Author Topic: The Devin Townsend Discography Thread v2: The End  (Read 24744 times)

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Offline Metro

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The Devin Townsend Discography Thread v2: The End
« on: March 13, 2023, 10:46:37 PM »


Welcome to the Devin Townsend Discography Discussion Thread v2!


This is the second Discography Discussion Thread for Devin. The original was done by Ultimetalhead back in 2014-2016 and covered Devin’s main discography up to his 2014 double album, Z2.

Ultimetalhead did a great job(sidenote, what happened to him?), but I wanted to do my own take on this idea and cover EVERYTHING across all of his projects throughout the years. Not just the major releases. We’re going back to the earliest recordings and covering every album, every EP, every demo, every live album, some stuff that has never been released, etc. Everything up to his most recent studio album, Lightwork.


I encourage everyone to listen along. Most of his major releases can probably be found on the music streaming app of your choice. Anything else can likely be found on YouTube. Dev is an artist with a very diverse and sometimes very divisive catalog. Not all of his music is for everyone. Even as a huge fan there’s plenty of releases I don’t care for. Nevertheless, I’m gonna give every release it’s time in the sun. That doesn’t mean each individual release will get it’s own post, some things will be lumped together.
The main focus is the music of course, but I’m gonna present a bit of the history surrounding each release. In a way this will also be a biography of Devin. I’m skipping the whole “Dev was born in blah in 19blah and started playing blah in 19blah” and getting right into his early work.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1
• Ancient
• Ass-Sordid Demos I: 1990-1996
• Ass-Sordid Demos II: 1991-1992

Chapter 2 
• Vai - Sex and Religion
• IR8

Chapter 3
• Strapping Young Lad - Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing
• Punky Brόster - Cooked on Phonics
• Tree of the Sun / Blastula & The Satanitones

Chapter 4
• Strapping Young Lad - City
• Strapping Young Lad - No Sleep 'Till Bedtime: Live in Australia

Chapter 5
• Ocean Machine: Biomech

Chapter 6
• Guest Appearances and Other Stuff (1995-1997)

Chapter 7
• Infinity
• Christeen + Four Demos EP
• Official Bootleg 2000

Chapter 8
• Physicist

Chapter 9
• Terria

Chapter 10 
• Guest Appearances and Other Stuff 2 (1998-2003)

Chapter 11
• Strapping Young Lad - Strapping Young Lad
• Strapping Young Lad - Tour EP
• Strapping Young Lad - For Those Aboot to Rock: Live at the Commodore

Chapter 12
• The Devin Townsend Band - Accelerated Evolution
• Project EKO

Chapter 13 
• Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel Soundtrack
• Devlab

Chapter 14
• Strapping Young Lad - Alien

Chapter 15
• The Devin Townsend Band - Synchestra
• The Devin Townsend Band - Safe Zone

Chapter 16
• Strapping Young Lad - The New Black
• Strapping Young Lad - C:enter:### EP
• Strapping Young Lad - Chaos Years

Chapter 17
• The Hummer
• Guest Appearances and Other Stuff 3 (2004-2008)

Chapter 18
• Ziltoid the Omniscient

Chapter 19
• The Devin Townsend Project - Ki

Chapter 20
• The Devin Townsend Project - Addicted
• The Devin Townsend Project - Live in the USA 2010

Chapter 21
• The Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction

Chapter 22
• The Devin Townsend Project - Ghost
• The Devin Townsend Project - Ghost 2
• Unplugged

Chapter 23
• The Devin Townsend Project - By a Thread: Live in London 2011

Chapter 24
• The Devin Townsend Project - Contain Us

Chapter 25
• Guest Appearances and Other Stuff 4 (2009-2012)

Chapter 26
• The Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
• The Devin Townsend Project - Epiclouder
• The Devin Townsend Project - The Retinal Circus

Chapter 27
• Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cool
• Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cooler
• Casualties of Cool - Live at Union Chapel

Chapter 28
• The Devin Townsend Project - Z²: Sky Blue
• The Devin Townsend Project - Z²: Dark Matters
• The Devin Townsend Project - Live at Loud Park 2013
• The Devin Townsend Project - Ziltoid: Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Chapter 29
• Only Half There
• Iceland

Chapter 30
• The Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
• The Devin Townsend Project - Holding Patterns
• The Devin Townsend Project - Ocean Machine: Live at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv

Chapter 31
• Empath
• Tests of Manhood
• Acoustically Inclined: Live in Leeds
• Order of Magnitude: Empath Live, Vol.1
• Empath: Live in America

Chapter 32
• Quarantine Project
• Devin Townsend Podcast
• Quarantine Concert Series
• Devolution Series
• Guitar Improvisations
• BBC Colours Soundtrack

Chapter 33
• Guest Appearances and Other Stuff 5 (2013-2021)

Chapter 34
• The Puzzle
• Snuggles
• DreamPeace

Chapter 35
• Lightwork
• Nightwork

Chapter 36
• Etc.
• The End.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2024, 07:10:55 PM by Metro »

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Looking forward to this! :metal
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Subscribed. Love the albums I’ve paid attention to, many more I know little know about.

