The Devin Townsend Project is the experimental metal group formed by the successful Vancouver solo artist Devin Townsend.  Townsend, who was the founder, lead vocalist, songwriter and lead guitarist in the extreme metal band, “Strapping Young Lad,” from 1994 until 2007, formed The Devin Townsend Project when he entered a state of self-discovery when he learned how to create songs without the use of drugs.

Over two years, Townsend wrote over 60 songs and found that they fit into “four distinct styles.”  In March 2009, Townsend announced his plans for a four-album series called “The Devin Townsend Project” with the goal of clarifying his identity and being “accountable” for the persona he projects to the public.  The project’s concept includes a different “theme” and a different group of musicians on each album.

“Ki,” the first album, was written to “set the stage” for the subsequent albums.  Townsend says that he channeled his new-found control and sobriety into “Ki,” a “tense, quiet” album that contrasts with much of the music he had been known for.  “Ki” was released in May 2009.

On November 17, 2009, the second album, “Addicted,” was released.  According to Townsend, “Addicted,” is an album of “melodic” and “danceable” music but is much heavier than the previous album, “Ki.”  Townsend has said that “some parts of it sound like “Meshuggah,” some parts of it sound like “Boney M.”  Unlike Townsend’s other albums that are usually played with an open C tuning, “Addicted,” was played in open B tuning.

On June 20, 2011, “Deconstruct,” the band’s third album was released.  According to an interview with Townsend, the album is a concept album focused around a man who is obsessed with finding the true nature of reality.  In the process of this journey, he goes to Hell and meets the devil.  The devil shows him the secrets of the universe, presenting a cheeseburger to him.  However, being a vegetarian, the man cannot eat the cheeseburger, rendering his attempts at working out the true nature of reality pointless.  The album is chaotic in nature and has elements that are predominantly humorous, which is a radical departure from Townsend’s previous albums.  Townsend also stated that the album is a musical representation of facing your fears and overcoming them.  He explained that he wanted the album to have a positive message, despite its highly chaotic nature.

Also on June 20, 2011, “Ghost,” the fourth album in the series was released simultaneously with “Deconstruct.”  Townsend stated that the album “is the mellowest (by far) and the prettiest record I’ve done so far.”  Townsend implemented new age sounds and styles into “Ghost” in order for the album to be a chance for the listener to breathe, following the very chaotic, “Deconstruct” album.

Despite the project being a four-album series, Townsend decided to keep on working under the moniker and released a fifth album, “Epicloud,” on September 18, 2012.  In an interview with Soundwave TV, Townsend stated how “Epicloud” was conceived, “In this sort of process of writing that I’ve discovered that I guess I’m capable of now, with a sober frame of mind, part of that is just not second-guessing it, so if I write something like that, I just do it, and just finish it.”

He continued, “Over the past couple of years, I thought, ‘OK, I’ve gotta write this next ‘Ziltoid’ thing; I’m inspired to make this epic space opera and, like, really overdo it, and [make it] really dark. And so I sat down to write, but every time I went to write, I’d write some poppy hard rock thing. And I was like, ‘OK, we’ll get that one out of the way and then I’ll write ‘Ziltoid’.’ And I got it out of the way and I’d go write ‘Ziltoid’. And I’d write another one. So I’m thinking, ‘OK, it’s pretty obvious to me that I’ve got this that wants to come out before that.'”

Regarding the musical direction of Epicloud, Devin told Noisecreep, “Over the course of the full record, there’s sort of new agey stuff, jazzy stuff, really heavy stuff. We basically cover the gamut. Epicloud is the first record that I felt confident enough to include all those things on one record so it goes between melodic hard rock to schizophrenic heavy metal to country to really ambient stuff and it’s all in one place. I’m using a gospel choir, a string section and a horn section for this one as well.”

Townsend plans to release one last album in the Devin Townsend Project series titled, “Casualties of Cool,” which he has been working on since the release of “Epicloud.”  This album will be the sixth and last album in the Devin Townsend Project series and is slated to be released in May 2014.

The Devin Townsend Project and Devin Townsend himself are one of the most creative and epic concept groups and concept albums I have ever heard.  Each album is completely different from the next and shows just how talented and skilled Devin Townsend is as a songwriter, musician, vocalist and guitarist.  Keep an eye out for “Casualties of Cool” being released in May 2014 and check out some of the biggest hits from The Devin Townsend Project below.

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