The Pandemic lockdowns have been very tough on all of us mentally, but in particular live music.
No gigs for any bands which means no revenue with fans tickets cancelled and such. So musicians had to start getting creative with ways to connect with their fans.
Devin Townsend started doing live online concerts for the fans, with some proceeds going to various charities.
Galactic Quarantine is the audio from the fourth show which was a ‘by request’ set for the fans. That featured Wes Hauch on guitar, Liam Wilson on bass and the mighty Samus Paulicelli on drums.
The album starts as any Strapping Young Lad gig usually would with Velvet Kevorkian into All Hail The New Flesh. To this day it remains one of the best openings to an album ever produced. The term thunder and lightning works well here. Velvet Kevorkian is mind shatterlingly heavy. Whereas All Hail The New Flesh is just absolute chaos. And yet if it was a visible entity you would find yourself staring at it even though you know it could kill you.
The third track is By Your Command. It’s beautiful, yet brutal. It’s eye catching, yet savage. And it somehow all works together.
The fourth song is Almost Again and I quote “At the speed of sound I will be found”. As will you listening to it, because the chorus is ridiculous in tempo. It’s weird to think as SYL goes this is actually one of their more mellow and listenable songs if you aren’t familiar.
Track five, Juular really shows off the talents of Samus Paulicelli. The blast beats are so fast and so precise you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a drum machine.
Song six is March of The Poozers. If I’m being brutally honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of this album when released. This was definitely the best song from the album though.
Track seven is Supercrush! and I absolutely adore this song. If I was ever going to pitch Devin Townsend’s music to someone this would make the list. It’s beautiful.
Track eight is Hyperdrive. This song is actually rather mellow compared to most. Yet still being able to hold it’s own against most of Devin’s metal back catalogue.
Song number nine is Stormbending and for me is in the same vein as Supercrush!. It manages to be as heavy as a collapsed star and yet shimmer like a rainbow.
Track ten for me is one of the best song’s he ever wrote, Deadhead. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions which just captures you, you can’t escape it. The eight minutes of music flies by and leaves you wanting more.
Next comes Aftermath and it’s just seven minutes pure unadulterated metal. If you haven’t started head banging by now, congratulations! It’s time for your work out. It’s followed followed by Love? which also is a test for anyone who called themselves a head banger. These two back to back will leave you exhausted and in need of an ambulance due to neck aches.
Spirits Will Collide comes after this and it’s absolutely glorious yet emotionally charged. You really learn to respect how Devin can turn dark topics you wouldn’t find yourself talking about to friends into something you will sing with them arm in arm. It’s a triumph.
Track fourteen is Kingdom and it’s by no means a bad track but it just doesn’t stand out for me compared to everything else on this album.
And finally the last track is Detox which is a great way to end the album. Imagine this album is a nightclub, the DJ would annouce it’s closing time and this is your last chance to get up off your chair and go wild. The song kicks in and before you know it the entire club is destroyed!
Overall this album is a fantastic mixture of Devin’s music over the years. And the added stellar performances of Wes, Liam and Samus really elevate the music to even higher ground.
Words: Ashley Thompson
Devolution Series #2: Galactic Quarantine is out now.
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