Devin Townsend / Devin Townsend Project

Addicted

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Devin Townsend's maniacal/wacky tendencies duel with his instinct for skull-crushing heaviness on Addicted, the second in a planned trilogy of albums he's put together since retiring his ultimate metal band, Strapping Young Lad, a few years back. Anneke van Giersbergen, formerly of the Gathering, is Townsend's vocal partner throughout much of the album, creating a Lacuna Coil-esque effect as he roars and she croons and the guitar riffs ride almost disco/techno rhythms. "Bend It Like Bender" is a particularly weird blend of metal and Hi-NRG, something Rammstein might come up with after a weekend of carousing in Berlin's most flamboyant discos. Other tracks, like "Supercrush" and the mostly acoustic "Ih-Ah," offer a kind of anthemic pop crunch that could rocket up the charts in an alternate universe. When he's not screaming his lungs out, Townsend is a hell of a singer, and his voice intertwines with van Giersbergen's in a very European way -- many of Addicted's songs have the feel of a metallic Ace of Base, and that's not actually a bad thing. But then there's a song like "Numbered" or the nearly ten-minute album closer, "Awake," to smash the listener's skull to powder all over again.

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