Metal’s version of Uncle Fester, is one of the more enigmatic characters in music history. From his years spent pushing the envelope of extreme metal with Strapping Young Lad, to his musical expressionism with The Devin Townsend Band, the 39-year-old, vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has never taken the easy road, or settled for what’s comfortable.
After disbanding both his previous bands in the late oughts, Townsend quit smoking weed and drinking, and opened himself to a creative rebirth. It took a while to find that spark again, but when he did, the doors blew wide open and he’s since penned dozens of new songs that span the musical arc.
In 2008, Townsend was inspired by this vast expanse of songs to create a sonic tetralogy of albums, each representing a different auditory personality. In May 2009 he released the first of these, Ki, to critical acclaim, followed later in the year by the more melodically accessible, Addicted.
This summer he’s released the final two installments, the ethereal Ghost, and the atmospherically diverse Deconstruction. Part three, Deconstruction is technically challenging and full of guest appearances by the likes of Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever, ReVamp), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Oderus Urungus (Gwar), Ihsahn, and Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth, Bloodbath). Meanwhile, Ghost is stripped down, light, and earthy, with no guest appearances.
This week Metalholic had a chance to chat the quiet giant as he and the band prepared for a headline show in Kentucky. We discussed the new albums, his renewed passion for creation, and the need to clone himself so he can find more time to record the three or four other albums of material he has hanging in limbo. We talked about Ghost 2 which should be out this spring, and represents the darker side of its namesake album, EpicCloud, a more melodic album, and the future of “Ziltoid”.