Devin Townsend (band) - Addicted
Following on the heels of the tightly reserved and delicate debut of the Devin Townsend Project, Ki, is the eagerly-anticipated Addicted. The almost violent shift in style really lends credence to the "Project" aspect, as expectations from one album to the next will only be met if one expects quality songwriting, production, and some of Devy's twisted trademarks. Addicted, in comparison to his back catalog, seems a deft combination of sounds he's previously experimented with. The heavy sound of Strapping Young Lad, and the, dare I say, poppiness of solo projects Ocean Machine and Physicist. The entire output is benefited by the powerful voice of guest vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering). The results are fundamentally different from what I had hoped for, and yet turned out to be more than well recieved in the end.
It doesn't do this album any level of justice to dissect it track by track, for example "Song 4 is better than song 2 which is better than song 6", etc. There is no bad track to be found...but on the opposite end of the Addicted spectrum, no track truly stands out on it's own, mostly due to the singular style of songwriting. Sure, tracks like "Bend it like Bender!" and "In-Ah!" offer variations in tempo and aggression, but ultimately the whole melds together in one vastly satisfying sound. As all good intros/title tracks should, "Addicted!" offers the dynamics of the album up in a concise, up-tempo sing-along fist-pumper. The production value of this album, as a whole, is off the charts, and cannot be fully appreciated without a pair of high-end headphones or a sound system of solid quality. The aforementioned "Bend it like Bender!" is infectious and had a very interesting video made for it. "Hyperdrive!" is a slight reproduction of a great track from Devin's "Ziltoid the Omniscient" album, with Anneke taking almost all of the vocals as her own (she had apparently made this song apart of her solo band's setlist during live shows prior to this recording). In all, I call it better than the original. Speaking only for myself, I would say "Numbered!" is my favorite track, featuring what has to be one of Devin's most lyrically impressive quotes; "We are numbered / we are numb / we are not alone!"
Narrowing down a genre to pigeon-hole Addicted is not easy, much like the majority of Devin's canon of work. Pop-infused progressive metal? Radio-friendly hard rock cranked out by someone who is anything but radio-friendly? It doesn't matter. What matters is that spending time with Addicted should result in a high-octante, adrenaline-pumping, embarass-yourself-by-singing-along type of experience. As uplifting and entertaining as anything Devin has done before, whether or not it's just my personal opinion speaking here but...I'm still waiting for him to truly disappoint me.
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