Devin Garret Townsend (born May 5, 1972) is a Canadian musician and record producer. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist in extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad from 1994 to 2007 and has had an extensive career as a solo artist.
After performing in a number of metal bands in high school, Townsend was discovered by a record label in 1993 and was asked to perform lead vocals on Steve Vai’s album Sex & Religion. After recording and touring with Vai, Townsend was discouraged by what he found in the music industry, and vented his anger on a solo album released under the pseudonym Strapping Young Lad. He soon assembled a band under the name, and released the critically acclaimed City in 1997. Since then, he has released three more studio albums with Strapping Young Lad, along with solo material released under his own independent record label, HevyDevy Records. Townsend’s solo albums, a diverse mix of hard rock and progressive metal, have featured a varying lineup of supporting musicians. In 2002 he formed The Devin Townsend Band, a dedicated lineup which recorded and toured for two of his solo releases.
In 2007, Townsend disbanded both Strapping Young Lad and The Devin Townsend Band, taking a break from touring to spend more time with his family. After a two-year hiatus, he began work on a four-album series called The Devin Townsend Project, with each album written in a different style. The first two entries in the series, Ki and Addicted, were released in 2009. Townsend scheduled tours throughout Australia and North America in 2010 in support of the albums, and released the next two, Deconstruction and Ghost, in 2011.
Townsend’s trademark production style, featuring a heavily multitracked wall of sound, has been compared to the styles of Phil Spector and Frank Zappa. His versatile vocal delivery ranges from screaming to an opera-esque singing, and his songwriting is similarly diverse. Townsend’s musical style is rooted in metal, and his albums are written to express different aspects of his personality.