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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

vermilion_helix
5 stars There are two ways in which I viewed this album. Firstly, as an excellent Prog album and as an album with masterfully crafted concept in it~

Let's talk about the musical aspect from the album, Ziltoid the Omniscient offers the musicality level that I could classify as ones among the high-tier levels. It highly impressed me how Mr. Devin Townsend was able to arrange all this incredible songs by himself, in addition of playing all the instruments in addition of programming all the drum riffs using the software 'Drumkit from Hell'. Damn, I couldn't believe how much dedication and hard work was put to be able to muster such thing all by himself.

The sonic quality is album could be considered really good to me although it doesn't gave the grand atmospheric feeling included in albums mixed and produced by Steven Wilson. Nevertheless I gave one more thumbs up to Mr. Townsend for his production and mixing skills~

Briefly describing the musical styles of this album, it's mostly centered around Townsend's unique guitar riffs, vocal arrangements and the heavy drumbeats produced by 'Drumkit from Hell'. In between the vocals there's also spoken words from various characters featured in the album like 'Ziltoid the Omniscient', 'Captain Spectacular', 'The Planet Smasher' and other casts including Ziltoid's minions and the Omnidimensional Creator, the spoken words syncs perfectly along with the arrangements. All of the spoken words were voiced by Devin and I think he's done a really good job at voice acting in this album, I'm looking forward to the shows with him playing a voice acting role.

Getting more into detail about the musical aspects, I'm highly impressed with sir Devin's guitar work for creating unique guitar riffs and brilliant solos throughout the album. In addition, the atmospheric arrange by the keyboards and synthesizers, although doesn't provide many technical improvisations, it produces a 'Fully Atmospheric' feel that brings the sense of an epic spacey adventure story to the music, eliminating all the lonely silence with the guitar and drums alone, I like it a lot.

Some of few cons I have to note, it's probably about my speakers but I couldn't really hear the bassline plays on this record so I can't really give my comments about the bass playing. Also, even though the drum sounds produced by 'Drumkit from Hell' is awesome, mostly from Devin's brilliant programming, the drum riffs are pretty much repetitive and to me the drums only serve to complement the guitar plays in order to gave a heavier feel to the song~

Even with the short lack of experimentation of the instrumentals, there still a spark of genius in the vocal arrangements with variety of effects added to create the feel of 'spacey'. Mr. Townsend's singing is really powerful and I believe his vocal abilities are amongst the top-tiers on Progressive Metal. For me the vocals are one of the strong points of the musical aspect along with the guitars. Overall, this album has an excellent musical rewards to offer although I can't really gave a masterpiece rating to this album just based on the music alone because the lack of instrumental experimentation on some parts.

And now we're on to the conceptual aspects of this album..this is the one aspect which makes me sure enough to give 5 Stars. The first things I wanna say is...

ALL HAIL ZILTOID!

Yeah, Devin had made such a memorable character, Ziltoid the Omniscient. He's one of my most recognized characters in Prog Rock concept albums along with Rael from the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis. This is one of the first things I wanna say about the album concepts, unlike most concept albums in Prog where the characters featured doesn't really become more than just stills to express the band's musical ideas, in ZTO album the characters really come to life by Devin Townsend's magic touch! I still remember vividly how the characters talk like : Ziltoid, Captain Spectacular, the Planet Smasher, the Omnidimensional Creator. Truly an innovation I'd say, I would watch the Ziltoid movie with full anticipation if it ever come to fruition.

Some background itself about the story idea, Mr. Townsend wants to mix comedy and metal by creating a story about Ziltoid who's searching for...the finest cup of coffee and eventually founds himself in Earth. Because he thinks that Earth was hiding their finest coffee bean he sets forth to invade Earth where he meets the challenge of his archnemesis, Captain Spectacular, an epic battle between them soon begins as the album plays around. I admit the story itself made me laugh but it turns out to be more of an epic adventure story rather than hilarious comedy one.

Once in his interviews about this peculiar album, he says that after he tried to combine metal and comedy, he realized that idea doesn't really work at all. I strongly disagree with that, Mr. Townsend. You've created rare masterpiece by trying out some new ideas like this, it really works wonders and you should have more confidence in this incredible work of art!

While the story itself is pretty straightforward and simple with nothing really extravagant, I find it really interesting to follow up until its completion. This explains you don't need an overly complex and philosophical idea to create a truly enjoyable concept album and this album proves it. The overwhelming passion of Devin Townsend has brought fruition to one of my favorite albums and I wish for his great success on all of his musical endeavors, bravo!

vermilion_helix | 5/5 |

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