Offline Kwyjibo

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Must've been Kwyji sending all the wrong songs.   ;D

Offline Zantera

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Will participate!

Online twosuitsluke

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Hell yes! I will be following and listening along.

I don't know what happened to Ultimetalhead as he was a bit before my time on DTF I think. However his initial discography thread was instrumental in getting me into Devin and was one of the first instances where I realised that DTF was a place I'd need to keep coming back to.

If I remember rightly his favourite albums were Deconstruction and Addicted! Those write ups in particular were really in depth (no pressure dude) and helped me appreciate what Devy was doing.

Offline ronnibran

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Following this. Definitely a fan but I know there’s a lot of his work I’ve never heard yet.

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Following! Devin is my favorite musician, easily. I don't love everything he's made but I always admire his commitment to following his own path, and his personality always shines through the music regardless of what style he's currently tackling. He's also released some of my favorite albums ever, as I'll call out when we get to them! :corn
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Offline Revenge319

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I love Ocean Machine and Ziltoid the Omniscient, and there's a few other songs that I know from Devin Townsend, but overall I've only heard a little bit of his discography.
I'll be following this (I might not comment much, but I'll definitely be reading it all), and hopefully my newfound obsession with Metallica doesn't keep me from listening along!

Offline LithoJazzoSphere

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As I mentioned in the tracker thread, I probably won't be able to do that much listening, but I'll definitely read everything and comment here and there.  I used to be kind of obsessed with his work in the mid-late 00s, then burned out for quite awhile (right before Anneke joined one of his projects, doh!, so I didn't even know it was a thing for a number of years).  My interest has perked back up again in the last few years though, and while I'm not as crazy about his newer material, I suspect some of it will grow on me.  I want to dig into the Casualties of Cool project soon since someone sent Chι Aimee Dorval in my roulette.  The amount of stylistic range Devin has is pretty insane, not many can do everything from ambient to whatever you want to call SYL and everything inbetween so convincingly, and still have it all sound like them. 

Offline Metro

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Re: The Devin Townsend Discography Discussion Thread v2: Now With More Dev!
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2023, 10:17:30 PM »
Take your seats everyone, class is about to begin...

Early Bands and Demos (1978-1992)

The earliest recordings of Dev’s music come from three sources:

• Ancient - A compilation released in 2016 as a cassette and included with the special edition of his autobiography, Only Half There. It contains demos from his teenage years in the late 80’s, recordings from his first band Grey Skies in ‘88, some live Strapping Young Lad tracks from ‘95, and some other miscellaneous demos.





Tracklisting:
1. Demo: Age 14 with Brian Waddell and Ted Kamizato
2. Demo: Age 14
3. Demo Excerpt: Age 15 (Brian, Devin, Ted)
4. Black and White
5. Black Mountain Summit
6. Fever Dream
7. Voices in the Fan (’94 Demo)
8. Come to the Edge
9. S.Y.L. (Live)
10. Home Nucleonics (Live)
11. Bodies 13 (Live)
12. Family Christmas



• Ass-Sordid Demos I: 1990-1996 - Another compilation released independently in 2000 containing mostly solo demos by Dev.





Tracklisting:
1. Man
2. Ocean Machines
3. Promise
4. LA
5. Morwar
6. Amsterdam
7. Red Tomorrow
8. My Girl
9. Roadkill
10. That’s Life



• Ass-Sordid Demos II: 1991-1992 - Another compilation released independently in 2004 containing primarily material from two of Dev’s earliest projects: Grey Skies and Noisescapes.





Tracklisting:
1. Black and White
2. Bury the Wrong
3. San Pablo Train
4. Roadkill
5. Rain
6. Ascent to the Summit of Black Mountain
7. SunMud/Woman
8. I Am
9. Ernie’s Room
10. Friends
11. Thick Stock
12. Cold
13. Soft
14. Amsterdam



My goal is to present Dev’s music in chronological order. Unfortunately the tracks from these releases aren’t really organized in chronological order. Thus, there’s gonna be some jumping around from album to album in this part of his discography, so bear with me.

We’ll touch on everything released on these compilations eventually, but let’s start with the first three songs on Ancient, recorded in 1986/1987:

Demo: Age 14 with Brian Waddell and Ted
Demo: Age 14
Demo Excerpt: Age 15 (Brian, Devin, Ted)


These are demos featuring Dev on lead guitar, and childhood friends Brian “Beav” Waddell and Ted Kamizato on rhythm guitar and bass, respectively. The trio jams along to basic chord progressions with a drum machine while Dev solos overtop. The first Demo begins with a clip of Dev at age 6 on Christmas morning attempting to play a Violin.

