Devin Townsend has never been a subtle or predictable guy. From the incessant heaviness of Strapping Young Lad to his sometimes ambient, sometimes off-the-wall bizarre solo material, predicting the New Westminster legend’s next creative step is always a challenge. Let’s all raise praises to a deity of choice, then, that he decided to follow up on Ziltoid the Omniscient.
Deconstruction isn’t the long-awaited Ziltoid sequel (now cancelled, apparently), but it certainly bears all the hallmarks of Devy’s most beloved alien: a heavy progressive sound, a consistent conceptual framework, shifting time-signatures, Meshuggah homages and, as always, a wicked and unapologetic sense of humour. At its core, Deconstruction is one man’s story of self-destruction, descent into Hell, and subsequent existential angst. Musically, Townsend opts for his most convoluted, head-spinning and flat out chaotic album yet: at times full choirs erupt into song, Danny Elfman-esque keyboards lurch into motion, a slew of metal legends appear (members of Opeth, Meshuggah, GWAR, Gojira and many more), and, yes, The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra shows up to lend a hand. Hevy Devy himself uses every vocal trick in his impressive repertoire, from clean singing to operatic wails to his trademark scream: Deconstruction is an absolutely glorious trip (conveniently, so is the thoroughly NSFW eponymous track). This is a technical monster of an album that demands repeat listens to parse the particulars of the storyline (which I won’t ruin here), and it pays off.
The Devin Townsend Project is running on full cylinders here. Fans absolutely cannot afford to miss it.
Published in The Peak, July 2011.