Townsend Band, Devin - Synchestra

Year of Release: 2006
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 236/SPV 48742
Format: CD
Total Time: 65:27:00

It's heavy, but not so hard your ears will suffer. For that reason, it's probably classified best under softcore metal.

In my opinion, it's trickier to execute extemporaneous pieces while good melodies can be a touch more difficult to write. What Devin Townsend has done is brought these mutually-exclusive crafts together and created studio-quality symphonic jams. As a result, it's less song-oriented and much more beat-driven. Due to where he's invested his time, these songs take significantly less stock in the melodies, but run away with all the market shares in terms of sheer temperament.

The music contains many characteristics consistent with King Crimson's Thrak and goes in the direction of Emergent from Gordian Knot. There is repetition, but it's the kind that deserves a warm reception. Like a bubble bath, I found it easy to slip into, soak in, and relax. The passion in these tracks have enough intensity to put you into a subterranean trance. The vocals add intricate layers as well, sometimes mean, but mostly moist and hazy. For this reason, I'd say they're closest to the calm demeanor found in Opeth's Damnation. However, there are times when Devin's nodules collide and his vocal chords crack. Tracks such as "Judgment" take us into the vicious vicinity of Akerfedt's more heinous articulations. In the more swanky sequences, however, he moves nearer to the euphoric nature of Chris Cornell. As for the melodies, when present, they carry a mood that rears my repressed memories of Rob Zombie, Limp Bizkit, Big Wreck, Dream Theater, and Stone Temple Pilots.

My favorite moments include the enlightening opening called "Let It Roll," the sublime song labeled "Sunset," and the colossal coleslaw of continental noises found in the final cut named "Notes From Africa." To be honest, I appreciated the album much more on the whole after going through a few listens. I was very impressed with Devin's innovative approach the more chances it was given, finding eccentric details entrenched throughout. The banjo that lurks in "Triumph," the polka-based passage that prowls "Vampolka," and the passing of the Pharoah's priests in "Pixillate," as bizarre as they may seem, are all seasoned, tenderized, and marinated surprisingly well. With 14 tracks that blend efficiently into the next, this music moves hastily in a timeframe that hovers approximately around an hour. Not to mention, if you stick around, "Sunshine And Happiness" will materialize out of nowhere in the form of a hidden track.

There are virtually no flaws in this production nor is their much pollution collecting in its parts. Each track has been heavily-sifted through an industrial-grade HEPA filter. If there was one area to improve; he could have brought us more unique riffs and done away with a lot of the duplication. Regardless, the songs in Synchestra are carefully calibrated and sinfully addictive. He's even clever how he involves his trademark logo in the cover art. As they say, the Devin's in the details.

There is also a special edition (IOMSECD 236/SPV 48740 CD DVD/) that includes a DVD

Let It Roll (2:52) / Hypergeek (2:20) / Triumph (7:08) / Babysong (5:30 / Vampolka (1:36) / Vampira (3:27) / Mental Tan (2:15) / Gaia (6:03) / Pixillate (8:17) / Judgement (5:55) / A Simple Lullaby (7:09) / Sunset (2:31) / Notes From Africa (7:42) / Hidden Bonus: Sunshine And Happiness (2:35)

Special edition includes live DVD

Devin Townsend - vocals, guitar, programming
Ryan Van Poederooyen - drums
Brian Waddell - guitar
Dave Young - keyboards, grand piano, Hammond, mandolin; all guitars (14)
Mike Young - bass, stand-up bass, tuba


Steve Vai - guitar (3)

Ocean Machine: Biomech (1997/2001)
Physicist (2001)
Infinity (2001)
Terria (2001/2003)
Accelerated Evolution (2003)
Synchestra (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: December 11th 2005
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website:
Hits: 926
Language: english


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