He does, you know. There comes a time when all of the yelling gets to a be a bit too much to listen to. Dev has mentioned a couple of times recently how tired he is with the RARGH GRAGH WAAARGH in metal, and as someone who has to listen to a heck of a lot of it, I concur. Devin Townsend is a pretty good barometer of When Things Start To Suck, actually.
Back in '97 I saw him play in my hometown, Sheffield, with Strapping Young Lad. This was my first experience of the man live. Back then, nu-metal was very much the 'in' thing, and Dev unleashed a tirade against the likes of Coal Chamber, with the funny hair and the two-note riffs that were the order of the day. The same thing is happening now, to a certain extent, with the same bloody things cropping up in metal all of the damn time.
Double bass. Sweep picking. Harsh verse/clean chorus. Chuggy breakdown. More sweep picking. Cloned haircuts. branded clothes. What the fuck is happening? Did I miss a meeting, or is a big chunk of metal disappearing up its own arse faster than you can say 'bandwagon'?
Don't get me wrong, I love extreme metal, but there has to be more on your plate in order to have a balanced diet, y'know? There's more to playing metal than sounding like everyone else. That's kind of the whole point.
Devin's current project, the four-album set that began with 'Ki' and continues in November with 'Addicted' is a great example of a musician stretching themselves and doing something different to the heard, as well as different from their own back catalogue.
Check out the clips over at the Devin Townsend Myspace page, and get a load of a man making music that is damn heavy without being damn repetitive. Metal does have its boundaries, but it would be nice if they were blurred a little more often. This brief tirade is not aimed at the whole metal scene, as there are some incredible artists doing incredible things, but there are also countless bands whose image and music are easily confused.
You may now get back to learning those tricky sweeps and getting your hair just right. Make sure you're wearing the right t-shirt in your promo photos, or you may not look like everyone else, and wouldn't that be terrible?