Ocean Machine: Biomech

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Ocean Machine: Biomech
Studio album by Devin Townsend
Released July 21, 1997
Recorded September 1996 – December 1996
Genre Progressive metal
Length 73:52
Label HevyDevy
Producer Devin Townsend
Devin Townsend chronology
Punky Brüster – Cooked on Phonics
(1996)Punky Brüster – Cooked on Phonics1996
Ocean Machine: Biomech
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
MetalStorm 8.8/10 stars[2]
Sputnikmusic 4.4/5 stars[3]
Sea Of Tranquility 5/5 stars[4]

Ocean Machine: Biomech is the second studio album by Canadian musician Devin Townsend, originally released as Biomech under the name Ocean Machine. The album was released in July 1997 on Townsend's label, HevyDevy Records.


Material for Ocean Machine: Biomech had been around since the time Devin Townsend was touring with Steve Vai in support of Sex & Religion, with some tracks, such as Funeral, Regulator and The Death of Music, stretching back to Townsend's days with Noisescapes. The album was recorded in studio around December 1996, but was delayed for release until mid 1997. Prior to its release, Townsend was unsatisfied with the recordings and re-recorded the album from scratch. The re-recordings were done at Townsend's home studio with instrumentation help from Marty Chapman, JR Harder, Chris Valagao of Zimmers Hole, and John Morgan.


Ocean Machine: Biomech featured a mix of hard rock, ambient, and progressive metal.[5] The album was the follow-up to the critically acclaimed[6] City by Townsend's extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad. Townsend considered Strapping Young Lad a "little project" that he considered a "parody" and not the intended focus of his music, but lamented that Ocean Machine, which he described as "the music that was really close to me," was largely dismissed upon its release.[7]

Many of the tracks on the album have become live staples during Devin's career; however, "Bastard" and "The Death of Music" did not make their debut until April 2015.[8]

The album is specifically referenced in the post-Ocean Machine demo "Ocean Machines" from Ass-Sordid Demos and "Resolve" from Addicted. "Sister" is sampled in the ambience ending "Traveller" on Accelerated Evolution. "Voices in the Fan" is recalled in "Colour Your World" on Ziltoid the Omniscient. A riff in "Regulator" forms the basis of "Om" from the Infinity/Christeen + 4 Demos EP. "Bastard" is referenced in "Rain City" on Sky Blue. "The Death of Music" reuses the chorus of bonus track "Japan" from the first SYL album Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing (also released as a bonus on No Sleep 'till Bedtime).


Ocean Machine: Biomech was released in July 1997. When Townsend was unable to get the album picked up by a record label, he founded his own independent record label, HevyDevy Records, to release his solo material.[7] On its original Japanese release, the album was entitled Biomech and "Ocean Machine" was listed as the artist name; the album was later reissued worldwide with a compound title under Townsend's name. The album was distributed in Canada by HevyDevy, in Europe and America by InsideOut, and in Japan by Sony.

The album sold 12,000 copies in Japan in its first week of release.[9] Although musically straying from Townsend's extreme metal work in Strapping Young Lad, Ocean Machine: Biomech was met with favorable reviews. Metal Hammer praised it as a "concept album akin to the sensuality and escapism of Pink Floyd, [as] Devin lyrically and musically explores real and not particularly uplifting topics such as death, isolation, and depression."[10] Noise Level Critical wrote that "anyone who heard the [Steve] Vai album Sex & Religion will know that Townsend's voice is top-notch, with the ability to go from aggressive bark, to high-pitched wail, to soft emotional whisper in the space of one song."[11]

On 17 March 2017 a complete live playthrough was made at Hammersmith Apollo, followed on September 22, 2017 by a performance in the Ancient Roman Theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, recorded for a DVD & Blu-Ray release.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Devin Townsend.

No. Title Length
1. "Seventh Wave" 6:50
2. "Life" 4:31
3. "Night" 4:45
4. "Hide Nowhere" 5:00
5. "Sister" 2:48
6. "3 A.M." 1:56
7. "Voices in the Fan" 4:39
8. "Greetings" 2:53
9. "Regulator" 5:06
10. "Funeral" 8:06
11. "Bastard"
  • "Not One of My Better Days"
  • "The Girl from Blue City"
12. "The Death of Music" 12:15
13. "Thing Beyond Things" 4:47
Total length: 73:53



  1. ^ "Allmusic review". 
  2. ^ Devin Townsend - Ocean Machine: Biomech
  3. ^ Banick, Kyle (January 18, 2006). "Devin Townsend – Ocean Machine: Biomech Review." Sputnikmusic.
  4. ^ Ocean Machine review
  5. ^ G., Mike (September 2003). "The Devin Townsend Band: No Holds Barred." Metal Maniacs.
  6. ^ See Strapping Young Lad and Devin Townsend for a thorough discussion of the album's acclaim.
  7. ^ a b Jimzilla (Summer 2003). "Strapping Young Lad: Devin Townsend." Throat Culture.
  8. ^ Setlist.fm. ([1])
  9. ^ Far Beyond Metal: Strapping Young Lad 1997 news archive
  10. ^ Metal Hammer (Hevydevy Records: Ocean Machine reviews).
  11. ^ Noise Level Critical. (Hevydevy Records: Ocean Machine reviews)

External links[edit]