Devin Townsend / Devin Townsend Project

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Deconstruction Review

by Phil Freeman

Deconstruction is one of two simultaneous releases by industrial-metal guitarist/singer/producer Devin Townsend, and one volume in a four-part series of releases he's been assembling since 2009. The previous volume, Addicted, mixed crushingly heavy tracks with more pop-friendly material, and prominently featured guest vocals by Anneke von Giersbergen, formerly of Dutch group the Gathering, while the first album, Ki, was slightly more adventurous. Deconstruction is another heavy record; it starts off with the mellow, drum-machine-driven "Praise the Lowered," but soon goes on wild tangents, including the Danny Elfman-meets-Rammstein polka-crunch of "Juular" and the roaring, epic "Planet of the Apes" (11 minutes of Strapping Young Lad-esque riffing, with '80s radio-pop clean vocals and synths slapped on top). It's also jammed with guest vocalists, including former Emperor frontman Ihsahn, the Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato, Cynic's Paul Masvidal, Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt, and Oderus Urungus of GWAR. There's a lot of interesting material here, but this is a defiantly uncommercial album designed to appeal to existing Townsend fans -- a strategy that recognizes 21st century music-biz realities and surrenders to them without a fight. In some ways, this four-disc run of work has been a signal that Devin Townsend, after breaking up Strapping Young Lad, has chosen the Mike Patton career path: nurturing a cult audience that'll buy anything he puts out, and making no effort to bring new/casual listeners in. If you already like Devin Townsend, you'll like Deconstruction. That seems to be all he cares about.

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