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Music: Devin Townsend
Yeah, kinda like that.

Devin Townsend is a Canadian musician and producer, arguably most famous for his extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad - although he is a very prolific solo artist as well. His solo stuff is far more melodic and tends towards all kinds of genres, particularly Industrial Metal and Progressive Metal.

He's also completely bonkers in a Mad Artist sort of way and has a real affinity for the Rule of Funny, qualities that have earned him comparisons to Frank Zappa.

Discography with Strapping Young Lad:

Discography as a solo artist (including The Devin Townsend Band and The Devin Townsend Project):

  • Punky Brüster: Cooked on Phonics (1996)
  • Ocean Machine: Biomech (1997)
  • Infinity (1998)
  • Official Bootleg (1999)
  • Physicist (2000)
  • Terria (2001)
  • Accelerated Evolution (2003)
  • Devlab (2004)
  • Synchestra (2006)
  • The Hummer (2006)
  • Ziltoid the Omniscient (2007)
  • Ki (2009)
  • Addicted (2009) (guest starring Anneke van Giersbergen)
  • Deconstruction (2011)
  • Ghost (2011)
  • Unplugged (2011)
  • By a Thread - Live in London 2011 (2012)
  • Epicloud (2012) (also guest starring Anneke van Giersbergen)
  • The Retinal Circus (2013) (Live album)
  • Z2 (2014)

He's also a guest vocalist on the Ayreon album The Human Equation, voicing "Rage".


