The Devin Townsend Band
InsideOut / SPV
The most striking aspect of Devin Townsend’s latest album is its sheer heaviness. Sure, he retains his melodic approach, always emphasizing song over riff, but it’s the grinding, thumping heaviness that really defines Accelerated Evolution. And it’s not always equally successful.
Townsend — like former employer Steve Vai • has always stood for more than sheer heavy grandiosity, but this time around he seems a bit lost in his own concept. He’s trying too hard to say something profound, to make his music matter, in a way that suggests profundity can only be conceived as a stately, fist-pounding march.
On some of the tracks here, his theory does hold water. The fine opener “Depth Charge” is wonderful, a massive and effective industrial hard rocker. The same can be said of “Deadhead.” However, on several tracks, and especially the album’s latter half, Townsend moves off into some dubiously drawn-out songs that may retain the album’s general heavy sound, but go nowhere with it — except for up its own ass. An uneven album, but one that, in spite of everything, succeeds in showcasing Townsend’s diverse scope and unbelievable vocal and musical abilities.