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Ahh, what a poor, misunderstood little album - 90%

xanrastafari, August 20th, 2004

I really enjoyed reading some of the reviews of this CD, which seemed to have problems with this CD in three areas: 1. The lyrics, 2. The distortion, 3. the Chugga-chugga nature of some of the guitars. I'll address 1. and 3. If you don't like distortion, there's not much I can do to help you. That's a personal preference, and if you don't like the sound, you don't.

So here goes: The lyrics. Yes, Devin Townsend cusses a lot. No, this isn't mindless I hate the world nonsense, because, as with everything he does, there is at least some subtlety to it. I see essentially the bridge of the first song ("I Fucking Hate You" repeated) being quoted as an example of his lyrics being simple and immature. But how many of you knew that was an anti-capitalism song? Look a little closer next, time he's not screaming about nothing.

As to the Chuggga-Chugga nature of the riffs, what do you expect? This is Industrial with some grindcore elements. And grindcore was originally defined as sounding like a machine.... No, it's not Iron Maiden, no it's not melodic power metal, but that's not what it's meant to be. The riffs aren't simplistically nu-metallish either, if you listen carefully. Yes it's easy to loose this in the chaos of the music, but that's part of why it's heavy, no?

So enough with addressing other people's derisions of the CD. Why is it good? Devin Townsend has one of the best emotion transmitting voices I've ever heard. In other words, when he's angry the listener can feel the anger easily. To me, as a result of that, the CD is highly theraputic. Also, the lyrics, as I said, have a good bit of depth if you actually look at them. This CD's also got a good dose of kick you in the stomach heaviness. Not as much as it's musically superior follow up, City, but it's still there. The music also has some really interesting elements, for example the song "Cod Metal King" sounds like one of those cheesy metal vampire dance scene songs actually done right. "In the Rainy Season"'s end section with it's highly melodic and layered singning mixing with the loud chugging guitars creates a wonderful, spine tingling effect. The much harped on "Happy Camper" features Devy's most hyperkinetic vocal performance, perhaps ever.

My main criticisms of the CD is that it is relatively uneven, especially in the later parts. Some of the songs in that area are complete throwaways, though the wonder great song "The Filler" is a) hilarious and b) plays with some interesting vocal/guitar combos that turn out well. Also there are a few parts that are guilty of what others accuse, that they are too chuggachuggachugga, but almost every section plays with more rhytmic and melodic complexity than would be first apparent. Get some good headphones and listen closely.