Retro Roundtable Review: Devin Townsend – Ocean Machine: Biomech
Posted by Irmelinis
Release Date: July 21 1997
Length: 74 minutes
Genre: Unique progressive metal
Studio Albums: Too many to mention!
WarpRider –An artist I have heard of for quite some time, but never had took the chance to check out an album until now thanks to the retro review portion of the roundtable reviews we are dabbling with at A Metal State of Mind. Is there a term to describe wildly entertaining metal? Devin Townsend seems to touch upon numerous genres and transitions between various tempos seamlessly. I can see why he is so popular, but can’t see why I waited so long to check something out from him other than a few singles I heard here and there. This is an outstanding album; sadly it only took me 16 years to hear it for the first time. I guess it’s never too late. Shout out to Mik for selecting this as her retro-review.
Atleastimhousebroken – It’s been a while since I popped in DT’s Ocean Machine and this opportunity to go back was quite nice, especially since his latest quadrilogy of records have become my exclusive go-to DT records. Of those 4 Biomech has the most in common with Addicted. The strong melodies, the driving rhythms, and poppy writing style are in full force here. What really impresses me about this record (and many DT records in general) is that it has drive that has balls but never feels too aggressive. Also listening to this reminded how often Devin does reuse bits of music throughout his works. For many artists that would be a negative, but how Devin does it make a reheated riff taste like a fresh cooked meal. Kind of like having fresh bread, and when you have some left over the next day you make it into French Toast.
I still have a hard-on for Addicted (and Epicloud) for my preferred ‘pop’ side of DT, but feel that Biomech is a must when you start to venture into the deeper cuts of DT’s insanely huge and diverse catalog.
Irmelinis – While not being a big fan of everything this man has created, I do absolutely love certain parts of his musical work (for example, the unplugged CD is something really special, look it up on the Tube). I prefer Townsend’s dark and serious side and it’s reflected beautifully in this unconventional and timeless album, that I would call “a record you need to hear before you die”. It’s warming up with a grandiose, catchy sound in the first couple of tracks, which for each song only grows more and more dense and majestic. The real intense stuff starts with ‘Greetings’ transitioning into the angry and emotional ‘Regulator’ – no one can match Devin’s stunning vocal performance during these five minutes. Saving the best for last; I don’t think enough powerful words exist to describe the epic beauty that is expressed during the last four (very long) songs. They create a unique, breathtaking and deeply satisfying experience that drowns out everything around you, slowly building up and crashing down, like massive waves in the ocean. Unbelievable music.
ChristopherMammal – Not everything Townsend does is metal, but all the music he does is progressive. Whatever has been done with any type of music in the past, he’s sure to find a new way to bend it to his genius. This is no random process, either – his incredible musical intuition is backed by scrupulous analysis of what things could sound like and how they eventually will sound. Consider Biomech, for example… it’s 17 years old, yet if it was released tomorrow, it would be as refreshing and entrancing as anything else brand-new. Townsend doesn’t date. This album is going to sound as good and as relevant in another 20 years as it did in 1997 and does now. We’re not allocating rating points in these retro reviews of albums. Therefore I shall instead award Devin Townsend and Ocean Machine the Three Glowing Teddy Bears. Not many people have those.