Devin Townsend
Devlab


1.5
very poor

Review

by Davey USER (2 Reviews)
November 23rd, 2022 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A failed lab experiment that would've best been kept locked away.

Devin Townsend is no stranger to experimentation. Across his numerous side projects and bands he's featured in spanning multiple genres from the likes of progressive metal to ambient to country, it really feels like the man has done it all. In the case of ambient music, Devin has certainly not been a stranger to experimenting with the genre, whether it's including ambiance in a song's atmosphere as a complimentary element, having it as interludes between songs or even making full albums of nothing but ambient music. But when you're someone known to be open to experimentation, you're bound to have a few failures along the way. Devlab just happens to be one of those failures.

Devlab was conceived as a duo album of sorts, with his next album also being a full ambient album, The Hummer. While The Hummer's mood is more meditative and calm, Devlab is dark and suspenseful, a yin to the yang if you will. However, you probably wouldn't get that feeling right away with this album. How so? Well, it just so happens the album opens up with not a dark ambient song at all, but instead it opens with... a song about hot melt glue guns. Yes, right away the listener is familiarized with Devin's sense of humor with a throwaway track that clashes with the rest of the album's atmosphere. It's only after this, well, whatever this is finishes that Devlab finally gets into the dark ambient territory that it probably should have started with in the first place.

Thankfully, if Devin knows how to do anything right, it's setting an atmosphere, and Devlab certainly tries to do that; of course, the keyword there is tries to. There's several low, droning noises with little to no variation, and this continues on for the majority of the album. There's hardly anything to keep the listener engaged here, and with how little it changes, most of the album just fades into the background. I get what Devin was trying to go for here, but with Devlab it isn't nearly as effective. Devlab attempts to aim for a more suspenseful atmosphere compared to its sister album The Hummer, but falls severely short. It doesn't feel suspenseful; if anything, it feels lackluster. I don't feel tense or anything along those lines from an album in a style like this. Instead... I just feel bored. The album's runtime doesn't really do it any favors either, with it being a little over an hour long, and for an album that barely changes over that runtime, it's really detrimental to the quality of it.

It's no secret that Devin has experimented plenty of times throughout his extensive discography, but Devlab feels like just that: an experiment, and a failed one at that. It doesn't even seem like an album that was meant to be released really, rather it just feels like a collection of musical ideas that was accidentally put together as an album. Devin has thankfully had better ventures with the ambient style of music later on in his career, so I'd personally recommend skipping Devlab as it's not one of his brightest moments. Unless if you're into songs about hot glue guns.


user ratings (245)
2.3
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyMonsoon
November 23rd 2022


97 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

"no one even wants to review it cuz it sucks so hard" Apologies in advance Source, it was an easy target.



Happy month-late belated Halloween, I had wanted to get this review out around the spooky season, but life has gotten in the way the last few months, which explains the delay between my last review and this. I did this as a test in any scenario I wanted to do a more negative review. Hopefully my next review won't take nearly as long. Anyways, comments and criticisms are appreciated as usual.



I'MMMMM GONNA MELT YOUUUU GUYYYYYS

pizzamachine
November 23rd 2022


21595 Comments


Well done. Album is poo.

cloakanddagger
November 23rd 2022


613 Comments


Yeah this album definitely is a dud, generally speaking Devin's straight ambient albums aren't very good. The Puzzle/Snuggles reaffirmed that for me.

Ghost and Casualties of Cool are far better representations of his soft side musically speaking.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2022


17487 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Wow someone actually reviewed this garbage. I love Devin but this is irredeemable. Have a pos

DaveyMonsoon
November 23rd 2022


97 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Thanks all! Yeah Mancuso, it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it. I love a lot of Devin's stuff myself, but this one's definitely not one of his brightest moments. It's best to avoid it like the plague.

Alucard125
November 24th 2022


662 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Controversial opinion - there's some great ambient work on this album. Granted the first 5 tracks are complete crap, but once it leaves the grating noises behind and leans into the more classic ambient style, I like it. Doesn't work as an album at all, but there's plenty to enjoy once you adjust your expectations for a Devy work. (I have physical copies of both this and Hummer and used them for a long time as sleep aids)

TheMonster
November 24th 2022


199 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This really isn't as bad as it's often made out to be. Reminds me of the reception of the more experimental Mike Patton solo albums, like "Adult Themes for Voice" and "Pranzo Oltranzista." If you're coming at them as a (more or less strict) rock/metal fan, they won't make any sense. But once your sphere of influence has expanded, you'll find there's more to them than met the ear initially. I'm not saying this is a masterpiece, but it's far better than a 1.5.

DaveyMonsoon
November 25th 2022


97 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I'll give it that, the second half of this is better than the first and isn't that bad which bumps it up slightly for me. It's not that he made an ambient album really, it's that it's real lacking compared to Ghost, Casualties and even The Hummer to an extent. Devin has done better than this since so I feel this is just something that... exists.

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
November 26th 2022


15382 Comments


great review i’ll never hear this
edit: we’ll i might check out that hot glue song that sounds sick



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