Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Devin Townsend Band - Synchestra (2006)

After a visit in outer space, Devin decided to come back down to earth and write some more material with The Devin Townsend Band. Okay, that did not happen literally, but it is still a true story since the Strapping Young Lad album "Alien" was a crazy record that probably fits better in Uranus than on earth and the second album from The Devin Townsend Band, named "Synchestra", is more of a mellow album that feels more at home on earth. This was also the intention that Devin wanted.

Compared to the band's first album, "Accelerated Evolution", "Synchestra" is more of a sane and calmer album, but it still has its moments of playfulness, like the some what random banjo solo in "triumph" or the sweet groove in "Notes From Africa". However, Devin and the gang goes completely bonkers on the two songs "Vampolka" and "Vampira" where the band mixes metal, polka and vampires (the real ones, not the sparkly ones) in one big gumbo bowl. It is without a doubt weird, but in a highly enjoyable way. A tip is that you also watch the hilarious music video for "Vampira". Just seeing Devin in a devil outfit and a poorly drawn French mustasche is just so god damn funny.

Besides the polka, we also see other musical styles in "Synchestra". Everything from ambient music and Devin's patented "pop"-metal to more complex and progressive metal. "Synchestra" is like a goody bag with sweet and sour candy, chocolate, gummybears and other sorts of candy. It is pretty easy to pick one favourite that you will always eat firstand then some other sweets that are also good, but there are also some pieces that you will ignore because you either hate it or you are just too full at the moment. That is why I cannot help it that I always will listen to "Triumph", "Vampira", "Gaia" and "Notes From Africa" while I skip songs like "Babysong" and "A Simple Lullaby" whenever I come back to the record for another listening session.

The only big downside with "Synchestra" is the amount of interludes in this album. I count 4 on this album, and that is at least 2 too many for my taste. I also feel that the production could have been better at some points, but if we speak on the musical aspects, there is not much at all to complain against. Good variety, nice groove and a clean work from each musician. Maybe a couple of songs could have been more exciting, but I could not care less about that.

Out of the two albums that The Devin Townsend Band has released, I would say that "Synchestra" beats "Accelerated Evolution" thanks to its wide variety and its unique style. It may have some bumps on its road, but "Synchestra" have several parts that makes the road highly enjoyable. And even if it is a little sad that the story of The Devin Townsend Band was so short, it brings some joy that it ended on a high note.

Songs worthy of recognition: Vampira, Triumph, Gaia, Notes From Africa

Rating: 8,5/10 Vampolkas

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