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The Devin Townsend Band Synchestra

The Devin Townsend Band - Synchestra
01. Let it Roll
02. Hypergeek
03. Triumph
04. Babysong
05. Vampolka
06. Vampira
07. Mental Tan
08. Gaia
09. Pixillate
10. Judgement
11. A Simple Lullaby
12. Sunset
13. Notes From Africa
2006 InsideOut Music

Reviewed by: Dave Fonseca   //   Published: 1/10/2006

"I'm a ping-pong, I can go until I'm bored with one emotion and then I do the other. I need that time of light when I can put the dark in and vice-versa, so the Devin Townsend Band is the antithesis of Strapping Young Lad. I couldn't have written Snynchestra if I hadn't done Alien. Now that I've written Synchestra, I can write other things." That's Devin Townsend describing the critical yin and yang relationship between Strapping Young Lad and his eponymous solo outlet. However, I think to really understand what makes both bands so good, you have to consider them one bi-polar, co-dependent unit. The same manic alchemy and attention to detail that makes albums like City and Alien both such pummeling and rewarding listens are what accounts for Synchestra's near genius melding of lush atmosphere and logical songwriting.

To hear Townsend describe Snychestra in not so many words as the mellow retort to Alien's frothy mouthed diatribes might be cause for anxiety in some fans, and for good reason. We all know what happens when classically frustrated artists stumble upon serenity. (see Trent Reznor or Rivers Cuomo) But, rest assured, this is no With Teeth or Maladroit, Townsend may have temporarily traded in his vein-popping fury for an almost monkish calm, but his ethic has remained. Like all of Strapping Young Lad's and Townsend's prior output, Synchestra's 14 songs fiendishly layer stack upon stack of relatively simple riffs and melodies, simultaneously giving an outward sheen or simplicity and obscuring just how much is going on. And, just like anything else Townsend has put his name on, the more more you listen to more you begin to understand why the songs are so enjoyable.

The first two songs roll out the gate at a loping and confident pace. The first track is essentially an unaccompanied Irish folk song which washes into the elemental plucking of "Hypergeek." Townsend doesn't force anything early, and doesn't fully let loose until the enormous conclusion of "Hypergeek," which maintains the rosy cheeked melodicism and infuses it with booming atmospherics. The album hits full stride on the string of tracks between "Baby Song" and "Pixillate," which display Townsend's near patented version of melodic pop metal. While things get a a tad silly on "Vampolka," the less than serious moments found here serve as critical bumps in the ebb and flow of this album, which in many ways plays like one very long song. "Gaia" is The Devin Townsed band firing on all cylinders, with Devy delivering melodic vocals over a dense wall of sound decorated with proggy thrash riffing.

Bottom Line: Like Fellow Canadian David Cronenberg, Devin Townsend really is an artist in the most literal sense of the word. He brings a set of ideals to everything he writes that shines regardless of the particular album's volume or intensity. Also like Cronenberg, there's more than an outside chance that you will hate the eccentricities Townsend brings to the table, so proceed with caution. But, regardless of anything, this is a well performed and extremely well produced album. If you're familiar with his work and have considered yourself a fan in the past, picking this up is almost a no-brainer. On that same token, I don't think Townsend will be winning over any new fans with Synchestra. All in All, a fine companion to Alien.

lucy_   posted 2/7/2006 9:52:13 PM
um..don't be so narrow-minded kids this is a great album,good to see a lot of this kinda stuff been taken as serious as it has been..kinda cool if you like isis.but this is not isis not even pelican it's a different beast of originality from the much respected d.t.band great live gigs,yeah syl are great but to hear this kinda noise from that guy is kinda cool-depends on what you want i guess.but personally found this album brilliant check out.!
forumdrama_   posted 1/27/2006 8:09:11 AM
You're f*cking stupid if you think this album sucks. In fact, you should probably do yourself a favor and check out a big lot of Inside Outs catalog. It will do you much good.
Devin_   posted 1/18/2006 1:33:32 AM
Dave, your overused verbiage is unimpressive. Did I forget to mention something? Oh yeah, you suck.
Drisden_   posted 1/17/2006 3:46:09 AM
I actually won this album off the radio. Yes, i actually sat there and punched in the numbers to win a CD like a douche. Well, I didnt know what to expect being a SYL fan and I got to say that I dont really dig it. As far as mucicianship it can easily be called genius which is why I respect it, but it's just not for me. I start to feel like an elf in the middle of Narnia when I'm listening to it. Ughhh, I'll stick with the acid if I want to deal with that again. Hard to describe, so check it out
geoff_   posted 1/16/2006 11:18:51 PM
Hey Devin, is that big dink still in your mouth? Beat it, loser!

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