Devin Townsend Wikia

Ocean Machine: Biomech is the second studio album by Canadian musician Devin Townsend. Ocean Machine was intended to be the band name, in opposition to Strapping Young Lad and City, with Biomech as the album name; once Infinity was released under Townsend's name, the cover was altered to bill his name as the artist, with Biomech becoming a subtitle. The album, referred to simply as Ocean Machine, was released in July 1997 on Townsend's label, HevyDevy Records. description[]

This album I could NOT get signed. A great deal of this music was material I had been writing for many years prior to my experience with Steve Vai on his 'Sex & Religion' album. It was similar in theme and vibe to the melodic elements of Noisescapes, but it was not music from those sessions. The Vai album had sold to a gold status in Japan through Sony Music, and by advice of the A&R rep, Naoki Takada, it was suggested I start my own label which would allow them to license the music and capitalize on the momentum of the Vai success. I did so, and began the arduous process of recording this album.

Fraught with problems from day one, Ocean Machine was a labor of love that was born more out of adversity than almost anything else. I had signed a non-exclusive deal with Century Media for Strapping Young Lad, (as even they at the time didn't understand the direction that this music was intending to go). I recorded the bed tracks in Vancouver at The Factory Studios (The same studio I would end up making the 4 DTP albums at) with an amazing drummer named Marty Chapman and a monster of a bassist, John 'Squid' Harder. The tracking was difficult, and there was no editing as of course, at that time it was done to 2" tape.

When the music was finished, I recorded a great deal of the vocals and keyboards in my basement suite in Burnaby B.C. on ADAT machines. The recording quality was not ideal for many reasons, and I decided to enlist my new friend Daniel Bergstrand, (whom I had met during the production of the album 'Pigwalk' by Stuck Mojo) as the mixing engineer. We mixed the album in Malaga Spain where Daniel was living, in 3 of the most stressful weeks I had encountered. Every technical hurdle imaginable plagued the mix, and the thoughts that it was 'doomed' were present throughout the whole process. Somehow though, as fate would have it, it was finished and releasing to widespread confusion in 1997. I'm very proud of this album, and has a very obvious 'blue' feeling to me.


Material for Ocean Machine: Biomech had been around since the time Devin Townsend was touring with Steve Vai in support of Sex & Religion. The album was recorded in studio around December 1995, but was delayed for release until late 1996. Prior to its release, Townsend was unsatisfied with the recordings and re-recorded the album from scratch. The re-recordings were done at Townsend's home studio with instrumentation help from Marty Chapman, JR Harder, Chris Valagao of Zimmers Hole, and John Morgan.


Ocean Machine featured a mix of hard rock, ambient music, and progressive metal. The album was the follow-up and emotional opposition to the critically acclaimed City by Townsend's extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad. Townsend considered Strapping Young Lad a "little project" that he considered a "parody" and not the intended focus of his music, but lamented that Ocean Machine, which he described as "the music that was really close to me," was largely dismissed upon its release.

Many of the tracks on the album, such "Seventh Wave," "Life," and "Regulator" have become live staples during Devin's career; however, "Bastard" and "The Death of Music" did not make their debut until April 2015, later released on Ziltoid Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

"Things Beyond Things" is a Noisescapes demo featured as a bonus track on all versions. After it ends, an intense, distorted scream echoes out, ending the album.

The album is specifically referenced in the post-Ocean Machine demo "Ocean Machines" from Ass-Sordid Demos. "Sister" is sampled in the ambience ending "Traveller" on Accelerated Evolution. "Voices in the Fan" is recalled in "Color Your World" on Ziltoid the Omniscient. A riff in "Regulator" forms the basis of "Om" from the Christeen (Plus Four Demos) EP. "Bastard" is referenced in "Rain City" on Sky Blue. "The Death of Music" reuses a prechorus melody from "Japan," a bonus track from the first SYL album Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing (also released as a bonus on No Sleep 'till Bedtime).


Ocean Machine: Biomech was released in July 1997. When Townsend was unable to get the album picked up by a record label, he founded his own independent record label, HevyDevy Records, to release his solo material. The album was distributed in Canada by HevyDevy, in Europe and America by InsideOut Music, and in Japan by Sony.

The album sold 12,000 copies in Japan in its first week of release.[1] Although musically straying from Townsend's extreme metal work in Strapping Young Lad, Ocean Machine: Biomech was met with favorable reviews. Metal Hammer praised it as a "concept album akin to the sensuality and escapism of Pink Floyd, [as] Devin lyrically and musically explores real and not particularly uplifting topics such as death, isolation, and depression."[2] Noise Level Critical wrote that "anyone who heard the [Steve] Vai album Sex & Religion will know that Townsend's voice is top-notch, with the ability to go from aggressive bark, to high-pitched wail, to soft emotional whisper in the space of one song."[3]

InsideOut released the album on black or limited blue vinyl in 2012. Side A contains tracks 1-4, side B 5-9, side C 10&11, and side D 12&13.

Track listing[]

All titles written by Devin Townsend.

  1. "Seventh Wave" (6:50)
  2. "Life" (4:31)
  3. "Night" (4:45)
  4. "Hide Nowhere" (5:00)
  5. "Sister" (2:48)
  6. "3 A.M." (1:56)
  7. "Voices in the Fan" (4:39)
  8. "Greetings" (2:53)
  9. "Regulator" (5:06)
  10. "Funeral" (8:06)
  11. "Bastard" (10:17)
    "Not One of My Better Days"
    "The Girl From Blue City"

  12. "The Death of Music" (12:15)
  13. "Things Beyond Things" (4:47)


  • Devin Townsend – vocals, guitar, keyboards, production, mixing, editing
  • JR Harder – bass
  • Marty Chapman – drums
  • Chris Valagao – backing vocals
  • John Morgan – keyboards, samples, engineering
  • Matteo Caratozzolo – editing
  • Tim Oberthier – engineering
  • Sheldon Zaharko – engineering
  • Daniel Bergstrand – recording, mixing
  • Victor Morden – mixing assistance
  • Masa Noda – artwork
  • Daniel Collins – artwork

External links[]