There’s not much to say about these demos. Dev, like all guitarists during our teenage years, just wanted to shred shred and shred some more.

There’s another song on Ancient called “Family Christmas”(Track 12), which is credited to Strapping Young Lad, though that is definitely not correct. It’s a recording of Dev’s family singing the Hank Williams Sr. song “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle”. No clue what year, but I would assume sometime in the 70’s.



———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Grey Skies



Dev’s first real band was Grey Skies. Grey Skies was formed in 1988 after Dev submitted a demo tape of his own music as an audition for a Battle of the Bands competition. He was surprisingly accepted into the competition and scrambled to put together a band with some friends from high school to perform the material. Grey Skies did not win the Battle of the Bands, but continued to play live at parties and local venues. The band recorded a few songs at a basement studio in New Westminster called 12th Street Studios, funded by a friend of the band.

Grey Skies had a revolving lineup for live shows, featuring other classmates like Ted Kamizato, but the recorded material has this lineup:

Devin Townsend - Guitar/Vocals
Ken Flemming - Bass
Greg Price - Drums



Grey Skies’ music is featured on Ancient, and both Ass-Sordid Demos I & II.

Tracks 4-6 on Ancient:

Black and White
Black Mountain Summit
Fever Dream


Ass-Sordid Demos I contains the Grey Skies song Roadkill(Track 10). The same song is featured on Ass-Sordid Demos II, along with 6 other Grey Skies songs, including the aforementioned Black and White, and Black Mountain Summit (With a slightly different name).

Tracks 1-6, and 12 on Ass-Sordid Demos II, labeled as “Preproduction Demos 1991”:

Black and White
Bury the Wrong
San Pablo Train
Roadkill
Rain
Ascent to the Summit of Black Mountain
Cold


Grey Skies was very much inspired by alternative metal bands of the time, like Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, and Jane’s Addiction, with some juvenile humor added in here and there. Most notably on tracks like Roadkill and San Pablo Train. Dev claims Ascent to the Summit of Black Mountain is one of his favorite songs that he’s ever done. The songs are fun, despite their immaturity, and they show that Dev was very accomplished guitar player from a young age. My favorite of these songs has to be Cold, which features an awesome solo by Dev.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Caustic Thought



Around this time, Dev became friends with fellow Canadian band Caustic Thought, featuring future SYL members Byron Stroud and Jed Simon on bass and guitar respectively. Dev replaced Jed in Caustic Thought for a few minor tours, though he never appeared on any recorded material from the band. Caustic Thought and Grey Skies would both fizzle out by the early 90’s.

Dev appears in a couple of Caustic Thought videos
Planet Claire (B-52's cover): https://youtu.be/IIHjdxPbLmk
Tender Prey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgFKl6AJZCs


The longest hair I have ever seen on this man.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Noisescapes



After the dissolution of Grey Skies and leaving Caustic Thought, Dev began to work on a demo tape entitled “Noisescapes”. These demos include Greg Price on drums (Formerly of Grey Skies). From this point on, Dev started using Open C tuning (CGCGCE) on his guitar almost exclusively, rather than standard tuning (EADGBE). He was inspired to use Open C tuning after learning the Led Zeppelin song, “Friends”, which he covers on the Noisescapes demo.



Tracks 7-10 on Ass-Sordid Demos II, labeled as “Womp Womp Womp - 1992”

SunMud/Woman
I Am
Ernie’s Room
Friends


Noisescapes is noticeably darker sounding than Grey Skies, and the songs lack the juvenile humor of Grey Skies.  The same influences were still there, but the songwriting and had matured and the guitar playing had improved.
The intro to SunMud/Woman is an early version of Velvet Kevorkian, the opening track to the 1997 SYL album, “City”. But we’ll talk about that album later.
If you’re a Led Zeppelin fan, you’re gonna hate his cover of Friends. Just warning you now. It features a bunch of tongue-in-cheek voicemails from his friends, coworkers, and even his father.

Other Noisescapes songs can be found on both Ass-Sordid Demos

Man (Track 1 on Ass-Sordid Demos I)
Amsterdam (Track 6 on Ass-Sordid Demos I, and Track 14 on Ass-Sordid Demos II)


Man is a reworked version of the Woman section of SunMud/Woman.
There are two versions of Amsterdam, one on either edition of Ass-Sordid Demos.
The version from ASD I features Greg Price on drums. No year is given for the recording of this version, but it was likely recorded in 91/92 with the other Noisescapes demos. The other version from ASD II is an acoustic version of the song recorded in 1996. This version features some orchestration and is intercut with excerpts from an interview with Dev circa 1992.



Other songs that were written for Noisescapes but NOT included on the Ass-Sordid Demos were:

Goat
Skin Me
Filler
Funeral
The Death of Music
Thing Beyond Things


These songs would find their way onto other albums.

