Thursday, September 12, 2013

Devin Townsend - Ocean Machine: Biomech (1997)

Once upon a time, there was a band called Ocean Machine, a band that was created by Devin Townsend and also included JR Harder and Marty Chapman. Together they created a little fine piece called "Biomech" that took the world by storm and made them rulers of the earth during the remaining years of the 20th century.

Okay, that little story is only half true. This album did not take the world by storm (although it sold 12, 000 copies in Japan during the first week), but this album was actually originally released under Ocean Machine. Today, this album is known as a work by Devin Townsend since the little side project only lasted a year before the brake up, and the album is now named "Ocean Machine: Biomech".

Unlike the sound in Strapping Young Lad, "Ocean Machine: Biomech" is a album that is filled with soothing riffs and uplifting music that creates a bubble for the listener where there is no stress. The riffs over flow your mind like soft waves, but it still makes a great impact on you. I can also sense that there is more passion and effort put into the music then on the SYL material (Devin have also said that the music on this album was really close to him).

The standard is incredibly high on "Ocean Machine: Biomech" and even if there is no speed freak of a song in here, I still think that the variety is at its top. The fastest song is probably "Night" that impresses with its addictive keyboard sound and Devin's different vocal settings. A diverse song that works well on so many levels. We also have "Life" that is the most positive song on the album, and it can easily be seen as a song made by Good Charlotte or Blink-182, but with better lyrics and deeper music. But the heaviest piece is definitely "Regulator". The main riff has some resemblance towards Strapping Young Lad, but instead of going bat shit crazy, the song holds back its wild side and comes instead with a well constructed and well balanced song that does not let the heavy nor the progressive side take over. It is like Yin and Yang, but for song genres in one song.

Then we have "Bastard", a song that is a fusion between two other songs ("Not One of My Better Days" and "The Girl From The Blue City"), but still feels as one big fantastic 10 minute piece. That riff is so simple, but oh so genius, and the drums during the "transition" between NOoMBD and TGFTBC are just amazing. It is both a beautiful and hurtful song that really brings out all the emotions, especially the euphoric ones. But the most emotional piece is the giant 12 minute piece "The Death of Music". Musically, there is not much happening in the song (except the amazingly beautiful keyboards), but the emotions that the tormented Devin puts out are almost too much to handle, and I freaking love it.

The only complaint I have with "Ocean Machine: Biomech" is the uneventful middle part of the album, which includes the songs "Sister" and "3 A.m.", but this is other wise a magnificent album with flawless production and some solid instrumental work. The mood is well set in every song and there is a red line that flows through the whole album, making it a complete work of art.

For those of you who like your Devin heavy and hard, step aside from "Ocean Machine: Biomech" if you do not want to be disappointed. But if you prefer his more progressive and uplifting side, then you are highly welcome. "Ocean Machine: Biomech" brings a calmness to your mind that is easy to take in, harder to fully understand and impossible to not enjoy. I have never heard this kind of progressive music before, and I would definitely love to hear more of it in the future. So do not only dip your toes in this ocean. Step back, run, do a cannon ball into the water and enjoy this album and its soothing waves. See you on the other side!

Songs worthy of recognition: The Death of Music, Bastard, Night, Regulator

Rating: 9,5/10 Funerals

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