Review: Devin Townsend Project – Addicted

Location: Vancouver, Canada
Genre: Alternative Metal/Rock
Released: November 17, 2009
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Devy Chronicles

By: Kris Kotlarik

I’m not quite sure who had the brilliant idea to have Devin Townsend and Anneke van Giersbergen work together, but whoever is behind it should be rewarded with all the money. 

Addicted is the first of three albums (the last one, Z2, comes out in October) to feature Anneke. With the exception of a few tracks, Anneke is essentially an extremely talented backup vocalist; she is featured far more prominently on Epicloud. If you’re listening to this and it sounds oddly like Nickelback to you, that’s because it was supposed to. Apparently, Devin really liked the sound of what was their newest album at the time, Dark Horse, but noted that every single song was about “Chad Kroeger’s penis.” So what happens when you take Nickelback’s production style and write actual lyrics? In short, it’s pretty damn catchy. 

There’s a fairly even split of great songs and good songs. And then there’s one of the worst songs Townsend has ever written, “Ih-Ah.” I really don’t understand how so many fans love this track. It’s as poppy and cheesy as it gets, and while I generally like the more poppy stuff Devin has written (I actually don’t mind “Lucky Animals” off of Epicloud, and that song was lambasted to hell and back), this one doesn’t do it for me.

Although most of my favorite tracks on Addicted heavily feature Anneke, my vote for best track goes to “The Way Home,” which features some ridiculous clean vocals from Townsend. If you’re familiar with the live/Epicloud version of “Kingdom,” this will most likely appeal to you. Finishing in a close second is “Hyperdrive,” a cover from the original Ziltoid album with Anneke taking the lead vocal duties. 

The two closing tracks, “Numbered” and “Awake,” both feature well-executed hooks from Anneke. Numbered is a more progressive number, while the latter track is more pop-oriented and upbeat but extremely effective, and boasts a solid, calm ending. Out of the five Devin Townsend Project albums, the final three tracks rank as the best consecutive slate of songs you’ll find. 

“Resolve” and “Universe In A Ball” are both merely OK; the former is led by Anneke but the structure of the song is almost an exact replica of “Vanilla Radio” by The Wildhearts. Luckily, Devin was cool enough to give the band credit for the song. “Bend It Like Bender,” while largely uneventful, has the catchiest chorus of all. The title track and and “Supercrush” both fit into the “great songs” category. “Supercrush” was a deserving pick for a single, although I would prefer to hear almost any other song from Addicted, “Ih-Ah” notwithstanding, in a live setting.

If Devin Townsend really was trying to sound like Nickelback on this record, he nailed it. Although it may not be easily noticeable on the opener, as soon as “Universe In A Ball” comes in, there’s no escaping it. Unlike Nickelback, however, Devin and company are immensely talented and are capable of writing lyrics that actually mean something. 

…just as long as you ignore “Ih-Ah.”

Overall: A simple album with a complex feel. While slightly uneven, the closing three tracks end the album on a high note. And while I generally don’t critique cover art, this is easily the worst album cover in Devin Townsend’s lengthy history. 

Rating: 3.5*

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