seven years and three albums. Here is a statement direct from Sydow:

“The time has come, my friends for me to step down from my position as vocalist of the greatest band in the world!

“I feel I’ve reached a stand still in the creative process with DARKANE and together we came to the decision to let fresh blood into the band for the upcoming fifth album. DARKANE is constantly evolving and I’m sure that this ignition will be great for the band.

“We certainly part ways as very good friends and we’re in fact still working together on finishing the long awaited DVD. Hopefully the DARKANE Layers of Live DVD will be released this autumn and, in a way, sum up my 7 years with DARKANE and be the perfect closure.

“I feel very honoured and privileged to have been a part of such a great musicianship as DARKANE and I have tons of great memories from all we’ve experienced together. I’m really gonna miss it!

“I want to send out a great big thanks to all the people I’ve met and gotten to know over these 7 years! To all family and friends for supporting me and the band. To all the great bands we’ve met, played and toured with, especially to Devin Townsend (I wouldn’t have made it through the U.S. without you!). To all the crew that has helped us out over the years. To Erin Lynch for believing in us and coping with all our bad habits, misshapes, accidents and illnesses (You sure are the DARKANE tour mama!). To the Nuclear Blast crew, in Europe as well as in the USA (Thanks for helping me fulfill one of my biggest dreams, Gerardo! Keep working those vocals, Loana, and keep your enthusiasm flowing!). To all the fanzine’s that spread the word about Metal all over the world. Your work is extremely important and appreciated! And finally a HUGE thanks to all the fans all over the world for coming to the shows and supporting DARKANE! You are my, and DARKANE‘s, true inspiration!”

DARKANE issued the following statement in regard to Andreas’ departure:

“Thank you Andreas!

“We can look back at seven great years together with Andreas. He joined us as a stand in for Lawrence [Mackrory] on a small tour with SOILWORK and NAGLFAR in March 1999. After the first show of the tour it was clear that he was the guy we were looking for! Since then Andreas has sung on three albums and participated on tours with DARKANE in Europe, US, Japan and Israel. We have had a lot of fun together and Andreas has always been the helpful, happy and friendly guy in the band.

“We sure are gonna miss you, and we know that you’ll reach a lot of success with whatever you do in the future! We would like to wish you all the happiness and success and thanks a lot for being a part of DARKANE!”

In the meantime, the band will continue to look for a replacement for Andreas.

SOILWORK Finish Mixing New Album

SOILWORK have completed mixing their forthcoming new album. Guitarist Ola Frenning posted the following update on the band’s official website:

Peter [Wildoer (drums)] and I just finished the mix of the last song. Which means, the new SOILWORK album is done. All I can say, it sound’s excellent… great sound, great playing and a good mix of songs. I’m very happy to have an album in my CD-collection, that no one else has… yet!

“So, the case ‘SOILWORK recording 2007′ is closed. And, hopefully, the album will be out before the snow starts to fall.”

Vocals for the album were recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia with producer Devin Townsend [STRAPPING YOUNG LAD], who produced the band’s third album, Natural Born Chaos.

DEVIN TOWNSEND – Ziltoid the Omniscient

If anyone had questions about Devin Townsend‘s sanity, especially after earlier releases such as INFINITY, this album is definitely one that could only be created by a crazed mind. Devin completely soloed this project as the sole writer, performer, producer, and recorder for the project. This particular release runs the gamut of just about everything Devin has done with obvious influences from STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, OCEAN MACHINE, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND, and even TERRIA. Amazingly, this album succeeds where most others fail in the attempt to remain both serious and completely absurd at the same time. It’s actually a concept album about an alien named “Ziltoid” who initially travels to Earth seeking the best cup of black coffee in the universe. After finding the coffee presented to him unacceptable, Ziltoid then decides to attack until he is thwarted by Captain Spectacular. Apparently Captain Spectacular’s mission is to reveal Ziltoid for what he truly is – a nerd. There’s also a segment where Ziltoid speaks to the “Omnidimensional Creator,” whose voice bears a resemblance to Keanu Reeves.

Musically, the album remains a hard rock/metal disc the entire time, despite the fact that it’s generally narrated by Ziltoid throughout the album. The heaviest track is easily the song “Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!” highlighting the “Drums from Hell,” which is the drum program developed by Tomas Haake of MESHUGGAH. Other tracks like “Solar Winds” and “Color Your World” have extremely mellow sections with soft clean vocals and ambient guitar. “Planet Smasher” is one of the more bizarre songs containing deeper vocals and chants with a sensibility similar to NINE INCH NAILS. The rest of the album runs the distance between the styles described with plenty of anthemic choruses and infective guitar riffs.

This album is highly recommended to anyone seeking an amusing yet exceptionally talented detour from your typical metal releases. Despite its humorous nature, this should stand out as one of the most creative albums of 2007 thus far. (Inside Out Music)