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Devin Townsend Project - "Addicted" (CD)

Devin Townsend Project - "Addicted" CD cover image

"Addicted" track listing:

1. Addicted! (5:36)
2. Universe in a Ball! (4:09)
3. Bend It Like Bender! (3:37)
4. Supercrush! (5:13)
5. Hyperdrive! (3:36)
6. Resolve! (3:12)
7. Ih-ah! (3:45)
8. The Way Home! (3:14)
9. Numbered! (4:55)
10. Awake!! (9:44)

Reviewed by on November 24, 2009

"While the first album, 'Ki,' was a more restrained effort, 'Addicted' is the exact opposite; outgoing, aggressive, heavy, and catchy, usually all at the same time."

Devin Townsend has always been an eccentric musician; a fact that can’t be denied based on his past endeavors. From the wall of noise that was Strapping Young Lad to the utopia of creative exploration that was The Devin Townsend Band, Townsend has had his hand in almost every genre of music, from industrial metal to progressive rock to even a brief stint with ambient sounds. With a new venture, The Devin Townsend Project, Townsend has been working on a four-part saga, where each part has revolving musicians and different central musical styles. While the first album, “Ki,” was a more restrained effort, “Addicted” is the exact opposite; outgoing, aggressive, heavy, and catchy, usually all at the same time.

On “Ki,” Townsend created songs that enveloped over time, building towards a moment of utter bliss that was an accumulation of everything that previously followed. “Addicted,” on the other hand, doesn’t waste any time, sticking to tightly composed compositions swimming with an infectious undertone. The constraint that Townsend showed on “Ki” is dispersed instantly with the driving main riff that opens up the title track. Layers upon layers of electronics, guitar effects, and female vocals overwhelm the proceedings, throwing sounds from every angle and background. This is one of the main techniques used by Townsend on “Addicted,” showing off an attention to detail that will pass most casual listeners by.

Former The Gathering vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen plays a major part in “Addicted.” Her smooth, angelic vocals are a nice counterbalance to Townsend’s high, operatic tone and harsh growls. She isn’t just some random background singer either; Giersbergen is given free reign on a good portion of the album. She battles against Townsend on “Numbered!” to phenomenal affect and gives “Hyperdrive!” an extra emotional oomph that was missing from the original version on 2007’s “Ziltoid the Omniscient.”

The best moments of the album are the ones where Townsend heads in a commercial direction. “Bend It Like Bender!” has a European pop sound that wouldn’t be out of place at a hip New York nightclub, while “Ih-Ah!” is a low-key acoustic/piano affair with a surprising amount of power behind it. These tracks show a melodic side of Townsend that mirrors his early work on past solo projects.

Even though the songs aren’t as lengthy as “Ki,” there are a few grandiose moments where the epic feeling is at a fever pitch. “Supercrush!” is the standout track of “Addicted,” with a chorus that has a stadium rock feel to it, without coming off as overly cheesy. Townsend is at the top of his game vocally, a characteristic that isn’t just regaled to “Supercrush!” It seems that Townsend only gets better with age, as he puts on a clinic that is guaranteed to turn quite a few heads.

“Addicted” is, at heart, a simplistic album. There aren’t any wild solos or needless wandering around extended instrumentals. The ten tracks are quick and to-the-point, bordering on repetitious at times. That is to "Addicted"’s benefit, however, as it makes the entire album hard to forget. Placing this album side-by-side with “Ki” makes for a fascinating listen, one that will become even more dynamic once the last two pieces of the puzzle are released. “Addicted” doesn’t have the progressive edge that “Ki” had, and “Awake!!” is a disappointingly bland ending, but the album showcases the multiple sides of the genius that is Devin Townsend.

Highs: Townsend and Anneke van Giersbergen's vocal work, metal edge to even the poppy material, sharp attention to detail.

Lows: Bland conclusion in "Awake!!," lacks the epicness of "Ki."

Bottom line: Another great effort from Devin Townsend's new project, with an outgoing and upbeat sound that has an aggressive edge stamped on it.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)