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Devin Townsend – Snuggles/The Puzzle

Devin Townsend – Snuggles/The Puzzle

Devin Townsend - Snuggles / The Puzzle

  • Rating: 7/10
  • Release Date: 03 December, 2021
  • Label: HevyDevy Records
  • Musicians:
    Devin Townsend
  • Favorite songs:
    Minds Are Changing, Hammerhead Sugarplum

Devin Townsend, what can be said about the man? Self-professed workaholic and producer extraordinaire, capable of creating anything ranging from extreme metal (Strapping Young Lad) to tranquil ambient music (“The Hummer”, “Ghost”) and everything in between. “Empath”, his last album, was, in essence, his whole discography crammed together on a single record. Exhausting, brilliant and often incredibly cheesy at the same time.

Currently, Devin is working on a new record, entitled “Lightbringer”, which will be released later this year. Last December, he released two albums simultaneously, namely “Snuggles” and “The Puzzle“. The former represents calmness and the latter chaos. Let’s see what this proverbial yin and yang is all about.

Devin Townsend Portrait

Let’s start with “Snuggles” first. With 38 minutes it’s the shorter one of the two records. It’s basically a very soothing musical trip with very sparse instrumentation. It’s about layers upon layers of vocals and against a backdrop of ambient synthesizers. The tracks segue seamlessly in each other, thus creating the illusion of one continual listening experience. The music isn’t unlike one would hear at a spa. “Snuggles” is a showcase of the man’s versatility as a musician and songwriter. A worthy follow up to “Ghost”.

Devin Townsend – Snuggles Promo (Click here if the video does not play)

Onto “The Puzzle” then. Devin himself describes this particular album as an “elaborate and much more chilled version” of his “Devlab” album from 2004. Chaos is an apt description, because musically “The Puzzle” is all over the place. From more soothing, but nightmarishly tense tracks like ‘Life is but a Dream’ and ‘Anxiety in Pyjamas’ to more surprisingly Strapping Young Lad inspired ditties like ‘Yucky Lung’, ‘Hammerhead Sugarplume’ and ‘Me and The Moon’. They’re not quite as intense or extreme as the classic S.Y.L material, but they share the same creative madness. Other tracks like ‘Mother’, ‘Monuments of Glitch’ and the title track have more in common with “Empath” when it comes to structure and atmosphere.

Devin Townsend – The Puzzle Promo (Click here if the video does not play)

At first, the album comes across as a bunch of ideas haphazardly thrown together, but after a couple of spins, you’ll discover there is a certain method to this madness. Devin may not reach the dizzying heights of Ulver’s heralded ambient works like “Teachings In Silence” and “ATGCLVLSSCAP”, but “The Puzzle” is an interesting musical adventure nonetheless.

Devin intended “Snuggles” and “The Puzzle” as a stopgap between “Empath” and the upcoming “Lightbringer” record in order to “purge himself and be completely creatively free”. This certainly clarifies the stream of conscious type approach on “Snuggles” and “The Puzzle”. It’s refreshing to hear Devin explore other musical avenues, but both albums are hardly essential releases in the overall Devy discography.

“Snuggles” Tracklist

  1. Beyond Measure
  2. Blue Dot
  3. Drifting And Dreaming
  4. Sundance
  5. Minds Are Changing
  6. The Ocean
  7. Distant, Elegant
  8. Replikiss
  9. I Agree
  10. Tryst
  11. Sunset Rump
  12. The Option

“The Puzzle” Tracklist:

  1. Chromatic Ridge
  2. Life Is But A Dream
  3. Yucky Lung
  4. Kittenhead
  5. Shark In The Ice
  6. Devil In The Details
  7. Hammerhead Sugarplum
  8. Me And The Moon
  9. Anxiety in Pyjamas
  10. The Yugas
  11. Albert Hall
  12. StarChasm
  13. Perfect Owl
  14. Maybe Over The Void
  15. Light Year Whale
  16. FrogFlowers
  17. Mother
  18. Southern Sky Geometry
  19. The Puzzle
  20. Monuments Of Glitch

About the Author


Raymond is a fourty something Dutch male, very much into travelling, foreign languages and cultures, history, philosophy, reading, architecture, art and literature. Lately dabbling somewhat with writing and urban photography. Has a healthy appreciation for King Crimson, Ulver, Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Cynic, Charles Mingus, Tool, Deftones, Omar Rodríguez-López/The Mars Volta, Isis, Anathema, The Gathering, Mike Patton/Faith No More, Meshuggah, Snarky Puppy, Nevermore, Chelsea Wolfe, The Comet Is Coming, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, The Cinematic Orchestra and much more.

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