If you want to know what a mental breakdown sounds like from the inside, look no further than the fourth album from Devin Townsend’s extreme metal project. In preparation for writing this album, Townsend purposefully stopped taking medication intended to treat severe bi-polar disorder, and from the first blasting notes of the opening track ‘Imperial’, you know you’re in for a rollercoaster ride of rage, depravity and neurotic lunacy. The album manages to maintain a mind-blowing balance between absurd, discordant brutality and soaring, beautiful melodies, with choirs of children adding an uncomfortable harmony to the frenetic guitar work of Devin and Jed Simon. It also showcases Gene Hoglan’s outstanding skills as a drummer, capable of launching into immense speed and precision whilst somehow maintaining tasteful grooves and restraint. It’s not an album for the faint-hearted, but those with brave ears will find themselves engulfed in the dark, twisted world of Townsend’s most violent psychosis. Its the soundtrack to your worst nightmares, and to this day is one of Devin Townsend’s finest productions.
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