Devin Garrett Townsend (born May 5, 1972) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He founded extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad and was its primary songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist from 1994 to 2007. He has also had an extensive solo career and has released a total of 25 albums across all of his projects as of 2020.
After performing in a number of heavy metal bands in high school, Townsend was discovered in 1993 by a record label who asked him to perform lead vocals on Steve Vai's album Sex & Religion. After recording and touring with Vai, he was discouraged by what he found in the music industry and vented his anger on his 1995 solo album Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing, which he released under the pseudonym Strapping Young Lad. He soon assembled a band of the same name, with whom he released the critically acclaimed album 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 HevyDevy Records label.
Townsend's solo albums have featured a varying lineup of supporting musicians and are a mix of hard rock, progressive metal, ambient, and new-age. In 2002, he formed the Devin Townsend Band, which recorded and toured for two of his solo releases. In 2007, he 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 recording again and soon announced the formation of the Devin Townsend Project. This band began with a series of four albums, released from 2009 to 2011 and each written in a different genre. Townsend continued to record and tour under the new moniker until January 2018.
Across all his bands and solo projects, Townsend has released 23 studio albums and four live albums. His trademark production style, featuring a heavily multi-tracked wall of sound, has been compared to the styles of Robert Fripp and Frank Zappa. His vocal delivery ranges from screaming to an opera-esque singing, while his musical style is rooted in metal and his albums are written to express different aspects of his personality.