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Devin Townsend - The Retinal Circus CD (album) cover


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

4.68 | 64 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars With Retinal Circus Devin Townsend takes us on a theatrical retrospective of his musical career to date. If you aren't familiar with this man's musical output, then do yourself a favor and become so right away, because Devin is an amazing force in music lurking in the Experimental/Post Metal genre here on Prog Archives (with only two albums in the top 20... practically criminal!). If you're interested in reading more about the music itself, check out any of my reviews of his albums where I continually need to come up with new adjectives to describe and gush over his exceptionally entertaining music.

As for the Retinal Circus itself, it's hard to imagine a more crowd pleasing experience. If you're a fan of Townsend, this live album is practically mandatory. The production value is through the roof. With this DVD version you get: the video concert, the CD audio, and some groovy packaging extras. The concert video itself shows off Devin's tongue-in-cheek sense of humor excellently, with consumes, extras, special effects, voice overs, puppets... and a bunch of other stuff I won't spoil. It's a poor-man's stage musical, but that's sort of the point. There are lots of jokes and fun poked at rock music and the concert-going experience in general. It's rare that a concert DVD makes itself the preferred purchase, but this is the best example I can think of.

The musical performances are first-rate, with the inclusion of a full choir and live vocals by Devin's frequent collaborate Van Giersbergen the perfect touch. It's a sign of genuine talent that Devin and his band of excellent backing musicians can replicate the complexity of his studio work on stage.

Ironically, the album's selling point as a retrospective is one point that doesn't quite deliver. The set list isn't as comprehensive as it could have been. Large percentages of the set list come from Epicloud, Ziltoid, and Infinity. We get nothing from Terria (what is considered on Prog Archives as his best album) or Accelerated Evolution (another great release), or Ki. This will bum out some more than others; personally, I love Epicloud, but think that we're missing something by favoring some material more heavily than others.

So, a minor quibble, but not enough to take away the razzle dazzle and enjoyment that any fan of Townsend will walk away from with the Retinal Circus. As a live album it doesn't get much better than this.

Set list: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Stage/Energy: 5 - Live Experience: 5

Prog Leviathan | 5/5 |


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