Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #2 – Galactic Quarantine: Album Review

Devin Townsend continues the Devolution Series with Galactic Quarantine; one that follows on from his Acoustic Inclinations and ups the volume count.

Release date: 25th June 2021

Label: Inside Out Music

Format: CD / digital / vinyl

The second in a short interim series of releases finds Devin Townsend piecing together a recording made in 2020 in various places around the world. Billed as a replacement show for the COVID affected “Empath Vol 2 European Tour” and cancelled Summer festivals, it originally aired on September 5th 2020 on

The set finds all the musicians coming together from their various locations across North America in a virtual green screen show. Devin promises: “We’re gonna play a bunch of metal for ya. Don’t let the bullshit get you down.” In total contrast to the atmospheric acoustic renderings on Devolution Series #1, we find Devin delving into his early days with a shedload of intense and angry Strapping Young Lad material, making a huge noise and bellowing:

Hey man, I’m gonna fuck this shit up
No fear, no compromise, I want it all.

Hmmm. Best be prepared for one hell of a beating. In fact, Hevy Devy seems to be on a mission to make your ears bleed in the shortest time possible. Maybe even during the opening All Hail The New Flesh, prefaced with the call of “I like people who can take the pressure.” The battle cry of the chief as he leads his warriors into battle. Forget any notion of this being one of Devin’s theatrical extravaganzas where he throws in some of those wild and wacky moments. This is full-on sonic assault.

If you make it through the first half-hour, where the regular bouts of beastly roaring and brain-numbing double bass drum battering would leave lesser men broken, beat and scarred, you’ll get the relatively melodic uplift of Supercrush! Devy in full theatrical operatic mode and despite not wanting to save his soul, it’s a welcome break from the onslaught.

A clutch of crowd-pleasers (the ones he has to play) get dusted off. Hyperdrive, a brilliant Stormbending, Kingdom and Deadhead all have the dust blown away. As one of his albums stated openly, it’s epic and it’s loud. Nowhere is the contrast more evident than in Spirits Will Collide. Stripped back to what was converted to what was essentially a hymn on the Empath shows at the end of 2019, it now reverts to the mammoth original arrangement.

Devotees of the overblown side of Devin Townsend will be lapping it up. Especially with the frankly frightening Detox that does what Basil Fawlty did to his little Austin Countryman, and gets a damn good thrashing. It rounds up a collection that throws out huge walls of sound in a therapeutic outpouring. A genuine visceral, in-your-face gorgeousness. Absolutely no quarter asked or given with a real feelgood factor.

Here’s Aftermath from the album:

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