In a world brimming with talented musicians, for me, one name rises above the rest like a musical supernova: Devin Townsend.
Known for his mind-bending creativity, insane vocal range, and diverse projects, Townsend has captured the hearts of fans across the globe. My journey with ‘Heavy Devy’ began (like many of us…) with Strapping Young Lad. I first caught the music video for “Love?” on some music channel or other.. which immediately piqued my interest... I fell down the Devin rabbit hole and became obsessed! Going out and buying anything I could get my hands on. Imagine my joy when I discovered not only the Strapping material.. but a veritable treasure trove of solo material! (Ocean Machine, Infinity, Terria, etc!) I’ve never resurfaced from this musical wonderland...
Prepare to embark on a joyous journey with me as I unveil five reasons why this musical maestro is undoubtedly the greatest musician of all time - in case you didn’t know!
The Chameleon of Music: Devin Townsend is like a musical shapeshifter, constantly reinventing himself with every project he tackles, there is something for everyone. From his early days in the extreme metal scene with Strapping Young Lad coupled with the opposite solo material of the time, in Ocean Machine, Infinity, Terria, etc! Through to the Devin Townsend Band, and the Devin Townsend Project, to his recent mesmerizing solo albums (Empath, Lightwork etc), he fearlessly explores a vast array of genres. It's as if he has a secret laboratory where he concocts the perfect blend of metal, prog, ambient, and everything in between effortlessly. It’s hard to not be captivated by this “mad scientist” (ever since that photo in the ‘Physicist’ sleeve!) of music, except instead of terrifying monsters, he creates captivating and often intricate melodies that make our hearts dance, and souls warm, but by the same token can also terrify, and aurally pummel you into mush!
The Wall of Sound: If you've ever witnessed a Devin Townsend (metal) performance, you know that he possesses an almost supernatural ability to unleash a sonic tsunami upon his audience. His live shows are like a musical rollercoaster, taking us through a whirlwind of emotions. From gentle moments (think ‘Deep Peace’) that caress our souls to explosive crescendos that make our eardrums tremble (‘Hear Me’, plus basically all SYL), Townsend's music envelops us in a wall of sound that leaves us spellbound. It's like a warm embrace from a giant cosmic teddy bear made entirely out of musical notes.
The Sensei of Quirkiness: Devin Townsend is a musical genius that much is certain, but he also possesses an endearing quirkiness that sets him apart from the pack. With his charming, and often downright hilarious witty stage banter, he reminds us not to take life too seriously. Townsend often sprinkles his musical endeavours with surprises, like unexpected sounds and sometimes whimsical lyrics that make us chuckle with joy. Two complete concept albums about a coffee-obsessed alien! I’m sure we’re onto at least our 6th album of ambient soundscapes by now. He's a sort of musical court jester, entertaining us with his whimsical antics while simultaneously blowing our minds in any number of genres. I’m here for it!
A Universe of Projects: If at any time you (mistakenly) thought Devin Townsend was just a one-trick pony, then think again! This musical marvel has an entire “galaxy” of projects under his belt. From the mind-blowing concept album series "The Devin Townsend Project" to the ethereal ambience of "Casualties of Cool", the captivating "Empath," and the recent “Lightwork”. Townsend's discography is certainly an eclectic treasure trove of sonic wonders. Much like the cover of his “Deconstruction” album, it's like he's built his own musical amusement park, and we're all invited to take a wild ride on the various rollercoasters of his imagination. (Side note: I’m still gutted I missed out on tickets to the Retinal Circus!)
Spreading Love(?) and Positivity: While Devin Townsend's musical prowess is undeniable, it's his genuine and infectious love for humanity that truly sets him apart. In the modern day (Post Strapping Young Lad), through his music, he mostly shares messages of hope, self-acceptance, and unity, reminding us that we're all in this crazy journey called life together. His songs embrace us like a warm hug from a long-lost friend and inspire us to be our authentic selves. These days, Townsend is like a musical ambassador of love, travelling the world to spread positive vibes and bring people closer through the power of music.
Devin Townsend's musical brilliance, boundless creativity, and infectious positivity have undoubtedly earned him a spot in the pantheon of musical legends. From his genre-bending projects to his mesmerizing live performances, he has left an indelible mark on the world of music. So, let's raise our imaginary glasses and celebrate the one and only Devin Townsend, the greatest musician of all time! Cheers to this cosmic maestro who continues to dazzle our ears and warm our hearts with his extraordinary musical gifts, and an obsession with finding the universe's ultimate cup of coffee, indeed!
By Dan Phillips
"Devolution #3 - Empath: Live in America" will be released worldwide on InsideOut Music on August 4th, 2023.
Pre-order your copy here: https://devin-townsend.lnk.to/DevolutionSeries3-Empath-LiveInAmerica
Devin Townsend will be headlining the excellent ArcTanGent Festival on Saturday 19th August.
Get your tickets here: https://arctangent.co.uk/tickets/
Article originally published for Amplified Magazine here: https://www.amplifiedmagazine.com/post/the-phenomenal-devin-townsend-5-reasons-why-he-s-the-greatest-musician-ever-by-dan-phillips