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Devin Townsend - Ziltoid the Omniscient CD (album) cover

ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.21 | 425 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars ...and music? Well, it's just entertainment, folks.

This quotation taken from the most critically acclaimed album by Devin Townsend to date - Terria - may very well put his entire career in a nutshell for his many fans. Having created so much music throughout the last decade, Devin Townsend, or as his followers like to call him, 'Crazy Devy', could never be blamed for making his music sloppily, yet he always knew the best way to combine a thorough approach and a bit of humour in the process. Those who are familiar with any of his work do not need to be told that Devin has no problems with not taking himself too seriously, as Townsend's music always contains surprising, serendipitous twists, his lyrics possess a quality that often borders on the ridiculous and his on stage presence includes bizarre antics, such as insulting his fans in ways considered unacceptable by many "prog" musicians. His aficionados know better, however, than to be offended by Devin's remarks, as they have learned well to accept the duality of his extremely charismatic work and on stage presence.

Ziltoid The Omniscient is simultaneously a unique and an ordinary album for Devin Townsend. The first thing to notice is that no session musicians or group mates have been used for the recording process. When you listen to the album, remember that every note, voice and sound has been played, recorded and produced by the man himself. That should drop you a hint that this album may be considered the essence of his work, especially because several themes and parts of different composition have a strong sense of déjà vu about them, and a person familiar with Devin's work will notice affinities with his previous albums (both solo and as a member of Strapping Young Lad) as flashbacks are provoked in his memory. The compositions on the album vary greatly and range from short and heavy numbers closer to his SYL material, seemingly radio friendly, emotional and down-to-earth songs and great epics with changing themes and quirky, spacey melodies. The album, as one would expect from Devin, is achingly memorable (if talking about riffs and melodies, vocal lines and lyrics) and contains some of his catchiest material to date. However, while the music may not particularly flabbergast anyone who has before experienced Infinity, Synchestra and any of his SYL work, the lyrics department deserve their own place for description.

'Eccentric' and 'comic' are the first adjectives that instantly come to one's mind whilst describing this concept album's story and lyrical content. The story is irony-filled and could be considered a great parody of many things at once: the sympathetic character common to DT's albums, silly concepts in the Prog-Metal genre(Devin must be the only one in the 'scene' - if such even exists - who is fully aware that his story is not meant to be taken seriously), cheesy science fiction and Townsend's career as a whole. The entire story of a hostile omniscient alien Ziltoid threatening to destroy our planet is a daydream of a layabout who works at a coffee shop and entertains himself by imagining such ridiculous stories. In his dream Ziltoid The Omniscient (or, as proved later by the protagonist Captain Spectacular, The Nerd) finds an unusual excuse to make an attack by requesting the Earth's ultimate cup of coffee. Disappointed by the gift (Fetid! How dare they present this to me! Foul, they hide their finest bean. Attack! ), Devin proceeds to mercilessly decimate the planet's population. The story henceforth keeps getting progressively more difficult to follow until failure leads Ziltoid to bitter enlightenment about his role and existence. One has to listen to the album on his own to experience the story instead of reading about it in a review, hence my very brief description. Depending on your type of sense of humour, the concept may seem either hilarious, unusual or nonsensical.

In conclusion, Ziltoid The Omniscient is a delightful new release from Devin Townsend that should please every person who has already become a fan of his work. Furthermore, if you still have not introduced his music to yourself this may be the perfect album to do so, as the common traits of the man's music are all here, without making the album ordinary and predictable even for his standards. If, on the other hand, his previous work was not of any interest to you, it is very doubtful that this record will change your mind. All in all, when it comes to Progressive Metal that does not take itself too seriously, Townsend's new album is a winner this year, especially knowing that the latest Sigh album is unfortunately a dud.

It can be predicted that the artist's followers will receive his latest output very warmly, and silly lines such as I am so omniscient, if there were to be two omniscientses, I would be both! will turn classic extremely quickly. While I do not feel this album is exactly a masterpiece, it is completely worth your time all things considered.

A solid 4-star album.

Trickster F. | 4/5 |

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