I’ve been waiting for this Disc for quite a while… since I first heard “Alien” by Strapping young lad actually. I had a feeling that good things would be coming from this man in the near future. 2006 seems to be a good year to be a Townsend fan, with “Synchestra” already out, and a new one from Strapping due out in the summer. There was quite a bit of hype behind Synchestra. And Im happy to say that this disc lives up to all of the hype, and even manages to become my new favorite release by The Devin Townsend Band. It puts everything that is great about dTb and SYL onto one CD. At times it will even blur the line between the two sides of devin’s music making something you have to listen to to believe.
Synchestra starts off amazingly with “Let it roll” and “Hypergeek”. “Let it roll” is a sort of folky intro with acoustic guitars leading the way until the last 30 secs of the song. Which then leads into “Hypergeek” which is where things really start going. “Hypergeek” also starts off with a folky feel to it, its like the morning light rolling over country fields. Then, near the minute mark, theres a small pause before the biggest tidal wave of music ever created lauches itself at your ear drums.
After “Hypergeek” comes “Triumph”, another amazing song. It has a couple dangerously catchy chorus’s on it. along with a toe-tappingly groovy banjo/bluegrass like passage that, strangly enough, fits absolutely perfectly in with the rest of the song. “Triumph” also sports a beautiful solo by, none other than guitar legend Steve Vai. Who gave Devin his voice in the music industry by having him as a guest guitarist/vocalist on his 1993 album “Sex & Religion”.
Next up is “Babysong”, which is a pretty soild track. It reminds me of Alien a little past the half way mark of the song with UFO like synth work, and strange xylophonic beats in the background.
This leads Into “Vampolka” and “Vampira” Vampolka being a circus/big top rendition of the upcoming Single “Vampira”. “Vampira” definitly sounds like a single, coming from this album anyway. It is still a great track, it was a wise choice to end it at around three minutes, because while it is good, it is pretty predicable song. Think of it this way, its a 4.5 on a whole album of 5s.
Then comes the Proggy instrumental “Mental Tan”. This is very well done for an instrumental passage, which usually result in me only listening to the passage the first few times I sit down and listen through an album in its entirety. “Mental Tan” then flows into “Gaia”, which has some great synth work throughout the song. And a great guitar Riff at around 1/2 way through the track. Another Great track, I think that the singles of Synchestra should have been This and “Triumph”. actually Gaia feels(not necessarily sounds) simmilar to Triumph, im not quite sure as to why..but then again this whole album has a consistant “feel” to it.
Then its “Pixilate”. Which mostly suffers from being a little too long at nearly 8 and 1/2 minutes. It does however make up for it with interesting and complex guitar work, and some unsuspected (and well done) female vocals.
Up next is “Judgement” which has a Scream one line then Sing the next plot to it. Which works out better then I thought it would. It has its ups and downs. Then “A Simple Lullaby” starts up, which is like a heavy-metal lullaby. It starts off with a hypnotic riff sequence before really starting. It does have a bit of a lullaby-like feel to it. I think that this track goes into the record for being the only lullaby with the phrase “Ready, Aim, FIRE!” in it. Its a very cool song…just don’t count on it puting your kid to sleep!
“Sunset” is a track where Keybordist Dave Young really shines.( He wrote the guitar and keys for this track.) It is another great instrumental that dosen’t feel like the average instrumental at all. The last track, “Notes From Africa”, has an african like chorus to it…its sort of hard to describe why it sounds african…it just does. This ends with the sounds of the rainforset flowing through your speakers. Depending on what edition of Synchestra you bought, (There are many out there.) you may have “Sunshine & Hapiness” Which is a fun/happy track Which is just as great as all the others, but I think it would have been better to have the album end with the rainforest ambience, but hey, who can argue with a bonus track?
If your a Fan of The Devin Townsend band or Strapping young lad, you can’t miss out on this release i don’t think you will be dissapointed. Now lets hope The next release by strapping can be even better then Alien like Synchestra is To Accelerated Evolution.
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-Igar the Terrible