Copies of the Noisescapes demos were packaged in old pairs of Dev’s underwear, and sent out to labels such as Roadrunner and Metal Blade. The demo was rejected by almost everyone he sent it to. Everyone except Relativity Records. Cliff Cultreri from Relativity Records met with Dev and offered him a 7-album deal. Devin accepted the deal and began working on a Noisescapes album, which he planned on calling Promise. Not long after, Cliff introduced Dev to Steve Vai, who was putting together a new band and needed a vocalist…
« Last Edit: February 10, 2024, 08:44:19 AM by Metro »

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Oh man, I forgot I have the Ancient compilation, as I bought the signature limited edition of his autobiography. I need to dig that out and give it a listen.

It's also sort of weird to see Devy with so much hair.  :lol
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Offline Zantera

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I'm not really familiar with these and my general stance on demos is that I don't particularly care for them. But I might dip around a bit if these are on youtube and maybe sample a bit. I've also been listening to the Devin podcast (about halfway through) and it's interesting to hear how rough of a ride he had to get into the music scene. Lots of false starts and stops before he got going.

Offline Kwyjibo

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He send demos packaged in old underwear and wonders why he is rejected?  :D

Haven't heard any of these but like Zantera I'm not that interested in demos. Some are fun to listen to, to see how the music/musician evolves, but few have staying power for me.
Must've been Kwyji sending all the wrong songs.   ;D

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Ho boy! Off to a great start. I'm pretty sure I listened to Ass Sordid Demos at some point but I've never heard Ancient.

I'll fire these up today and share my thoughts.

Edit: Here we go...

I bought Devin's book when it came out, but I only got the regular version, which came with the Iceland CD, but not Ancient on cassette. Just out of interest, will you be covering Iceland later, as I love it!

I'll start with Ancient and listen to both Ass Sordid Demo releases later.

Those early demos are really cool. His talent shines through right from the off, and it's hard to believe he's only 14! I love that little intro from baby Dev. It reminds me of Green Day's International Superhits! where a 5 year old Billie Joe gives us an intro. Also, I love that he's been playing with Beav on and off for all these years.

I was surprised that even these early songs showcase Devin's ability to create atmosphere and soundscapes. Some parts here sound so distinctly him! As you'd said Metropolaris, there's a lot of young Dev shredding here, which is great.

The second demo sounded quite mature, specifically in the intro, and parts of it reminded me of Metallica's Orion.

The third one had Devin's humour all over it, and Black and White sounded familiar but I couldn't place it.

Black Mountain Summit had a cool funk riff that reminded me of White Zombie or something. Also the best example of great Devy vocals so far.

Fever Dream suffers due to the audio quality being even worse than the rest, but that's fine.

Side two was more recent and less intriguing to me. The demos of early songs were fine, and so were live performances of SYL. I wouldn't relisten often, but interesting enough.

For those who are following this thread and not well versed in Devin's catalogue, this wouldn't necessarily be the best place to start, but coming back once you do know more would be recommended.

I'll post about Ass Sordid Demos later. I guess I'll need to listen on YouTube as the Spotify is not the same as either of the ones you posted? Is it a compilation of both or what?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2023, 04:16:58 AM by twosuitsluke »

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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while. Even recent attempts to revisit some of his material didn't win me over like in the past (the new album not being very good didn't help), so I think I am just in a different headspace at the moment.  Will read and chime in when necessary, and hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

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I'll post about Ass Sordid Demos later. I guess I'll need to listen on YouTube as the Spotify is not the same as either of the ones you posted? Is it a compilation of both or what?

YouTube is definitely your best source for the demos. I looked at the Spotify version, and yeah for some reason that version is a combination of stuff from both discs? Very weird, but I’m surprised any of that is on streaming.

And yes, Iceland will be covered eventually!

I know there’s not a whole lot of discussion to be had about this early stuff, so the next update will come Thursday, covering the Steve Vai era. Gonna speed through his stuff pre-Ocean Machine. Once we get into his main discography, updates will be a bit more spaced out.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2023, 06:51:31 AM by Metropolaris »

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There was a time when I was into Devy, and I still have a lot of respect for him as an artist, so I will follow along from afar.

I don't care about any of these demos, though.  I will wait to start listening along until we get to more of his more "mature" output.
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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while. Even recent attempts to revisit some of his material didn't win me over like in the past (the new album not being very good didn't help), so I think I am just in a different headspace at the moment.  Will read and chime in when necessary, and hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

This is absolutely crazytalk. Lightwork is great and a wonderful album.

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Following!

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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while.

(the new album not being very good didn't help)

hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

Kev, these all ring pretty true to me. I went through a BIG Devin phase from like 2015 - 2019ish, but then my love waned a bit. I personally loved Empath but The Puzzle/Snuggles/Lightwork don't come close to that, or any of the albums I love.

I have a feeling it's a 'me' thing, and I've just been exploring new stuff, and not in the right headspace for Devin. I do have a feeling this thread will help get me back there. I didn't think the last three albums were bad, just subpar by his high standards.