  • Album Title Drop: ALL I NEED IS THIS CITY AND THIS MIND AND I WILL GET BY!!!
  • All Just a Dream: At the end of Ziltoid The Omniscient, Ziltoid turns out to be a daydreaming Starbucks employee.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: The song "Fucker" from The New Black.
    • On "Praise The Lowered", where Devin belts out "SMOKE THAT FUCKING... WEED!!!" right before one of the heaviest drops on Deconstruction
    • The iconic Velvet Kevorkian intro. "FUCK SLEEP! FUCK ALL OF YOU!!!".
    • "Oh My FUCKING God".
    • An absurdly high-pitched one occurs about halfway through "Shitstorm" on Alien.
  • Bald of Evil: Played for laughs with Ziltoid.
  • Berserk Button: Averted COMPLETELY when the fans asked about the return of SYL.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: See Atomic F-Bomb and the song "You Suck".
    • The less intelligible parts of "Happy Camper" are actually this.
    • Happens a lot with the song "Shitstorm" from Alien.
    • "S.Y.L.". The lead-in to the chorus is a grind-stomping "I fucking hate you I fucking hate you I fucking hate you..."
  • Common Music Video Concepts: Garage Rock, for Strapping Young Lad's "Detox", "Relentless" and "Love?".
  • Cover Song: Strapping Young Lad has done a few. "Exciter", "Zodiac", and Cop Shoot Cop's "Room 429" as examples.
    • "Far Beyond Metal" was a song written back during 1997-8 as a live track only, but when it came time to record The New Black Gene Hoglan suggested using the track.
      • In short, "Far Beyond Metal" is a cover of their own song.
    • Badger badger badger...
  • Deconstruction: Magnificently averted with the album of the same name. You would expect that the title and Townsend's statement about being the heaviest album he's ever made since SYL (after the lighthearted, poppy nature of the previous "Ki" and "Addicted") would have him playing some of the darkest tunes he's ever come to mind (since this album is Exactly What It Says on the Tin to the other two). By listening to the music you realize since track 1 the score is made of guitar riffs, circus organs and other bizarre comedic sounds. And the lyrics? A dead man talking with Satan about his past life on a Crap Saccharine World like they were Heterosexual Life-Partners since the beginning of times. Comedic Sociopathy ensues of course. Really, this album's concept and sound is like the Deconstruction OF the Deconstruction itself.
  • Dethroning Moment of Suck: Invoked in-universe twice on Cooked On Phonics.
    • At a Cryptic Coronor gig, at the start of the album, the lead guitarist breaks a string. They turn this into an Origin Story.
    • At the end of the album, Punky Bruster performs their hit song live on the Granny Awards, and mid-song, they revert to their Death Metal origins, utterly destroying their ill-gotten success.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Has said on his Twitter feed that he's not really bothered by people pirating his music because he still gets support from people who want him to continue performing music, which he regards as "a good job we're damn lucky to have. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I write music for ME because it's what I LOVE. And if it ever turns around financially, great... Why the hell would you want to be a musician if having people listen is so conditional? Support if you want, it costs a lot, but I luv it." See also here.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The reason why the title character of Ziltoid The Omniscient let loose an invasion fleet on Earth? The cup of coffee he requested from them was "fetid" to him.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: Combining this with Bald of Awesome gives you Townsend's most iconic hairstyle, the almighty Skullet.
  • Epic Rocking: Mostly in his solo projects. In particular, Deconstruction, which has a song that's over 16 minutes- and that's not all.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Dire" from the self titled SYL album.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Ziltoid.
  • Excited Show Title!: Addicted.
    • "More!" from Epicloud.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Too many to count for Devin.
    • Most well known is the almighty Skullet to shaven bald.
  • Fake Band: The main characters of Cooked On Phonics.
  • Flashback Fail: When trying to re-start SYL after (the failure at the time) Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing, Townsend wound up meeting with Gene Hoglan of Death fame at a concert. Hoglan agreed to track some drums for the second record, but the next day when Townsend brings this up, Hoglan denies agreeing to this.
    • To be fair, he was pretty loaded during that night.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Planet Smasher from Ziltoid The Omniscient. He says at the very end that his name is Herman.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The song "S.Y.L." from Strapping Young Lad's first album Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing and their self-titled album which is also referred to as SYL.
  • Large Ham: Most of his spoken lines are overly dramatic and theatrical, specially on his solo albums. He's even known for Chewing the Scenery frequently during live concerts. During shows he'll also often throw in random monologues in character as Ziltoid, who, if possible, is even more of a Large Ham.
  • Last Note Nightmare: The lengthy scream from the ending of "Thing Beyond Things", the final track on Ocean Machine: Biomech. Especially disheartening, as this comes after a ten-second silence after one of the much more relaxing songs on the album.
  • Lighter and Softer: Going from Strapping Young Lad, a Death/Thrash Metal band with industrial influences, to the Devin Townsend Project, playing genres that don't even come close to SYL.
    • Despite the above, averted with Ziltoid The Omniscient and Deconstruction, which are both Progressive Metal.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition:
    • The Strapping Young Lad vinyl box set, which, if you're even remotely a fan, is amazing. It was released in four different editions, each of which had more material than the preceding tier (in addition to being coloured differently). All versions of the box set are now sold out. The vinyl masters also decreased the Loudness War tendencies of Strapping's material (although the clipping on Heavy and The New Black couldn't be completely eliminated due to the master tapes apparently having been lost). The LP editions of the individual albums are still available, although they're almost sold out of the label (Blood Music)'s U.S. store. The bonus material included with the box set will not be sold individually.
