Review Summary: For what it is, "Deconstruction" is pretty good, but what "Deconstruction" is not, is good music :).
Devin's a bit messed up in the head. It is not my opinion, nor is that being said because he is the "Mad Scientist of Metal." Mr. Townsend is literally a bit crazy. Devin, like me, suffers from something called Bi-polar disorder. It's similar to Schitzofrenia, but not quite as extreme. To understand Devin's work is to understand bi-polar. Since Devin himself has said that he writes his music in accordance to how's he's feeling at the moment of writing, I safetly assume that all his albums are little tributes to our lttle mental disease and I also think that's why each of his releases sound so wildly different from one another (our mood changes are extreme.)
"Deconstruction" is Devin's latest outing and I've got a feeling he was on a pretty big high when he wrote most of the tracks for the album. To put it bluntly-the whole album sounds like one big joke. You may not understand it, but it's true. When bi-polars go on a high, we tend to feel we're God's gift to everything, and the idea of making one giant joke of an album is an entertaining one.
Why do I think this album ia a joke?
For starters, the album features a variety of guest musicians (mostly vocalists such as Isaahn) contributing 20 second pieces, at most. Very funny! I've never heard of such a poorly handled use of such a star studded cast.
We have the traditional fart joke thrown into the intro of "Deconstruction," with a rather juvenile "elitist mockery" type voice explaining deconstruction itself. It's clearly an attempt to poke fun and piss off those of us who take things (this album) too seriously. I have to admit it isn't funny, but the looping of Devin saying "cheeseburger" to the kick ass guitar riff that follows the intro brings a smile to my face everytime I hear it. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion, especially when the choir kicks in. It's completely absurd. The lyrics themselves poke fun at Devin's fans and at himself as well. Let's not forget the obvious satire in the disguise of an unecessary, out of sync, guitar solo given by Meshuggah's guitarist.
"I'm an artist."
"The Mighty Masturbator" is around 16 minutes long and is my favourite track by far. However-sticking to my joke theory- the song is completely incoherent and damn near unlistenable. The problem is the whole song doesn't flow in any way whatsoever, but rather, is connected by various catchy parts interspersed throughout the mess. One such catchy moment is a very Mr. Bungle-ess ragtime session (featuring old-timey radio vocals) and a techno dance session. The latter being one of the best moments of the song and the entire album, building up to a very rewarding climax. Again though- jokes on us. if you listen closely during this techno moment, there are tiny little beeps playing during this ENTIRE phase. Once you notice them, they're impossible to ignore and horribly annoying. Strangely enough, they're only noticeable when the music is played on a low to mid volume. Almost as though Devin is intentionally trying to ruin the catchy parts of the album or trying ot make us listen to the album on a high volume. I'm also not sure why people are calling this Devin's finest moment as a vocalist as I feel that Devin doesn't actually SING throughout most of Deconstruction, but rather, he speaks in a melodious way. Again, that makes it very difficult for an entire track to be memorable.
It's also worth listening to "Planet of the Apes," just to hear Devin scream "We all rip off Meshuggah."
The third album in Devin's suite of 4, we can hear various nods to "Ki" and "Addicted." The lyrics at the beginning of "The Mighty Masturbator" bring to mind "Coast," and various happy dance sections can also be found throughout the album-a la "Addicted." We can also hear "Ki's" staple guitar riff come in during "Deconstruction." It certainly feels like Devin is coming full circle at times and brings a strangely warm feeling to my heart..
Again though; the album is one big joke. No one track can be called a song (except Juular,) but rather a collection of sounds that, at times, resemble a song. I get the feeling that the "artist" released this to see if people would deem the work as "genius," as they usually do and to confuse the uptight. I'm sure he's laughing. I guarantee there is nothing to "get" about this album, other than the joke, but at 70 minutes, this album is a little too long for a joke. Many reviews claim that Devin explores various genres of the musical spectrum on "Deconstrucion," but don't believe that. Only certain small moments of certain songs sound like they belong to a specific genre, the rest is just nonsense.
You probably think that I'm about to rate this album with a low score, but I'm not. I personally find the album to be very entertaining, extremely unique, and even funny. I listen to this album regularly, and each time, I find something new to hear. While the album is a joke, it's clear that Townsend put a lot of effort into it.
This is NOT an album for the general masses or even some of Devin's fans. This is a strange thing, it is. I think your state of mind will depend on how much you enjoy this. I'll go on to say that this shouldn't even be considered music, but rather, a collection of humorous and ridiculous ideas. In terms of good music, I think this album fails, but in terms of creating something very different and highly interesting-it succeeds. I must say, of all the "strange" albums I own, this one is by far the best. Absurd humour is finding things that don't make sense to be funny and/or interesting, and Deconstruction makes no sense at all. I think that's the point, isn't it? I'm also sure Devin had a real good time time producing and making this, as the production is outstanding.
I think a 3 is in order. No, not Devin's finest moment, but I'm sure in his eyes it is.