Devin Townsend

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Devin Townsend

Devin Garrett Townsend (born May 5 1972 in Vancouver), also known as Hevy Devy or simply "Devy", is a Canadian musician currently residing in British Columbia. His main instruments are guitar and vocals, but he is, as he showed on his Infinity solo album, a talented multi-instrumentalist and producer. His music is hard to categorize but mostly falls into melodic hard-rock/metal with added influences from progressive rock and industrial music.

At the age of 19 he was recruited by Steve Vai to perform on his Sex & Religion album and accompanying world tour, but most of his career was spent playing in bands in which he was the leader and main creative force. His approach is original in that he doesn't have a main band, but instead creates bands/projects for almost each album. For example, Strapping Young Lad is a very heavy industrial metal band that focuses on themes of anger, alienation, frustration, and even hate. Separate from Strapping Young Lad, Townsend created Ocean Machine, a group that would allow him to explore alternative ideas and themes that would not fit in the extreme metal genre that Strapping Young Lad occupied. The album that sprang from that group was titled "Biomech." However, as time went on, most fans refer to the album as a Devin Townsend solo project and simply call the album "Ocean Machine." These days, most fans see the albums "Ocean Machine," "Infinity," "Physicist," "Terria," and "Accelerated Evolution" as all being Devin Towsend's solo work. The latest release, "Accelerated Evolution," was designated as having been by The Devin Towsend Band and in many interviews Townsend has said that the next "solo" album will also be under the same moniker.

Devin Townsend suffers from bipolar disorder for which he has been receiving treatment. His music often reflects the extreme nature of his psyche. In fact, after the album Infinity was produced, Townsend self-imposed a stay in a mental hospital. There is some indication that the work on the album, one of his most eclectic and boundary-breaking, contributed to his situation and forced the hospital stay.

Most people unfamiliar with the heavy metal and hard rock genre would probably dismiss it as being sophomoric and simplistic thematically and the music being loud, fast, and amateur. Many people would describe Devin Townsend's work, both solo and with Strapping Young Lad, as being completely the opposite. Townsend is generally acknowledged as being a master record producer. He has produced, either alone or with others, all of his own work. He has also worked with other artists in producing their music. Townsend's work is always very experimental and progressive and is challenging to listen to. Utilizing the latest in digital audio tools and multitrack recording processes, Townsend layers in sound upon sound. It is not uncommon for Townsend to record several layers of the same instrument, guitar for example, in order to perfect the sound he's looking for. A trademark of Townsend's sound is to make a "chorus of Devys", recording himself over and over singing backup and layering it into the final mix. Also, he will frequently lay down a soundbed of atmospheric noise overwhich the instruments play. The final result is usually a very dense "Wall-of-Sound" effect, a technique that, if done improperly, could easily sound muddled. Townsend, however, manages to render a complex and intricate sound that many fans find perfect.

Discography & Bands

Devin also appeared as a guest vocalist on Ayreon's latest album The Human Equation, where he portrays the "Rage" Character.

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