Devin Townsend - _Infinity_
(USG/EastWest, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (6 out of 10)
I, like a legion of Japanese devotees, very much enjoyed Devin Townsend's last two offerings in the form of _City_, the second Strapping Young Lad album, and Ocean Machine's _Biomech_ debut. He masterminded both earlier projects, and _Infinity_, the first to be cataloged as a "solo" album, is the third in this "trilogy" of sorts. The story I got was that _City_ was the "bad" (the heavy aggressive side) and _Biomech_ was the "good" (the melodic calm side), but what _Infinity_ was intended to be was not clear to me. Unfortunately, I feel that it is the "ugly" of this allusion. _Infinity_ sees Devin manipulate melody in a way similar to the tactics of _Biomech_, but the songs aren't as strong or effective, making the melody feel almost token-like. I can only describe a lot of what I hear on _Infinity_ as "weird". This is narrow-minded, I admit, but on songs like "Bad Devil" and "War", things spiral in strange directions which seem overindulgent and just don't excite me. Devin seems to concentrating a lot on experimenting, at least with music that is away from metal's mainstream, but he continually comes back to catchy, somewhat poppy, choruses ("Christeen", "Wild Colonial Boy") which somehow let things down. On _Biomech_, the melody really worked for him; here, it doesn't. Overall, I am not a great fan of _Infinity_, though the production is crystal clear and the songs are worthwhile. My displeasure reminds me of my experience with Fear Factory's _Obsolete_. An overuse, in unconvincing ways, of melody and the incorporation of uncommon instruments for their own sake plagues both releases. Ultimately, my problem is that I don't appreciate Devin's chosen direction. I think he did the best he could in this area with _Biomech_ and I would rather hear a new SYL album, or at least music in that vein, which was more consistent and longer than _City_ was. If Devin could write an entire album where all the songs were up to the standards of "Detox" and "All Hail the New Flesh", he would rule my world. _Infinity_ is as insignificant to me in the scheme of things as the butterfly which adorns the back cover. Its qualities of "beauty", at least in the common, conventional, popular sense, are also comparable.

(article published 16/1/1999)

3/10/2005 J Smit Devin Townsend: Fury & Passion In Extremis
1/29/2006 J Smit 8 Devin Townsend - Synchestra
10/19/2001 C Flaaten 8 Devin Townsend - Terria
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