I'll post some comments on the Ass Sordid Demos later on, as there were some highlights, and mainly it was nice to listen to some new (to my ears) Devy. I love his humour, and although the demos aren't all high quality, Devin is good at making a demo sound like a legit recording.

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Ass Sordid Demos, let's go. As I mentioned earlier, Devin has been great at releasing demos that feel like full studio releases. Looking at the bonus demo discs from Epicloud, Transcendence and Lightwork in particular, there are often demo songs I prefer over the main studio released songs.

This is obviously a slightly different kettle of fish, as these demos are from a lot earlier in his career. They are still pretty good though, and an interesting insight into the man himself.

Starting with Ass Sordid I, the highlights for me were Ocean Machines, L.A., My Girl and Roadkill. The rest of the songs had some interesting enough parts, and it was cool to hear the early version of War.

There are some really good riffs in amongst all this, like around the 1:50 mark of Ocean Machines. Devin's vocals also sound great on this song.

L.A. has more great vocals, from screams to coos.

I think I need to listen to My Girl again, it has some really beautiful parts.

Lastly is Roadkill. Ever wanted to hear 90s Metallica re-record No Remorse but about dead animals? No need, Devy already did it :lol

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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while.

(the new album not being very good didn't help)

hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

Kev, these all ring pretty true to me. I went through a BIG Devin phase from like 2015 - 2019ish, but then my love waned a bit. I personally loved Empath but The Puzzle/Snuggles/Lightwork don't come close to that, or any of the albums I love.

I have a feeling it's a 'me' thing, and I've just been exploring new stuff, and not in the right headspace for Devin. I do have a feeling this thread will help get me back there. I didn't think the last three albums were bad, just subpar by his high standards.

I'll post some comments on the Ass Sordid Demos later on, as there were some highlights, and mainly it was nice to listen to some new (to my ears) Devy. I love his humour, and although the demos aren't all high quality, Devin is good at making a demo sound like a legit recording.

For what it's worth, I'm now a big Devin fan, but you DO sort of have to be in the headspace for it.  I can't really just pull a DT album off the shelf and cram on it.

Online twosuitsluke

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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while.

(the new album not being very good didn't help)

hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

Kev, these all ring pretty true to me. I went through a BIG Devin phase from like 2015 - 2019ish, but then my love waned a bit. I personally loved Empath but The Puzzle/Snuggles/Lightwork don't come close to that, or any of the albums I love.

I have a feeling it's a 'me' thing, and I've just been exploring new stuff, and not in the right headspace for Devin. I do have a feeling this thread will help get me back there. I didn't think the last three albums were bad, just subpar by his high standards.

I'll post some comments on the Ass Sordid Demos later on, as there were some highlights, and mainly it was nice to listen to some new (to my ears) Devy. I love his humour, and although the demos aren't all high quality, Devin is good at making a demo sound like a legit recording.

For what it's worth, I'm now a big Devin fan, but you DO sort of have to be in the headspace for it.  I can't really just pull a DT album off the shelf and cram on it.

I do agree. The great thing about him is that A) there is a Devin album for every mood, so whatever headspace you happen to be in, something will groove. B) Devin puts his heart and soul into what he puts out, and regardless of how much I personally like it, I always respect it.

Offline The Realm

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Big Devin fan here but also echo some of the thoughts above about being in the right headspace etc to fully appreciate some of his music, especially the latest few albums. Lightwork hasn't really clicked for me but I enjoyed Empath.

I'll be following. Not familiar at all with the demo stuff so this is all really interesting.

Offline KevShmev

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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while.

(the new album not being very good didn't help)

hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

Kev, these all ring pretty true to me. I went through a BIG Devin phase from like 2015 - 2019ish, but then my love waned a bit. I personally loved Empath but The Puzzle/Snuggles/Lightwork don't come close to that, or any of the albums I love.

I have a feeling it's a 'me' thing, and I've just been exploring new stuff, and not in the right headspace for Devin. I do have a feeling this thread will help get me back there. I didn't think the last three albums were bad, just subpar by his high standards.

I'll post some comments on the Ass Sordid Demos later on, as there were some highlights, and mainly it was nice to listen to some new (to my ears) Devy. I love his humour, and although the demos aren't all high quality, Devin is good at making a demo sound like a legit recording.

I think that can be said for everything he has released in the last 8-9 years.  Casualties of Cool was the last Devin album that demanded listens over and over and over in my CD player*, and I always say, if I love something, it will find its way into my CD player*.  Sky Blue and Transcendence were both very good, but not top tier Devin for me.  Empath had some great moments, but felt a bit too tedious overall; getting through that entire album always feels like work.

