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Devin Townsend - Ziltoid The Omniscient CD (album) cover

ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.18 | 530 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Mr. Townsend, with the birth of a child, had decided to lay off the heavy touring schedules for a while, which meant that he was going to do some solo work and put "Strapping Young Lad" on hiatus for a while. So, he makes this album, all by himself. It made a lot of his fans hesitant, especially when they started to find out that it was comedic concept album. What in the world is this?

Well, anyone else would have probably ended up with a cheesy sounding album trying to mix comedy and loud and heavy progressive tech metal together. But not DT. Even though this is full of humor, DT gives it all the emotion, orchestration and heart that he has given all of his albums.

One thing I noticed on this album, right off the bat, is that he has mixed the vocals closer to the front on most of the songs. The reason for this, I would assume, is to bring the importance of the story to the foreground. Truly funny lyrics, serious heavy metal with some quieter passages throughout, and so much heart that this is still an album to take seriously. As per usual, with DT's music, you get the rest of the instruments mixed at pretty much the same level, unless there is something that needs to stand out. This always gives me the feeling of listening not so much to a rock band as listening to a rock orchestra. His music is very symphonic most times, and it certainly is here on this album, and he can do this without using any traditional symphonic instruments. The sound is full, and even on the softer and slower passages, there is a lot going on. This time around, it is all being done by one man, DT himself.

The highlights in the story to me are when Ziltoid is pondering things and, even with his comic sounding deep voice, the delivery gives the character so much believability. Sure it's silly, but if this creature existed, it wouldn't be silly in his heart, it is serious business. Of course, another highlight throughout the album is the symphonic feeling that you get from DT's music, like I mentioned before. The harmonies are spot on again, they are created by layering of course since DT is the only participant on this album. I've always loved DT's sense of harmonics. I also love the use of dynamics, and DT knows how to make dynamics work to create power in his music, even when the music is at it's most beautiful.

The one minor problem I have with this album is the lack of variety that DT's best albums have. I really expected heaviness from this album because of the story line. I know that extreme metal is DT's intention for this album, so that's how it is. I still love the album, but I don't consider it as good as "Terria" for example. It's not that I don't love heavy music, because I do, but I do also expect more frequent use of dynamics because I feel it makes the music more powerful. DT usually takes care of this issue quite well in the albums I like more in his discography, and when it happens in this album, it is most welcome, but I would have liked to hear more dynamism. That's it and I know that is a personal preference, so if you don't mind all of the loudness, then you will love this album, as long as you don't mind the comedic factor.

So, overall, this is an excellent effort by DT. It has the traits you've come to expect from him. I think it's great that he still keeps his high expectations even on a not-so-serious concept. I still give this a strong 4 star rating, because I still can't help but love DT's music and I have always been attracted to it ever since I first heard of him (thanks to the co-worker in Greeley, CO that pushed me to listen to more of his music back in 2008). No lack of emotion in this album and no lack of progressive metal here either.

TCat | 4/5 |

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