Album of the Week 37-2012: Devin Townsend Project – Addicted

While not necessarily my favorite Devin Townsend-involved album – that will eternally be the sole Ocean Machine album – ‘Addicted’ may be the most fun album the crazy Canadian has ever done, because it’s so shamelessly poppy. Unapologetically catchy melodies and heavy guitars: it sounds like a perfect marriage and it is. At least if you have the knack for both like Townsend has. Count to that the fact that Anneke van Giersbergen acts as Townsend’s female counter vocal on this record and you’d already think that nothing can go wrong. And you’d be right in that case.

‘Addicted’ starts out somewhat misleading with the two heaviest tracks, ‘Addicted!’ and ‘Universe In A Ball!’ (for some reason, all the titles are exclamated), probably to provide contrast for its much more tranquil, but equally brilliant, predecessor ‘Ki’. ‘Addicted!’ fits the mold of this album because of Van Giersbergen’s vocals and a huge chorus and ‘Universe In A Ball!’ for its electronic rhythms, but the latter sounds like something that could have been on Strapping Young Lad’s final album rather than a track for a poppy Metal record. No complaints though, both tracks are amazing, but the party really starts with the blatant nineties Eurohouse – and obviously ‘Futurama’ – tribute ‘Bend It Like Bender!’.

From there on, this is one of the few Metal records that could get people who aren’t normally into the genre to party. ‘Supercrush!’ is the perfect melding of Townsend’s and Van Giersbergen’s vocals in a breathtaking song which appears to describe the sensation of falling in love, the remake of ‘Ziltoid The Omniscient’ highlight ‘Hyperdrive’ with Van Giersbergen on lead vocals replaces the dreamy atmosphere of the original with a hopeful, positive energy so typical of her charisma and the brooding ‘The Way Home!’ is goosebumps inducing. The lovely ‘Ih-Ah!’ is the only exception to this album’s huge, beefy production (somewhat) by being a small, heartfelt ballad and is therefore a standout track. The album closes off on a slightly heavier note with ‘Numbered!’ and the perfect closer ‘Awake!!’ (that’s right, two exclamations!!), both of which feature once again stellar performances by Van Giersbergen and the latter of which even features something of an announcement of the forthcoming ‘Deconstruction’-album.

While the shared vocal duties of Townsend and Van Giersbergen are undeniably part of the album’s charm, Ryan van Poederooyen deserves all the praise he can get for providing the perfect rhythms for an album like this. In turns dancable and heavy, he is exactly what this album needs, sometimes working together so seemlessly with the electronic beats that it’s hard to tell what is programmed and what isn’t. Also, despite this album being built around the vocals, there are a lot – no really, a lot! – of guitars on here.

Though the Pop tendencies have always been fairly obvious in Townsend’s music – think ‘Christeen’ and ‘Slow Me Down’ for instance – ‘Addicted’ is the first time that Townsend fully exorcizes his Pop demons. And he did it in style. So well that this is very likely the album I revisit most of his discography. And I’m not sure if I am allowed to give you this insider’s information, but there will be a sequel for both the vocal marriage of Townsend and Van Giersbergen as well as for the positive Pop vibes of this record. How that sounds? Stay tuned for ‘Epicloud’!

Recommended tracks: ‘Supercrush!’, ‘Hyperdrive!’, ‘Ih-Ah!’, ‘The Way Home!’

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