Physicist (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedJune 26, 2000 (2000-06-26) (International and Japanese edition)
October 30, 2000 (German edition)
RecordedSeptember 1999 - March 2000[1][2]
StudioHipposonic Studios, Vancouver, BC, Canada;
Manland and Red Stripe Studio Burnaby, BC, Canada
  • HevyDevy (International edition)
  • SME Records (Japanese edition)
  • InsideOut (German edition)
ProducerDevin Townsend
Devin Townsend chronology

Physicist is the fourth solo album by Canadian musician Devin Townsend. The album was released on June 26, 2000, on Townsend's label, HevyDevy Records.

Physicist is distinguished from the rest of Townsend's solo portfolio for the crossing of the style of his work in Strapping Young Lad with elements that had been explored in Ocean Machine: Biomech and Infinity. Notably, the line-up of musicians featured on this album is identical to that of Strapping Young Lad.


Physicist took several years to come to fruition. Townsend had previously played with Metallica's then-bassist Jason Newsted, in a short-lived thrash metal project called IR8. After the creation of an IR8 demo tape, Townsend and Newsted began work on a new project called Fizzicist, which they claimed would be "heavier than Strapping Young Lad". When the IR8 tape was leaked, Newsted's Metallica bandmates James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich learned of the project. Hetfield was "fucking pissed" that Newsted was playing outside the band, and Newsted was prevented by his bandmates from working on any more side projects.[3][4]

Unable to continue working with Newsted, Townsend instead wrote the album himself, calling it Physicist. Townsend assembled his bandmates from his extreme metal project Strapping Young Lad. This was the only time this lineup was featured on one of Townsend's solo albums.[3]

Musical style[edit]

The album combines Townsend's style with a thrash metal influence.[5] David Ballard of Revolver described the album's sound as "a blend of summery melody and breathtaking brutality ... vaulting between Queen-like elegance and Dark Angel–like devastation."[6]


Physicist was released in June 2000 on Townsend's independent label, HevyDevy Records. It is distributed in Canada by HevyDevy, in Japan by Sony, and in Europe and North America by InsideOut. The album was released on Enhanced CD format, with a commentary on the album by Townsend.

The song "Kingdom" was re-recorded for The Devin Townsend Project's Epicloud, with vocals from Anneke van Giersbergen. Similarly, a re-recording of the song "Victim" is present on the bonus disc of Transcendence.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Rock Hard (de)9.5/10[11]

Physicist received positive reviews, but is generally considered a low point in Townsend's career. Townsend himself considers it his worst album to date.[12] Trey Spencer of Sputnikmusic argued that while Physicist is "a pretty good listen" on its own merit, it is "one of the weakest" albums in Townsend's catalogue. He felt the album "comes off as a restrained version of Strapping Young Lad with hints of [Townsend's] other projects thrown in", and that most of the tracks don't "seem to go anywhere".[10] In 2005 the album placed number 439 in Rock Hard magazine's book The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[13]

Much of the criticism of Physicist stems from its poor production. Spencer found the production "a little too reigned [sic.] in" and "muddy".[10] This was felt by the band as well; drummer Gene Hoglan and the rest were dissatisfied with the way the sound was mixed.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Devin Townsend except where noted.

1."Namaste" 3:34
2."Victim" 3:15
3."Material" 2:47
4."Kingdom" 5:55
5."Death"Townsend, Gene Hoglan2:27
6."Devoid" 1:28
7."The Complex"Townsend, Hoglan3:31
8."Irish Maiden" 2:45
9."Jupiter" 3:36
10."Planet Rain" 11:08
11."Forgotten" (Hidden track) 5:59
Total length:46:34
Japanese edition bonus tracks
12."Man" (demo)5:12
13."Ocean Machines" (demo)8:24
14."Promise" (demo)5:26
Total length:65:36


Strapping Young Lad[edit]

Background vocals[edit]


  • Mike Plotnikoff – mixing
  • Chris Waddell – mastering
  • Shaun Thingvold – engineering, digital editing
  • Paul Silviera – engineering
  • Matteo Caratozzolo – engineering
  • Sawami Saito – assistance
  • Roger Swan – assistance
  • Tracy Turner – assistance, management
  • Byron Stroud – assistance
  • Seventh Wave Studios – CD enhancement


  • Clint Nielsen – layout, artwork, logos
  • Gary Hunter – 3-D logo rendering
  • Gloria Fraser – photography
  • Tania Rudy – photography

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
Oricon (Japan)[15] 80


  1. ^ "HevyDevy News for 1999". Archived from the original on 26 January 2000. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  2. ^ "HevyDevy News for 2000". Archived from the original on 14 June 2000. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b Turner, Tracy. "Devin Townsend Biography". HevyDevy Records. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2008.
  4. ^ Fricke, David (June 27, 1996). "Pretty Hate Machine". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  5. ^ G., Mike (September 2003). "The Devin Townsend Band: No Holds Barred." Metal Maniacs.
  6. ^ Ballard, David (March/April 2003). "A lad insane." Revolver.
  7. ^ Krgin, Borivoj (December 2001). "Devin Townsend – Physicist Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine."
  8. ^ Truong, Kev (July 2000). "Review: Devin Townsend – Physicist Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine." Blistering.
  9. ^ Wicker, Dan (July 2000). "Review: Devin Townsend – Physicist Archived 2011-09-10 at the Wayback Machine." Blistering.
  10. ^ a b c Spencer, Trey (July 27, 2007). "Devin Townsend – Physicist Review." Sputnikmusic.
  11. ^ Rensen, Michael. "Rock Hard". issue 162. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  12. ^ Povarchik, Roy; Vayner, Ofer (July 20, 2006). "Interviews: Devin Townsend from Strapping Young Lad and The Devin Townsend Band". Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  13. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 33. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Hawkins, Chris (February 2003). "Interview with Gene Hoglan of Strapping Young Lad". Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  15. ^ (in Japanese) "フィジシスト/デヴィン・タウンゼンド." Oricon. Retrieved June 1, 2009.

External links[edit]