Synchestra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Synchestra
Studio album by The Devin Townsend Band
Released January 30, 2006
Recorded 2005 at the Devlab, Armoury Studios, and Hipposonic
Genre Progressive metal, hard rock, alternative rock
Length 65:20
Label HevyDevy
Producer Devin Townsend
The Devin Townsend Band chronology
Accelerated Evolution
(2003)
Synchestra
(2006)
Devin Townsend chronology
Devlab
(2004)
'''Synchestra'''
(2006)
The New Black
(2006)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Blabbermouth.net 9/10 stars[2]
BW&BK 9/10 stars[3]
Chronicles of Chaos 8/10 stars[4]

Synchestra (/sɪŋˈkɛstrə/ sing-KES-trə)[5] is the eighth solo album by Canadian musician Devin Townsend, and the second album he recorded with The Devin Townsend Band. The album was released in January 2006 on Townsend's label, HevyDevy Records.

Background[edit]

After releasing four solo albums under the name Devin Townsend, each with a different recording lineup, Townsend decided in 2002 to assemble a permanent band for his solo material. He formed the Devin Townsend Band, consisting of Brian Waddell on guitar, Mike Young on bass, Ryan Van Poederooyen on drums, and Dave Young on keyboards. The newly formed group released their first album, Accelerated Evolution, in March 2003. The group recorded and toured for the album while Townsend's extreme metal project, Strapping Young Lad, were doing the same for their third release, Strapping Young Lad.[6]

At the end of a whirlwind year, Townsend began working on Strapping Young Lad's fourth album, Alien, in March 2004.[7] Feeling that Strapping Young Lad did not live up to expectations, Townsend decided to take the next album to a new extreme.[8] To prepare for Alien, Townsend stopped taking the medication prescribed to treat his bipolar disorder.[9] "I think that as an artist, in order for me to get to the next plateau, I kind of feel the need to explore things and sometimes that exploration leads you to places that are a little crazy," he explained. "And Alien was no exception with that."[10]

Shortly after the release of Alien in March 2005, Townsend began putting together the next Devin Townsend Band record with the working title Human,[11] intended as the more "pleasant" counterpart to Alien. The album was ultimately entitled Synchestra, and was "basically a record about coming back down to earth after being in space with Alien for a while," according to Townsend.[10]

Synchestra was primarily recorded and mixed by Townsend at his home studio, the Devlab. Van Poederooyen's drums were recorded at Armoury Studios in Vancouver, BC. Mike Young's bass recording, and the album's final mixing, took place at Hipposonic Studios in Vancouver. The album was engineered by Shaun Thingvold, who had also worked for Strapping Young Lad and Fear Factory.[12]

Music[edit]

Townsend showcased a wide variety of musical styles in Synchestra, blending his trademark "pop metal" with influences from folk, polka, and Middle Eastern music,[13] with "a few headbanging elements" mixed in.[1] Bassist Mike Young and guitarist Brian Waddell share vocals on the bonus song "Sunshine and Happiness". Keyboardist Dave Young also plays guitar on "Sunshine and Happiness" and "Sunset". "Triumph" contains a country breakdown based on "On the Pipe" by Steve Morse from the album The Introduction,[14] and also features a solo by Steve Vai, for whom Townsend performed lead vocals on the album Sex & Religion.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Devin Townsend

No. Title Length
1. "Let It Roll"   2:52
2. "Hypergeek"   2:20
3. "Triumph"   7:08
4. "Babysong"   5:30
5. "Vampolka"   1:36
6. "Vampira"   3:27
7. "Mental Tan"   2:15
8. "Gaia"   6:03
9. "Pixillate"   8:17
10. "Judgement"   5:55
11. "A Simple Lullaby"   7:09
12. "Sunset"   2:31
13. "Notes from Africa"   7:42
14. "Sunshine and Happiness" (hidden track) 2:35
Total length:
65:56

Special edition bonus DVD[edit]

Release[edit]

Synchestra was released on January 30, 2006. The album was released on Townsend's label HevyDevy Records in North America, and InsideOut in Europe. A two-disc special edition was released simultaneously with the standard edition. The special edition includes an in-studio live DVD titled "Safe Zone" containing eight tracks played live in the studio and some bonus features put together by the band. The special edition was released in digipak and jewel-case formats. A music video was produced for the song "Vampira".

