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Devin Townsend - Infinity CD (album) cover

INFINITY

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.65 | 158 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Devy At His Breaking Point

Warning: this review is about the entire INFINITY project, not just this album.

INFINITY was Devin Townsend's second solo release, and came at a time when he was mentally falling apart. Shortly after this album came out, he put himself in the hospital and was diagnosed with Bipolar illness. Besides his personal issues, there were reportedly alot of technical difficulties as well. As a result, the record company finally forced Devin's hand and he had to give them the songs he had finished rather than the full album he had envisioned. (He was already far behind schedule, and things were looking rough for completion any time soon.) As a result, INFINITY as it was released feels like exactly what it is, a collection of songs that were sequenced and linked after the fact. There are some great immense atmospheric pieces and some novelties, and they tend to bounce from style to style. As it happens, I love the more experimental quirky songs on this album as well or more than similar ventures on his other discs. However, they break the continuum of the soundscape. With the release of the Christeen EP, the remainder of the material was released, again in a kind of mishmash with an assortment of ideas.

The original track order was to be 1. Truth 2. Processional (parts 2-4 from the EP) 3. Christeen 4. War 5. Starchild Rise (part 1 of Processional from the EP) 6. Soul Driven 7. OM (from the EP, part of his current live set) 8. Life is All Dynamics 9. Unity. Reconstructing this using whatever music software at your disposal (as the demos are quite high quality) will result in a very different INFINITY. Like OCEAN MACHINE or SYNCHESTRA, this album flows, taking the listener on a inner journey that is simply beautiful. Several songs take on a completely new feel based on the emotions that went before. "Christeen," a poppish single that I never liked by itself or within the original album sequence, emerges from an intense brain melt as a cruise on a motorcycle with the wind in your face. The rises and falls of "War" work much better.

Four songs from the release version are omitted. The first "Bad Devil" is a great tongue in cheek, almost vaudeville song that is much better than the similarly conceived "Vampira / Vampolka" off SYNCHESTRA. "Ants" is an insane piece of experimentation that I'm sure is too much for some listeners, but I love. It almost evokes Mr. Bungle at places with manic circus-y sections alternating with free time chaos. "Wild Colonial Boy" is a slightly overbaked waltz that again is fun but forgetable. "Noisy Pink Bubbles" actually reminds me a little that Devin was once a bandmate of Steve Vai's, and points back toward FLEX-ABLE to a degree during its introduction. Along with "Sit in the Mountain" from the Christeen EP, these songs would have made a wonderful EP bonus to the album as Devin intended it to be.

The core songs (appearing on both versions) are epic, grand, ambitious works where Devin is clearly trying to understand the meaning of, well, Infinity. (He would make fun of thise aspect of himself almost 10 years later on Ziltoid.) The opener "Truth" alternates between a vocal that sounds like munchkins singing "Money money money" in unison with a heavily distorted guitar with a gang vocal of "Hallelujah." It takes Townsend's immense sonic landscape to support such a grand project, and INFINITY definitely sees Devy making huge strides in the development of his trademark wall of sound. "War" and "Unity" are the kind of songs that I love Townsend for - psychedelic, textured, often heavy, but the kind of music that takes you to another world.

I cannot give the released album a full five stars. But the INFINITY project as a whole is an essential part of the Devy legacy. The EP is a must, of course. Highly recommended for those exploring the world of one of metal's most gifted muses.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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