Devin Townsend Project

Disc 1: Sky Blue
01. Rejoice
02. Fallout
03. Midnight Sun
04. A New Reign
05. Universal Flame
06. Warrior
07. Sky Blue
08. Silent Militia
09. Rain City
10. Forever
11. Before We Die
12. The Ones Who Love
Disc 2: Dark Matters
01. Z2
02. From Sleep Awake
03. Ziltoidian Empire
04. War Princess
05. Deathray
06. March Of The Poozers
07. Wandering Eye
08. Earth
09. Ziltoid Goes Home
10. Through The Wormhole
11. Dimension Z

Devin Townsend: Vocals, Guitar, Keys, Programming
Ryan Van Poederooyen: Drums
Dave Young: Guitar, Keys
Brian Waddell: Bass
Mike St-Jean: Keyboards, Synths, Programming

Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing (Strapping Young Lad 1995)
Punky Brüster – Cooked on Phonics (Devin Townsend solo 1996)
City (Strapping Young Lad 1997)
Ocean Machine: Biomech (Devin Townsend solo 1997)
Infinity (Devin Townsend solo 1998)
Physicist (Devin Townsend solo 2000)
Terria (Devin Townsend solo 2001)
Strapping Young Lad (Strapping Young Lad 2003)
Accelerated Evolution (Devin Townsend Band 2003)
Devlab (Devin Townsend solo 2004)
Alien (Strapping Young Lad 2005)
The Hummer (Devin Townsend solo 2006)
Synchestra (Devin Townsend Band 2006)
The New Black (Strapping Young Lad 2006)
Ziltoid the Omniscient (Devin Townsend solo 2007)
Ki (Devin Townsend Project 2009)
Addicted (Devin Townsend Project 2009)
Deconstruction (Devin Townsend Project 2011)
Ghost (Devin Townsend Project 2011)
Epicloud (Devin Townsend Project 2012)
The Retinal Circus (Devin Townsend Project 2013)

Randy Slaugh – live symphony, string arranging, engineering
Anneke Van Giersbergen: Vocals
Chris Jericho: vocals (as "Captain Spectacular")
Dominique Lenore Persi: vocals (as "War Princess")


Released 2014-10-27
Reviewed 2014-10-16



Regardless of how you like him, there's something you just have to love about Devin Townsend and his many strange and weird ideas. 'Z2' is the second Ziltoid album and it's a double album about this space alien and his universe. It's an ambitious project and this spring it will be converted to theatre royalty as Townsend and his crew will make a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. If you'd like to get the best out of that performance then I recommend you to put your teeth in this album and have a bite.

The first disc on the 'Z2' album is surprisingly "normal" to be a Devin Townsend production and it's remarkably poor on his trademarked crazyness. However, as we enter disc two it's clear why the first disc is so "normal" as Devin - that tricky bastard - has saved all his crazy jokes and weird ideas for this disc. And crazy it gets. And weird too, I promise! And plenty of it as well!

Despite the "normalness" of the music on the first disc, there is nothing normal about the quality of the music. The Devin Townsend craziness might be missing but not his musical craftsmanship. The second disc completely loose all sense in the sensitive sense, sensitively speaking, but the first disc has both feet on the ground and offers you plenty of ideas worth paying for. Normally Devin destroys so many of his great tracks by adding too much interruptions to the music - like progressive ideas that halts the flow and tempo changes. I also think the album is surprisingly soft, if that's a sensible word in this context? There are plenty of choirs and lots of keyboards on the album, plenty of radio friendlyness - or pop-factor, if you like it so. The entire 57 minute long run is exciting and most of the songs are not just good but great! I say exciting but it's not really "WOW" exciting… more a sort of "mmhhmmm" exciting feeling. Kind of like "sitting-in-the-reading-arm-chair-with-a-pipe-in-the-mouth-and-a-funny-hat-(kind-of-like-the-one-Sherlock-Holmes-used-to-have)-and-nod-in-assent-with-a-news-paper-in-the-hand" exciting. Likeable. Nice. Neat… more or less. Let's just say: Good for your sense.

Part two then… well, that's just something over the top - even compared to what Devin Townsend normally does. The hour it last is suppose to be some sort of "metal fairytale" where we hear the story of Ziltoid and his spectacular meating with "The Planet smasher" and other characters in the story, like Captain Spectacular, the Poozers and The War Princess. Much of it is a story told with a narrator and spoken words but like in an opera there are also a story told in the music and lyrics. In the beginning it's kind of OK, they start of a bit like the first disc but with a narrator that comes in and speaks some words. Soon, though, it takes a downturn and you start to doubt it already by the second track when we're introduced to both Captain Spectacular and Ziltoid and also hear some conversations between characters in the story. At the same time there are also some really brilliant stuff going on here, like when the female choirs repeats the phrase "dominate dominate dominate dominate" and some of the orchestral waves are just splendid. However, as the second disc continue it just keeps getting worse and worse. The narrated parts becomes more frequent, the conversation between characters in the story comes more and more often and story is just so seriously stupid you just can't accept the universe they present in this tale.

At the same time as you laugh at this profoundly dumb little story and shake your head at how twisted Mr Townsends mind must be when he creates such a story you can't help yourself from laughing out spontaneously every now and then. Some parts of the music that slips through all the conversations and narrations are pretty decent and I can imagine that at his Royal Albert Hall performance, Mr Townsend will completely amuse the heads off the people that has come to see the show. Listening to this tale on the album is a different story. Sure, it's funny and sometimes even entertaining but after this review I'm guessing the second disc will be a dust collector while the first disc probably will do a run or two every now and then.

So… with all that said, how can we summarise this album? Well, the simple way to put it is to say it's a diverse album. It has two very clear sides - one with a heavenly music experience that reminds me of these paintings over the heaven by Michelangelo or Guercino, at least I've always imagines that the angels playing harps and such on those painting would play something like this but I don't know about anyone else. The second disc, well… that's something Devin Townsend would be more or less the only person in the world to think of. He and at most a handful of lunatics in the same delusional state of mind. To some people that has become adults without leaving the mind-set of a five year old it might be amusing but to most of us it's just a bit comical with long between the laughs and music way below the quality from the first disc. But are you planning to go to his Royal Albert Hall show or another similar show where he reenact this tale then I guess it's a must have. To me, though, it makes no difference.

After some albums that hasn't impressed I think this album is a positive surprise to me. Definitely top ten this year!




Label: InsideOut
Three similar bands: Strapping Young Lad/Devin Townsend Band/Tesseract
Rating: HHHHHHH (6/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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