*or the modern day equivalent

Offline Metro

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Re: The Devin Townsend Discography Discussion Thread v2: Sex and Religion
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2023, 10:02:36 PM »
Vai - Sex and Religion
Released July 27, 1993



Tracklisting:

1. An Earth Dweller’s Return
2. Here & Now
3. In My Dreams With You
4. Still My Bleeding Heart
5. Sex & Religion
6. Dirty Black Hole
7. Touching Tongues
8. State of Grace
9. Survive
10. Pig
11. The Road to Mt. Calvary
12. Down Deep Into the Pain
13. Rescue Me or Bury Me
14. Just Cartilage (Japanese Bonus Track)


Personnel:
Steve Vai - Guitar, Vocals
Devin Townsend - Lead Vocals
T.M. Stevens - Bass
Terry Bozzio - Drums



In 1992 Steve Vai was putting together a new band, simply called “Vai”, to record a follow-up to his 1990 album, “Passion and Warfare”. He had chosen drummer Terry Bozzio and bassist T.M. Stevens for the lineup, but needed a vocalist. Cliff Cultreri of Relativity Records had shown Dev’s Noisescapes demo to Steve, and Steve really liked it. Cliff asked Dev if he’d be interested in singing on Vai’s next album. Dev, being a fan of Steve Vai, accepted the offer and the label flew him down to L.A.

The recording of this album was a weird experience for Dev, and he wasn’t sure what to do with the material. He was by no means a professional singer. He went from being a kid in Vancouver singing along to Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction albums while washing dishes at a restaurant, to singing in a professional studio in L.A. for a band comprised of world-class musicians. All at the age of 20. Vai’s attempts to inspire him by telling him about past vocalists he had worked with(David Lee Roth and David Coverdale) only made Dev even more nervous. In spite of this, I think Dev delivers a good (not great) performance.

Musically, the album is more song-oriented than Steve Vai’s previous album, “Passion and Warfare”, but there’s still plenty of guitar wankery. To me this album sounds like slightly Proggy Hair Metal. With the music landscape changing at the time and stuff like Grunge on the rise, it’s no surprise this album didn’t find much of an audience. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this one. Never been a Steve Vai fan outside of a couple of songs, and the inclusion of Dev on this record doesn’t change that.

The album was released on July 23, 1993, and reached #48 on the US Billboard 200. The record went Gold in Japan.
In My Dreams With You and Down Deep Into the Pain were released as singles, the former featuring lyrics co-written by Vai, Desmond Child, and Roger Greenawalt.
In My Dreams With You is a very cheesy and creepy love song. It reached #36 on the Billboard Charts.
Down Deep Into the Pain features actual samples of Steve Vai’s wife, Pia, screaming while giving birth. This single did not chart.

Music videos were filmed for both singles.
In My Dreams With You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbiQNM0HrrI
Down Deep Into the Pain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twi28xWoLxc

Vai was intended to be a supergroup of sorts, but Bozzio and Stevens would only stick around for the album recording and did not tour, though Stevens did appear with the band on The Tonight Show for their performance of Still My Bleeding Heart.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-ynEpNTcVQ





Dev toured with Steve Vai throughout 1993, occasionally playing rhythm guitar in addition to singing. He and Steve were joined by Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums, Scott Thunes on bass, and Will Riley on keyboards. Abe left the tour after a disagreement with Steve over a time signature. He was replaced by Toss Panos. The Wildhearts opened for the band on the European leg of the tour.

Here’s a video of the band playing in NYC on 10/15/1993:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb3h2YIEfC0

A bootleg of the band in Tokyo, 1994
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHYW55f9kbg

Dev continued to work on on his own music during this time. Some of those songs can be found on the Ass-Sordid Demos:

Thick Stock (Track 11 on Ass-Sordid Demos II. Features T.M. Stevens on Bass and Greg Price on drums)
L.A. (Track 4 on Ass-Sordid Demos I)
My Girl (Track 8 on Ass-Sordid Demos I)
That’s Life (Track 10 on Ass-Sordid Demos I. No year is given for this track, but it’s safe to assume it was written around this time.)

Thick Stock is the standout track from this batch. It’s a heavier number featuring a really cool slap bassline played by T.M. Stevens from Vai. In return, Dev sang on a song from Stevens’ 1994 solo album “Boom”. Dev is credited as: Devon “Screaming” Townsend and performs “Inspired vocal scream effects & attitude” on the song “By Any Means”.
The other three songs here aren’t really anything special in my opinion.



At the end of the Vai tour Dev expected to continue production on his Noisescapes album. However, Cliff Cultreri informed Dev that the Vai band was ending, and Relativity Records would be dropping him, claiming that his music was “too schizophrenic” to be successful. Realistically, the only reason they showed any interest in Dev’s music was to get him to record and tour with Steve Vai. Dev returned home to Vancouver. Bitter, broke, and disillusioned with the music industry. He went back to his old job, singing along to Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction albums while washing dishes at a restaurant.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

Post-Vai Projects

Dev stayed busy during this time writing his own music, as well as doing session work on other people’s albums. He played guitar on 3 songs on the Front Line Assembly album, “Millennium”. He sang on a cover of the Rush song Natural Science for a covers compilation. (Love Dev, Love Rush, but this cover is not great). Roadrunner Records reached out to him with a potential record deal, which they rescinded after hearing his demos. One day Ginger Wildheart, of the band The Wildhearts, reached out to Dev asking if he’d be interested in replacing their guitar whom they just fired. Dev accepted this offer and joined as a touring guitarist for a European Tour. While on tour, Borivoj Krgin from Century Media offered Dev a 5-album deal, claiming “No one else wants your shit. Take it or leave it.” Dev accepted the offer and began working on material for his next projects: Strapping Young Lad, and Ocean Machine.

