10 August 2013

Devin Townsend - Ocean Machine


After the last review, I needed something that is familiar but not too close to home - something by someone I know, yet have not really heard.  Out of total random, first pick I have ended up with this album by Devin Townsend.  This is his second solo album which upon the original release in Japan was released until the band name of Biomech; however when it was released around the rest of the world it was released under his own name. I remember when this came out in the UK Devin did a tour which he played with this album, another of his solo works and Strapping Young Lad as well which would have been a big under taking for the bravest of acts outside of fellow Canadians Rush, and he also did it at very small venues (he did this at small pubs and clubs).  To say that he is committed to his work is an understatement; sometimes he self destructs with some fantastic fireworks (such as when he split up Strapping Young Lad when they were making big waves), but musically he has always been on the ball pretty much.  Was it more of the same on this one?

At the time of this release, this was a step out of the usual Devy zone.  It was a more mature and mellow album compared to his works at the time.  However it you compare it to some of the works he has done since (especially Ki) it is more a sign post of one of the more interesting paths that he would venture down.  With a more melodic and peaceful pace, this is the stark contrast to Strapping Young Lad's 'City'.  It still have that epic soundscape which is a signature of Devy's playing - best exampled on "Greetings" and "Regulator".  The softer moments are the most powerful, such as the beautiful "3 A.M." which merges into "Voices In The Fan".  This is not to say the more rocking moments (and I mean rocking as in they have a heavier guitar but with the lovely restrained) do not have their own beauty and grace.  Devy was on the start of a musical journey here which is a great counter balance to his more heavier and out there moments.  The heart breaking "Funeral" is a moment which is both majestic and moving. Every time I listen to that song I don't want it to end.

If there was one thing I wish there was less of on this album, it is Devy's more shouty vocals at times.  Of course this is a hindsight wish, main due to the fact that Ki and Unplugged showcase what he can do without them.  At the time he was still finding that voice that is so distinctive now, back then it was still coming out from the bombshell of Vai in 1993 and was the monolith release of 'City' - this was a big side step for him.  But it is a brave move that has worked on so many levels.  If it was not for this, he might not have made 'Terria' or 'Synchestra'.  This is ground zero for the more mellow side of Devy and one of his most important releases by the man.  If you have not heard this and like 'City' - what have you been doing, listen to this now and make the journey complete.


9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.....

You can purchase from Amazon here....

 ...however, you can purchase stuff directly from Devy web stores!!! This is a link to his EU store!

You can visit Devy's website here

You can also listen to the album on Spotify here

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