    • There was also a CD box set of the first four Devin Townsend Project albums (the latter two of these being remastered, as the original mixes hadn't been to Townsend's satisfaction) along with two discs of bonus material and (with some releases) a 7" with two additional songs.
  • Loudness War: Strapping Young Lad was a deliberate offender, invoking the trope to create as harsh and unrelenting a sound as possible. This has carried over to Townsend's solo work some as well; although he said around the release of Ki, "I officially pull my hat out of the Loudness Wars", the material has still been somewhat clipped (although his releases are nowhere near the worst offenders anymore).
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Velvet Kevorkian" from City.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: One of few metal vocalists to achieve this status, along with Jonathan Davis, Kyo, Mike Patton, and Roughton Reynolds.
    • Those voices you hear on Ziltoid the Omniscient? They're all him.
    • He goes from a heavy death metal growl to a pop-punk vocal style in Punky Brüster: Cooked On Phonics.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Devin Townsend has made music that covers every possible degree. Most of Ki is 1-3 (reaching about 8 in a song or two) while most of SYL's songs could easily qualify as 10 ("Rape Song", "Detox", "All Hail The New Flesh") or 11 ("Shitstorm", "Oh My Fucking God").
    • Rule of thumb: Devin Townsend Band is 7-8, Strapping Young Lad is 10 to 11. Ziltoid, which is best described as a fusion of the two styles, falls at about a 9 depending on the song. The Devin Townsend Project is all over the scale - Ki is mostly 1-3, Addicted is 6-7, Ghost is a 1, and Deconstruction ramps up linearly from about a 2 on the first track to a 10 on the last.
  • Metal Scream: ALL. TYPES.
  • Mind Screw: The tail end of Ziltoid The Omniscient. The reason why the album moves from a comedic Space Opera to Ziltoid questioning the state of the universe before being revealed to be a figment of a coffee shop worker's imagination is supposedly, according to Word of God, symbolic of how his fans misinterpret his songs.
  • Motor Mouth: THERE IS NO INSANITY BUT RATHER SUPER SANITY, MORE SUITED FOR LIFE AT THE END OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY... — "Oh My Fucking God"
    • The last verse of "Happy Camper (Carpe B.U.M.)"
  • Must Have Caffeine: In the track "ZTO", Ziltoid orders the humans to make to him the ultimate cup of black coffee in five minutes, or he will destroy the Earth.
  • Precision F-Strike: Plenty of them.
    • Ziltoid the Omniscient: I'M ZILTOID!!!! I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!!! The only other curse words on the album are a barely audible use of the word "shitstorm" by the commander of Earth's troops and a muttered "shit" at 0:35 into "Tall Latte".
    • Ki: BE A GODDAMN MAN, BOY! One of his calmer examples.
    • Deconstruction: "SMOKE THAT FUCKING WEED, BOY!"
    • Epicloud: "THE TIME HAS COME TO FORGET ALL THE BULLSHIT AND ROCK!" note 
  • Punny Name: The album Epicloud.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "OH! MY! FUCK! ING! GOD!"
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Subverted during The Retinal Circus. By having Jed Simon play "Detox" and "Love?" with the DTP.
  • Rerelease the Song: Kingdom, taken from 2001's ''Physicist'' for 2012's ''Epicloud''. Compared, the Epicloud version is pretty much a Large Ham.
  • Rule of Funny: Punky Brüster: Cooked on Phonics and Ziltoid the Omniscient are fueled by these. The songs on Strapping Young Lad's The New Black that aren't completely serious tend to fall towards this.
  • Scare Chord: Two songs from Strapping Young Lad's self-titled, "Dire Consequences" and "Bring On The Young"
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Often does this to achieve a choir-like effect, can be heard on Ocean Machine: Biomech and Infinity, amongst others.
    • Did this with Anneke Van Giersbergen for Epicloud because she was going to be more or less unavailable for touring, making her parts on the album fairly repititous and quick. Van Giersbergen herself does this a lot with her parts on Addicted.
  • Self-Deprecation: Frequently throughout his live performances. Regularly introduces the Solo from Life as "The Shittiest guitar solo I ever wrote."
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet / Spandex, Latex, or Leather: Played for laughs in the video for Vampira.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ziltoid himself. A big part of his character is his denial at how he's not all he's cracked up to be. Or, as Captain Spectacular puts it, "a nerd".
  • The Something Song: "Babysong" and Strapping Young Lad's "Rape Song".
  • Something Completely Different: Noted in "The Retinal Circus" due to it's eclectic songlist
  • Soprano and Gravel: All over the place. The best example is "Planet Smasher" from Ziltoid the Omniscient.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Strapping Young Lad's "Almost Again" and "Two Weeks" are way less heavy than the surrounding material. "Polyphony" too, although that's really more of an intro.
    • Subverted with "Bring On The Young".
  • Stylistic Suck: Cryptic Coronor (from Cooked on Phonics) is not only a piss-poor, laughable Death Metal band, you can barely hear their song over the sound of the cackling audience.
  • Take This Job And Shove It: "S.Y.L."
  • The Omniscient: Subverted by Ziltoid. He may be powerful, but if he was truly omniscient, he would not have run into the troubles he did.
    • Played straight by the Omnidimensional Creator. He sees everything. He also understands what Ziltoid must do when Ziltoid does not.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A lot of Strapping Young Lad songs boil down to this. "Rape Song", for example, is a furious tirade against a rapist, while "S.Y.L." is a long list of all the reasons his old job sucked and how much better his life will be now that he isn't doing it anymore. And "Shitstorm"... Good lord, "Shitstorm"!
    • Parodied with "You Suck". There's no particular reason why you suck, you just do.
  • Title Track: "The New Black", for Strapping Young Lad.
    • For Devin Townsend works: The Hummer, Ki, Addicted, Deconstruction, Ghost.
      • Despite being a vinyl-only bonus track, Epicloud.
  • Uncommon Time
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Cooked On Phonics is an entire diss album aiming at a real band known to Devin as one that switched from metal to punk in order to chase popularity, and the album's moral is basically "to thine own self be true."
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Especially the DTP.


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alternative title(s): Devin Townsend; Strapping Young Lad
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