Around this time, Dev was contacted by Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath, who wanted Dev to audition for a new band he was putting together. Dev flew to England to audition. He was still bitter from the experience with the Vai band, and was not excited at the thought of joining up with yet another rock star, fronting their band, and singing their lyrics. He intentionally made an ass of himself at the audition, singing lyrics about how he thought Geezer was an asshole. Dev has said he deeply regrets his behavior to this day. Obviously he didn’t get the gig, and he flew back home.

Upon returning home, he received a letter from Judas Priest. Rob Halford had recently left the band and they invited Dev to audition. Dev declined the invitation, thinking no one would be interested in a version of Judas Priest fronted by some kid. (As cool as it would have been, he's right.)

One day, through a mutual friend, he was introduced to Metallica’s then-bassist, Jason Newsted, who was interesting in collaborating with Dev...

——————————————————————————————————————————————

IR8
Recorded in 1994



Tracklisting:
1. Colossus
2. Nothing
3. Black on Black


Personnel:
Jason Newsted - Bass/Vocals
Devin Townsend - Guitar
Tom Hunting - Drums



Jason, Dev, and Tom Hunting from the band Exodus met up to jam at Newsted’s studio, The Chophouse, and recorded three demo songs together under the name IR8. This would be the first of four projects involving Dev and Jason. IR8 was a metal side project that was just for fun, and was never going to be a serious band. Jason enjoyed collaborating with Dev, but James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich from Metallica found out about his side project and shut it down, forbidding Jason from working on music outside of Metallica. Jason left Metallica in January 2001, and hoped to revive this project with Dev, but Dev wasn’t interested.

"Nothing" reminds me of Detox.



Jason rereleased the demos on CD in 2002, along with three additional songs from a similar project recorded in 1995 featuring Andreas Kisser of Sepultura on guitar instead of Dev. This project was called Sexoturica. A clever-ish combination of the three members’ main band names.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

Next update comes out Friday the 17th and will cover the first SYL album and Dev's first solo album.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2024, 12:26:30 PM by Metro »

Offline Zantera

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I actually haven't heard Sex & Religion but been meaning to check it out. I've heard Devin talk about this period of his life and how weird it felt, singing someone else's words and being a front figure for music that wasn't really his and all that. Also the whole experience of getting to LA and seeing the music industry and how it wasn't what he thought and so on.

Curious to check it out though, if nothing else just to have heard it.

Offline Fonzie

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Mega Dev fan here- seen him about 10 times - the most times I’ve seen any artist.
I was a mega SV fan, still am, and the Vai album was a big deal for me. Some great stuff amongst some ‘difficult’ stuff on that album.
TBH it was a relief when ‘Rescue Me…’ came along- I much preferred Steve’s voice to Dev’s, and it was a blessed relief not to be assaulted by ‘full Dev’!

When I saw them at Hammersmith in ‘93, Jannick from Maiden was stood behind me. Starstruck! Yeah!

I preferred Dev’s stuff when he started steering his own ship. ‘City’ convinced me of his power. I never heard OM til about a decade after it was recorded, but, top 10 all-time album for me.

Thanks for doing this thread. I’m learning stuff!

Offline Stadler

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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while.

(the new album not being very good didn't help)

hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

Kev, these all ring pretty true to me. I went through a BIG Devin phase from like 2015 - 2019ish, but then my love waned a bit. I personally loved Empath but The Puzzle/Snuggles/Lightwork don't come close to that, or any of the albums I love.

I have a feeling it's a 'me' thing, and I've just been exploring new stuff, and not in the right headspace for Devin. I do have a feeling this thread will help get me back there. I didn't think the last three albums were bad, just subpar by his high standards.

I'll post some comments on the Ass Sordid Demos later on, as there were some highlights, and mainly it was nice to listen to some new (to my ears) Devy. I love his humour, and although the demos aren't all high quality, Devin is good at making a demo sound like a legit recording.

I think that can be said for everything he has released in the last 8-9 years.  Casualties of Cool was the last Devin album that demanded listens over and over and over in my CD player*, and I always say, if I love something, it will find its way into my CD player*.  Sky Blue and Transcendence were both very good, but not top tier Devin for me.  Empath had some great moments, but felt a bit too tedious overall; getting through that entire album always feels like work.

