Devin Townsend is a relatively recent discovery for me, and I have been meaning to post about him for some time now. After playing in several metal bands in high school, this quirky, multi-instrumentalist from Canada got his real start 1993 when he captured the attention of Relativity Records, the label where Joe Satriani got his start, who had offered him a record deal based on a demo tape he had circulated under the name Noisecreep. Relativity introduced Townsend to Steve Vai, who was impressed with his vocal work and offered him the lead vocal spot on his Sex & Religion album and subsequent tour. While touring with Vai, Townsend hooked up with opening act The Wildhearts, with whom he then collaborated and toured through mid-1994.
Townsend became frustrated with what he saw in the music industry at this point. Relativity had dropped him, and after receiving an offer from Roadrunner that was soon overturned by a corporate exec, he landed a deal with Century Media. Hesitant to release an album under his name due to his exposure with Vai, he adopted the pseudonym Strapping Young Lad, which became his flagship project, eventually forming into a full-fledged extreme metal band.
Devin’s creative output is probably rivaled only by Ginger from The Wildhearts. Since that first SYL album, Townsend has produced, written, and released 10 studio albums, 1 EP, 1 live album, and 2 compilations as a solo artist on his independent HevyDevy Records label, in addition to the 5 studio albums, 1 EP, and 2 live albums under the Strapping Young Lad moniker.
Since retiring Strapping Young Lad, Townsend’s current focus has been on a 4-album project under the name Devin Townsend Project, each featuring a different lineup and theme. Two albums, Ki and Addicted!, have been released, and the final two, Deconstruction and Ghost are being mastered and are due to be released in 2011.
Today’s video comes from the 2009 album Addicted! and features—although not quite as extensively as other tracks—the sweet vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen. The wall-of-sound production of this clip is typical of the rest of the album and is a hallmark of Townsend’s sound. The remainder of the album is a bit different from this particular song, but it remains very heavy—although a different kind of heavy—with Devin’s alternately screaming and operatic vocals layered with Anneke’s crystal clear voice soaring over most of the tracks. It’s definitely something to check out.