DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT & THE OCEAN October 2011 U.S. Tour Announced

This October, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT will be touring the U.S. with Germany’s THE OCEAN as support.

Tour dates:
Oct. 8-Station 4-Minneapolis, MN **Devin solo date**
Oct. 9-Intersection-Grand Rapids, MI **Devin solo date**
Oct. 10-Ravari Room-Columbus, OH **Devin solo date**
Oct. 12-Sound Stage-Baltimore, MD
Oct. 13-The Note-Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 14-Rock And Shock-Worcester, MA
Oct. 15-The Chance-Poughkeepsie, NY
Oct. 16-The Altar-Pittsburgh, PA
Oct. 17-Peabody’s-Cleveland, OH
Oct. 18-Harpo’s-Detroit, MI
Oct. 19-Reggie’s-Chicago, IL
Oct. 21-Black Sheep-Colorado Springs, CO
Oct. 22-Marquis-Denver, CO
Oct. 24-Troubadour-Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 25-Slim’s-San Francisco, CA
Oct. 27-Hawthorne-Portland, OR
Oct. 28-El Corazon-Seattle, WA
Oct. 29-Commodore Theater-Vancouver, BC

Industry Profile: Ula Gehret

While the artists are the centerpieces of the music industry, the people behind the scenes are often just as important. It takes as much blood, sweat, and sacrifice to create and maintain success for those who work off-stage. We are taking an opportunity to spotlight one of these unsung heroes, metal industry veteran, Ula Gehret. He was a pivotal figure in Century Media‘s rise in the late 90′s/early 2000′s. He now runs his own consulting firm with fellow industry vet, Leif Jensen (vocalist for DEW-SCENTED). We reached out to Ula in his homebase of the Netherlands, who was happy to share his journey through the metal scene.
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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.
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FEAR FACTORY – Mechanize

So after all the well-publicized drama in the FEAR FACTORY camp, we finally have the new album by the Burton C. Bell/Dino Cazares/Gene Hoglan/Byron Stroud line-up. The band sounds recharged, reinvigorated and determined to regain the level of critical acclaim and influence that helped propel them to the top of the metal scene in the mid-90’s. It’s safe to say that this is band’s best album since Demanufacture and Obsolete.

The return of guitarist/co-founder Dino Cazares is absolutely crucial as he has brought his best new riffs to Mechanize. Time has been kind to Cazares as his trademark attacking rhythms are more sophisticated now. Drumgod Gene Hoglan lays down an excellent performance and brings more than his fast feet to the recording. It’s nice to hear FEAR FACTORY with plenty of drum fills, blast beats, and other hand work.

For most of Mechanize, the band focus on creating brutal, catchy songs with their famous hammering rhythms. There is plenty of aggression and vitality that is sure to please any headbanger. Album closer, “Final Exit,” is the crown jewel of Mechanize. It works as a great contrast to the rest of the album in not just the fact that it shows the less heavy, more melodic side of the band but it also shows a more humanistic side. With all the mechanical pounding and slamming of the preceding tracks, the tranquility and resolution of “Final Exit” is a great way to end the record.

While Mechanize does not match their landmark Demanufacture, it’s still a fine album that ranks right underneath the latter in the band’s catalogue. Signs of life are abound and the new era of FEAR FACTORY is sure to put the band back at the top of the metal scene. (Candlelight Records)

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)

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Ex-STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, EXODUS, FORBIDDEN Members Join Forces in TENET

Ex-EXODUS vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza and lead guitarist Glen Alvelais (FORBIDDEN/ex-TESTAMENT) has joined forces with ex-STRAPPING YOUNG LAD members Jed Simon, Byron Stroud and Gene Hoglan in a project known as TENET. The debut album, Sovereign, is set for an Aug. 25th release. While it took a rather long while to launch this entity, TENET are nowset to mercilessly explode onto the global metal scene with a high quality, furious thrashing old school metal album. Be sure to visit www.myspace.com/tenetforce for all news updates.

Guitarist and TENET mastermind Jed Simon comments as follows: “After years of work, setbacks, more work and more setbacks…I am so happy that this ‘storm in my mind’ has finally come to fruition. So, TENET has now become a band. It is no longer ‘I’. It has evolved, grown up and become more than I ever thought it would be. Without the help of Zetro, Gene, Glen and Byron, this very well could still be residing in the furthest corner of my brain…this album is very personal for me and the anger that has driven it is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. This album is the shedding of a skin that I had been carrying around far too long.”

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

SCARVE: Thrashing Young Lads

France generally isn’t the first, second, third, or fourth European country you think of when you think of “metal,” but France’s SCARVE is putting their stamp on the metal world one album at a time. 2004′s impressive Irradiant piqued ears and garnered comparisons to MESHUGGAH and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. That year also saw drummer, Dirk Verbeuren, join Sweden’s SOILWORK. Despite seemingly unending singer woes, SCARVE dropped their latest, The Undercurrent, to an unsuspecting public. The Undercurrent is a dynamic album of gobsmacking technical metallic goodness. APESHIT pinned down the ever-busy Dirk to tell us more about France’s latest stars on the up and up.

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ZIMMERS HOLE Sign Worldwide Deal with Century Media Records

Vancouver’s ZIMMERS HOLE have signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records and will be entering the studio today to begin tracking their third full-length release. This band are no strangers to the underground metal community, as the lineup features Byron Stroud (FEAR FACTORY, SYL) on bass and Jed Simon (TENET, SYL) on guitars, along with Chris “The Heathen” Valagao (vocals) and Steve Wheeler (drums).

Byron and Jed further comment: “Now with ZH signing a fresh, new deal with Century Media, we have decided to give this band our full and undivided attention. No more ‘side-project’ status here; the men of The Hole are fired up like a city on fire and we entered Vancouver’s famed Armoury Studios today to begin tracking the new release.

“We currently have 19 songs on the table for the new album and some tentative song titles include, ‘The Dark Church of Whatever,’ ‘We Rule The Fucking Land,’ ‘Flight Of The Knight Bat‘ and ‘Hair Doesn’t Grow on Steel.’ As you can see, it’s all about having a good time with The Hole. Make no mistake though, we are very serious about our love of metal; it made us who we are, and we wear our influences on our sleeves proudly.

“We are now more focused than ever before and are so excited about the new album. So excited in fact, that the combined length of our erections may just reach out and touch ya!”

Born in 1991, ZIMMERS HOLE (known by many as just “The Hole”) has been Byron and Jed’s significant other band when not busy with STRAPPING YOUNG LAD or FEAR FACTORY. In the beginning, it was always just a way of spending the weekend drinking far too much and writing absurd songs. As time went on, the group “matured” somewhat, although maturity is highly overrated as far as these guys go, but two albums (Bound By Fire and Legion of Flames), a series of successful tours and a string of absolutely unforgettable shows soon followed, putting the mighty ZH on the lips of many.

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)