Devin Townsend Project
Deconstruction


4.5
superb

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
June 21st, 2011 | 303 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Woah, good lord it's a Cheeseburger! A double! BEER! BEER! BEER!

If you're new to Devin Townsend, or even if you've been a fan for years, in a way, you could say that Deconstruction is the perfect summary of his works. That is, his early works. As Devin put it himself, Deconstruction feels like the album he had to make, whereas Ghost feels like the album he wants to make, and should be making. Well, that doesn't seem to be without cause - if you listen to Deconstruction you'll notice that everything he's ever done seems to have led directly to this point and fed into this whale of an album.

Deconstruction carries with it the seriously, head-crushingly heavy music that the world came to know and, in some cases, love when Devin first fronted Strapping Young Lad and released 1995's Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing. Devin pounds out the semi-industrial, relentless sound that was eager to lend itself as the anthem flags bearing the so-called "big middle finger" could be waved to time and again. From this vantage, it's City with a little more melody and a little less cynicism. It's Alien, but drawing its inspiration from Devin's introspective on his career, rather than self-torture inflicted by going off of his bi-polar medication to appease the fans.

But that's just the beginning. Deconstruction also pulls in plenty of Devin's solo work - "Stand" draws heavily on the rhythm of Ki's "Gato," while "Sumeria," appropriately pulls the line "Love, love meā€¦love, love me...LOVE, LOVE ME! LOVE!!" and its rhythm from Terria's "Earth Day," aptly echoing the line "Hate, love, love, hate, love, hate...destruction!" There are Ziltoid influences all over, and perhaps rightly so, since that album was once intended to do what Devin has accomplished on Deconstruction - be the ultimate autobiographical piece. Of course there's more (namely an overt nugget derived from Addicted's "Awake!"), but that's part of the majesty of Deconstruction. It's like watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and waiting for the iconic "I'll be back." The anticipation is half the fun.

So where's the originality, if this is a composite of everything Devin to date? The answer is simple:

It's everywhere. This album merely draws on past experiences and brings them into the limelight. Something HevyDevy, himself, calls "accountability" as a creative artist - taking the elements he'd incorporated in works before, polishing them up, and making them into something bigger he says he'd always intended for them. And, oh, does it show. Even in stripping down the album - deconstructing it, in a sense - you can see the layers and layers of emotion, passion, and raw self that Devin has poured into it.

Pull away the bright, golden layer of choirs chanting "All beef patties, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." Pull out the electronic sounds of hammers banging on pipes, of bleeps and bloops heard at the heart of Ziltoid's omnidimensional spacecraft; the gourd sounds of a rising ocean. Stripping away the menagerie of the "who's who in metal" guest vocalists isn't quite so simple. Unfortunately, powerhouses like Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth maintain only small parts in the scheme of things (an almost inaudible role in "Stand," in Mikael's case) and are easily missed or forgotten, while others, such as the growling force of Gojira vocalist Joe Duplantier throughout Sumeria, Paul Masvidal of Cynic's wonderful conclusion to the same song, or Floor Jansen's haunting performance on "Pandemic" feel much more essential. Nevertheless, if you peel away the guest vocalists, first starting with the less prominent and then moving to even the most outstanding, you'll have your standard Devin Townsend album - penis jokes and all. And at the very core, the excellence contained therein is what makes it a great album.

But all of that is what makes Deconstruction its own beast. As Devin put it - it's everything including the kitchen sink. The album is literally crammed with layer after layer of sound, from the aforementioned bonuses to Devin's vocals, roughly at least one guest vocalist per track on top of the choir, two different drummers (both excellent, and in some cases, such as the massive "Pandemic," rivaling the skills of ex-Strapping member and master drummer Gene Hoglan), Devin's insane guitar and bass work, some distinct keyboard and synth lines, and even a guest spot from Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal. So much so that it creates almost a sort of musical overload - to the point where the spastic lyrics to "Deconstruction" almost start to make sense.

Heavier than anything Devin's done since City and more stacked with musical layers than anything he's done since his now flowering fascination with ProTools, Deconstruction certainly delivers what it promises - layer after layer of Devin to remove, dissect, and analyze. Or, if you're willing enough to let it be, a confused and frightened journey through the equally confused and frightened mind of one of metal's greatest that can only arrive at one logical point. Ghost.

Recommended Tracks:
Praise the Lowered
Stand
Sumeria



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user ratings (953)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Moderator
June 21st 2011


2706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

There's so much to say about this album. I had to stop short a bit.



Deconstruction should be metal album of the year.



Ghost will be the definitive album of the year.

AtomicWaste
Moderator
June 21st 2011


2706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Also I almost lost this entire review due to a database error.

anarchistfish
June 21st 2011


25998 Comments


You should write your reviews in a word document or summat then

mariothehedgehog
June 21st 2011


375 Comments


album's not very good

AtomicWaste
Moderator
June 21st 2011


2706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You should write your reviews in a word document or summat then




Nah, I just hit control+a, control+c before I push submit. I'm used to forum bugs.

G3N3R1C
June 21st 2011


1945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

albums aight. srsly overrated.

pizzamachine
June 21st 2011


13476 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I absolutely hate this album. Easily the most grating "music" I've heard in my life.

PiratesWithHats
June 21st 2011


86 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Devin fully embraces the things that most fans of his work embrace in this album and it pays off. I'm so in love with this beast.

Jruined
June 21st 2011


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's a beast to be sure. I had this down at a 3 for awhile. Over the last few days though I've had the 4 albums from the project in rotation and it's made me re-asses it when taken in context of the project. It fits, and it fits well. The repetition of motifs that are found throughout the body of work and the way they are layered on top of each other and reconfigured to suit the songs is interesting.



I feel like this works more as a bridge between the ki, addicted, and ghost. Addicted ups the anti on Ki and then Deconstruction kicks everything up to 11, then we drop into Ghost which is calming and generally restrained.



I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.



edit: parts remind me of Zappa reusing motifs throughout his body of work. I keep on imagining if an entity was born with all of Zappa's ideas and Townsend's control of voice and his guitar work and my mind gets blown. Either way I'm glad that no matter what Devin (like Zappa) doesn't compromise his vision.



Jruined
June 21st 2011


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ki went up as well after listening to all four consecutively. Underrated to be sure.

jdsanca
June 21st 2011


54 Comments


this is boring

ButcheredChildren
June 21st 2011


5590 Comments


This album is average imo.

Rev
June 21st 2011


9797 Comments


album blows

AtomicWaste
Moderator
June 21st 2011


2706 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I stopped reading after your second sentence, that is, the sentence after the first.




Thanks bro!

botb
June 21st 2011


11014 Comments


if you hate this odds are you're taking it way too seriously

Jruined
June 21st 2011


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think in the end this is a love it or hate it album... That's just how it's going to go. No harm in that.



Edit: Except for Sumeria, not sure how you can dislike that song.



zaruyache
June 21st 2011


17743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I think some of the randomness takes away from the longer tracks, but aside from that it's a pretty good release. The guest appearances were expertly used.

FearThyEvil
June 21st 2011


15353 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Most likely be a 3.5 or 4 when I'm done. I'm on Mighty Masturbator so far but I don't see the appeal most people do.

Jruined
June 21st 2011


1302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@zaryuache: Agreed. They don't overwhelm, and fit within the context of each song.





Edit: also agree with Fearthyevil. It's the weakest of the 4 releases, but still a very good release.

beefshoes
June 21st 2011


6849 Comments


Album of the year for me easily.
The best song for me is Planet Of The Apes.
The melodic parts are just incredible, particularly from 7:49-9:13.




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