Exalted guitarist and musical visionary Devin Townsend — respected on even terms as Strapping Young Lad's outlandish frontman and as Hevy Devy, the revered solo artist and creative force behind the Devin Townsend Band — is, as he explained, "in a pretty cool place," and he's "really savoring it." Come this time next week, he'll have finished the Devin Townsend Band's forthcoming disc, Synchestra — 13 tracks of which he's calling "sunshine metal."
"Strangely enough, this is the first record I've done that was made to [be] enjoyed," Townsend said. "I'm expecting people to hate [this music], because it's really sensitive and heavy and epic, and everything's really pleasing about it. I don't know how many people want to listen to pleasing music. A lot of people are still into being assaulted every time they turn on their stereo. Those people will think it's a wussy, pain-in-the-ass record. People who're sick of dudes yelling at them will love it."
Synchestra, which will include the songs "Let It Roll," "Hyper-Geek," "Notes From Africa," "Judgment," "A Simple Lullaby" and "Sunshine and Happiness," is even completely devoid of curse words. It should surface in either February or March, he said, and will be distributed throughout the U.S. by Inside Out; he'll also be selling it through his own label's Web site at HevyDevy.com.
Six of the album's 13 cuts, Townsend promised, will clock in at or just under 10 minutes. One even features a guest appearance by imperious guitarist Steve Vai; Townsend wielded the mighty ax and handled backing vocals on Vai's 1993 album, Sex & Religion, and later toured with the virtuoso. So Synchestra's the first time the two have worked together in 12 years.
"I love writing music and songs, but I'm getting more and more tired of playing guitar and singing," he said. "There's this big long part I'd written for this solo, and sometimes, I'm in the headspace for guitar and other times, I'm just not. Right now I'm not. I just couldn't give a f---. So I gave [Vai] a call."
But don't be fooled by Townsend's shiny, happy mien; Synchestra's still going to sound like a true metal record.
"It's super f---ing heavy — like bludgeoningly heavy," he said. "But they're all bludgeoningly heavy lullabies. This is a record you can put on that'll make you feel good. It's like a celebration — something you put on in the morning, or when you want to sing along and laugh and smile, but still have it so heavy that when you crank it up, it will level any of your death-metal competition."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Iron Maiden will release the triple-DVD set "Death on the Road" in February. The package will be a companion to the band's career-spanning double live CD, which came out October 4. ... The ink dried this week on In Flames' contract with Ferret Records. The label will release the band's forthcoming disc Come Clarity on February 7, 2006. The album will contain 13 tracks, including "Pacing Death's Trail," "Crawl Through Knives" and "Your Bedtime Story Is Scaring Everyone." ... Bury Your Dead have filmed a clip for "Magnolia" with director Dale Resteghini (Shadows Fall, Unearth); look for it to start airing next month. ... Allele, the band featuring ex-Cold guitarist Kelly Hayes and ex-Otep guitarist Lane Maverick, will release their debut album, Point of Origin, October 25. The disc was produced by Ben Schigel and features the songs "Fake," "A Different Someone" and "Closer to Habit." ... Director Joe Lynch (Strapping Young Lad, Devildriver) will soon follow the members of the Black Dahlia Murder around with a camera as they storm Las Vegas for an evening of debauchery. The footage will be compiled for a video for the band's track "Miasma." ... Mucus Membrane guitarist Jared Deaver has left the Sacramento, California, band because of family commitments. Between the time he joined in March 2005, Deaver has gotten married, had a child and was accepted to the police academy. The group is currently searching for a second guitarist, and interested players should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. ...
Canadian progressive power trio Rush will celebrate their 30th anniversary with the November 29 release of the double-DVD "R30." One disc will feature a Frankfurt, Germany, concert from September 24, 2004, and the second contains archival interviews, videos, performances and behind-the-scenes footage. A second edition of the package will feature two audio discs of the concert. ... German melodic death-metal band Fragments of Unbecoming will release their second disc, Sterling Black Icon, January 10. Tracks include "Scythe of Scarecrow," "Breathe in the Black to See," "Of the Darkest Dye" and "Stand the Tempest." ... The Red Chord have hired ex-Dead Water Drowning guitarist Jonny Fay to fill in for their upcoming tours. Fay replaces Kevin Rampelberg, who left the group in late July to pursue other ventures. The band will tour with Converge starting November 4 in Latham, New York; dates run through November 20 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. ... 3, a progressive-metal band from Woodstock, New York, that once featured Coheed and Cambria drummer Joshua Eppard (and still includes his brother, singer/guitarist Joey Eppard), will release their fourth album, Wake Pig, November 1. The disc includes the tracks "Alien Angel," "Dregs" and "Bramfatura." ... German metalcore band Caliban will reissue their third album, Shadow Hearts, November 15 with bonus material. The group is currently in Principal Studios near Munster, Germany, finishing up its next album, The Undying Darkness, with producer/ In Flames frontman Anders Fridén. Look for it early next year. ...
Syracuse, New York, political punk-metal band Ed Gein will release their second album, Judas, Goats and Dieseleaters, November 1. The record features "Small Towns, Small Minds," "Killing a Co-Worker" and "The Wool Is Pulled." ... Ohio and Pennsylvania-based From a Second Story Window have decided to name their second album Delanda. The disc will be finished by year's end, for release early next year. ... California's Will Haven have reunited after a three-year hiatus. According to the Sacto band's official statement, the original lineup's working on new material and will release a five-track EP with some B-sides, including the cut "Sammy." ... Reflux have been working on their next album, which will surface this spring through Prosthetic Records (Devin Townsend will produce the effort). The band's booked a spate of fall shows, too: October 28 in Lynchburg, Virginia, October 29 in Fredericksburg, Virginia; October 30 in Virginia Beach; October 31 in Harrisonburg, Virginia; and November 19 in Terre Haute, Indiana. ... Tomas Naslund, who plays bass for Swedish metallers Blindside, fractured his skull last month in a skateboarding mishap. He's expected to make a full recovery, according to the band's Web site; in the meantime, the band's recruited Aphasia's Will Peng, who's filling in for Naslund on Blindside's tour with Trapt. ... Power-metal menaces Silent Force have started writing for their next disc; no release date's been set for the as-yet-untitled outing. ... London extreme metallers Dragonforce will play their first U.S. gig on November 22 at New York's CBGB. The band's third disc, Inhuman Rampage, will hit stores January 9 and contain eight tracks including "Through the Fire and Flames," "Storming the Burning Fields" and "Trail of Broken Hearts."