*or the modern day equivalent

Can I push back gently and ask, "Does "sub-par" or "not top tier" really just mean "I don't like it as much"?   I mean, Devin is NOT AC/DC.  His catalogue is all over the map.  I get CHILLS from Addicted! (It's my favorite Dev record by far) but I have yet to hear a Strapping Young Lad song I like.  I'm able to admit that not everything he does is for me, and that's fine.  I don't think I'm justified in saying "SYL Blows!" or "SYL is mid-tier Dev!"  For some, I imagine that's ALL they like in his catalogue. 

For me, for example, Transcendence is, well, transcendent.  I love that record a lot, and go back to it almost as much as anything else in his catalogue.   I'd really struggle to call that anything less than a work of art - meaning only that it's a solid release that delivers on Devin's intent, whether I like it or not. 


Offline Stadler

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As for Sex & Religion, I got it when it came out and HATED it.  It was only after I sort of "figured out" Devin (after reading his book and seeing the Live in London shows) and went back and listened that it really clicked with me. It's not my favorite work by him (or Vai, for that matter) but it's a solid record.

The clip of the Tonight Show is worth watching.  It's funny in hindsight, especially after reading Dev's account of that time in his book.  We have to mention that at one point, Dev took a crap in Steve's guitar case.  That must've been something to behold.

Also, if you're a Vai fan, his new album, Gash, was recorded just before this period, and was shelved because of the Sex & Religion project.   He never got a chance to go back to it because the singer on that died in '98 and he only now released the music (I believe so it didn't look like he was capitalizing on that tragic story). 

Online Buddyhunter1

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I think I tried listening to Sex And Religion once, out of curiosity. It was pretty cornball and I turned it off after a few tracks, I think. Devin's voice is great, but he wasn't exactly given the best material to work with there.
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Online twosuitsluke

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Devin is one of my favorites, but I have been off of him for a while.

(the new album not being very good didn't help)

hopefully a big Devin phase for me is just around the corner.

Kev, these all ring pretty true to me. I went through a BIG Devin phase from like 2015 - 2019ish, but then my love waned a bit. I personally loved Empath but The Puzzle/Snuggles/Lightwork don't come close to that, or any of the albums I love.

I have a feeling it's a 'me' thing, and I've just been exploring new stuff, and not in the right headspace for Devin. I do have a feeling this thread will help get me back there. I didn't think the last three albums were bad, just subpar by his high standards.

I'll post some comments on the Ass Sordid Demos later on, as there were some highlights, and mainly it was nice to listen to some new (to my ears) Devy. I love his humour, and although the demos aren't all high quality, Devin is good at making a demo sound like a legit recording.

I think that can be said for everything he has released in the last 8-9 years.  Casualties of Cool was the last Devin album that demanded listens over and over and over in my CD player*, and I always say, if I love something, it will find its way into my CD player*.  Sky Blue and Transcendence were both very good, but not top tier Devin for me.  Empath had some great moments, but felt a bit too tedious overall; getting through that entire album always feels like work.

*or the modern day equivalent

Can I push back gently and ask, "Does "sub-par" or "not top tier" really just mean "I don't like it as much"?   I mean, Devin is NOT AC/DC.  His catalogue is all over the map.  I get CHILLS from Addicted! (It's my favorite Dev record by far) but I have yet to hear a Strapping Young Lad song I like.  I'm able to admit that not everything he does is for me, and that's fine.  I don't think I'm justified in saying "SYL Blows!" or "SYL is mid-tier Dev!"  For some, I imagine that's ALL they like in his catalogue. 

For me, for example, Transcendence is, well, transcendent.  I love that record a lot, and go back to it almost as much as anything else in his catalogue.   I'd really struggle to call that anything less than a work of art - meaning only that it's a solid release that delivers on Devin's intent, whether I like it or not.

Oh yeah, I wasn't explicitly clear, but when I say they're subpar compared to the rest of his output, that is purely my opinion. With Devin's work (and with all music) there has been the perfect storm that has allowed me to view certain albums as his 'masterpieces', but I am aware that in different circumstances what I consider his best album,could actually be any one of them, including the most recent three.

Following the multiverse theory there is a different universe, for every album ever released, in which a different album is my favourite all time record. As in, through different choices and experiences I could have been led down a path where I even loved 80s pop!

So yea, it's all chaos, luck and chance. There is a universe where I love every album recorded....









































Except KISS :neverusethis:

Offline hefdaddy42

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As for Sex & Religion, I got it when it came out and HATED it. 
Same with me, and it was for that reason that I took so long to actually give Dev a chance with his solo stuff.

I look forward to giving it another spin soon, which will be my first in years.
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Offline Metro

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Here’s a couple more clips from this era

Dev and Steve Vai on MTV’s Headbangers Ball
https://youtu.be/Lp7ewS9UUBc

Dev telling a funny story from the Vai tour
https://youtu.be/4f7pJT1LxCE