Reception[edit]

Synchestra debuted at number 33 in Finland,[15] number 85 in Germany,[16] and 128 in France.[15] The album received favorable reviews from critics. Greg Prato of Allmusic praised the album's diversity and originality, remarking that "Townsend seems to be getting more musically daring with each subsequent release, unlike some other veteran rockers who start to play it safe as the years roll on."[1] Scott Alisoglu of Blabbermouth.net compared the album favorably to Accelerated Evolution. He wrote that the album has "melodies that are bit more out front" yet is "still as progressive as they come."[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Country Weeks Peak position
France[15] 1 128
Finland[15] 1 33
Germany[16] 1 85

Personnel[edit]

The Devin Townsend Band[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Heather Robinson – additional vocals
  • Deborah Tyzio – additional vocals (track 9)
  • Steve Vai – guitar solo (track 3)
  • Chris Valagao – additional vocals
  • Daniel Young – tambourine (track 5)
  • Rocky Milino Jr. – dobro (3)
  • Hansen Thingvold – additional vocals

Production[edit]

  • Devin Townsend – production, engineering, recording, editing, mixing
  • Shaun Thingvold – additional engineering
  • Greg Reely – mastering
  • Dave Young – recording assistance
  • Mike Young – recording assistance
  • Jay Van Poederooyen – drum editing
  • Bryan Seely – drum teching
  • Ash Pearson – drum teching
  • Nick Tyzio – vocal recording assistance
  • Tim Steinruck – vocal recording assistance

Release[edit]

  • Tracy Turner – management
  • Jeff Cohen – legal
  • Omer Cordell – photography
  • Geoffrey Rousselot – artwork, design

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Prato, Greg. "Synchestra: Review". Allmusic. 
  2. ^ a b Alisoglu, Scott (December 19, 2005). "The Devin Townsend Band – Synchestra." Blabbermouth.net.
  3. ^ Begai, Carl (June 2006). "Devin Townsend Band – Synchestra." Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles.
  4. ^ Smit, Jackie (January 29, 2006). "Devin Townsend Band – Synchestra." Chronicles of Chaos.
  5. ^ Turner, Tracy (2005-12-22). Response, "How does one pronounce Synchestra?" Hevydevy Forums. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  6. ^ Turner, Tracy. "Devin Townsend Biography". Hevydevy Records. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Strapping Young Lad Re-Sign With Century Media, Begin Work On New Material". Blabbermouth.net. 2004-03-30. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ Smit, Jackie (March 10, 2005). "Fury & passion in extremis." Chronicles of Chaos.
  9. ^ Powell, Brett (2005). "Interview w/ Devin Townsend of Strapping Young Lad". Los Angeles Loud. Retrieved 2008-01-31. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b Kolman, Tajs (January 27, 2006). "Interview with Devin Townsend". RevelationZ Magazine. 
  11. ^ Townsend, Devin (January 7, 2005). "New news!" Hevydevy Forums. Retrieved December 5, 2008.
  12. ^ "Devin Townsend Band Drummer: New Album Is 'Absolutely Incredible'". Blabbermouth.net. August 21, 2005. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  13. ^ Lay, David (2006-02-08). "The Devin Townsend Band - Synchestra". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 2008-12-02. [dead link]
  14. ^ Townsend, Devin (June 5, 2009). Status (Twitter). Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  15. ^ a b c d "The Devin Townsend Band – Synchestra." Ultratop. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  16. ^ a b "Townsend, Devin Band." Musicline.de.

External links[edit]