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ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT

Devin Townsend

Experimental/Post Metal


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Devin Townsend Ziltoid the Omniscient album cover
4.21 | 425 ratings | 45 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. ZTO (1:17)
2. By Your Command (8:09)
3. Ziltoidia Attaxx! (3:42)
4. Solar Winds (9:46)
5. Hyperdrive (3:47)
6. N9 (5:30)
7. Planet Smasher (5:45)
8. Omnidimensional Creator (0:48)
9. Color Your World (9:44)
10. The Greys (4:15)
11. Tall Latté (1:03)

Total Time 53:46

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Devin Townsend / vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizers, drum programming, samples

Releases information

InsideOut Music

Album Cover/Layout by Travis Smith

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Presents: Ziltoid the OmniscientPresents: Ziltoid the Omniscient
Inside Out 2007
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$10.62 (used)
SynchestraSynchestra
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$10.99 (used)
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InfinityInfinity
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DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid the Omniscient ratings distribution


4.21
(425 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
39%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
34%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid the Omniscient reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by GoldenSpiral
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I often think that progressive metal suffers from taking itself too seriously. If that is the illness, then Devin Townsend is the cure. Townsend proves that you can be serious about music without taking your own music too seriously, and that is exactly what makes Ziltoid the Omniscient such a good record.

The album is a sci-fi/comedy concept record, and makes me think that if Douglas Adams ever wrote a metal record, it would probably sound like this. The story follows omniscient alien Ziltoid on his quest to discover the universe's greatest cup of coffee (an endeavor I can sympathize with...) The music is very competent and tightly produced. The thing that strikes me most is the sense of drama, and Townsend's ability to change tempo at just the right time to make the music feel the story (silly as it is, it does have some drama). The music ranges from extreme metal that almost resembles black metal to a more calm, almost psychedelic sound.

This album is definitely recommended for those with a taste for extreme progressive metal, and anyone who has ever thought that prog metal is a bit too pompous and just needs to lighten up for once.

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Send comments to GoldenSpiral (BETA) | Report this review (#124027) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Review by 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 déjā 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.

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Send comments to Trickster F. (BETA) | Report this review (#124081) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 31, 2007

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Curse you Devin Townsend! I do my best to limit a band's five star ratings and to avoid fanboyism, but this is the fourth classic by this modern genius. Ziltoid serves as the perfect close to the first chapter of his career, as it combines elements of the biting humor of Punky Bruster, the heaviness of Strapping Young Lad, and the ambiance of his solo work. His recent break from touring only enforces that stage one is complete. Ziltoid the Omniscient is a relief from the self-serious mentality that pervades prog metal and prog in general. Over a span of four months Devin wrote, recorded, and mixed the album by himself. Every instrument is either played or programmed by the Dev. The drum programming is near perfect, using Thomas Haake's Drumkit From Hell. The result is insanely technical drumming that alternates nicely between inhuman (duh) blastbeats, and mid-tempo crashes.

Ziltoid is a loose concept album that follows the story of the fourth-dimensional Ziltoid as he threatens the Earth for the perfect cup of coffee. He does so by pummeling the planet with his mighty guitar. The concept shifts several times to include the plight of Earth's hero Captain Spectacular, as well as to poke fun at his own career. Highlights are hard to pick out, as they're all magnificent. By Your Command sets the stage of the album by alternating tempos, moods, and vocals and Devin switches from shrieks to clean, airy vocals on a dime.Ziltoidia Attaxx! is one of the heaviest songs ever written by Devin, which is saying something. Despite the zany humor, songs like Solar Winds offer some soul-searching lyrics amongst the barrage of metal and wit. Every character is sung by Devin using different voices. Colour Your World is the climax of the concept, and it features Devin unleashing his incredible and unique scream as Ziltoid breaks down. The Greys is the perfect closer. It has wonderful vocals, monumental yet beautiful guitars, thunderous drums, and the trademark Devin ambiance.

This stands as Devin's most complex work yet, but it's also one of his most accessible. The varying moods, vocals, and melodies are dizzying. It isn't flawless, but it's topped my list of favorite 07 releases. With this release, Devin Townsend has crafted prog metal's Thick as a Brick. It is an irreverent concept album that mocks all other concept albums and the self-serious attitude that pollutes nearly all of progressive rock. Just remember, don't take it seriously, because Devin doesn't.

Grade: A-

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#125665) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A fabulously heavy, tongue-in-cheek DT entry which will easily catch the listener up in both its dramatic theatrics and unstoppable metal melodies-- "Ziltoid" is outstanding!

Townsend's vocal/guitar performances are amazing, as he portrays a cast of cosmic characters and their galactic guitar-wielding odyssey across the universe with his distinctive flair. But what really steals the show is the absolutely over-the-top songwriting, which is so utterly dead-pan serious and intense that the comical lyrics and premise will leave the listener threatening destruction to feeble humans everywhere-- not to mention attempting to summon the Planet Smasher in fits of omniscient pretension. "Ziltoid" is as essential as it gets.

Songwriting 5 Instrumental Performances 5 Lyrics/Vocals 5 Style/Emotion/Replay 5

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#137923) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Devin is a very clever person. He’s such a smart a…guy. Smart-a-guy. Yes, this is what exactly I wanted to say – INDEED!

First of all, he has freed himself from any responsibility when it appeared that ZTO is a concept albums’ parody. It means, if you just dislike it, there’s a reason for anyone to call you a close-minded snob, who failed to see the mocking idea and takes everything far too serious. Second, this album is a funny stuff; hence it summons positive emotions (to a listener), which are going to be mistakenly taken as a positive reaction on an album itself - INDEED! Is he kinda psychologist or something?

Down to album. It’s fun – INDEED! – but it fails to be as much amusing as Canterbury stuff or head-blowing NANOWAR / BEATALLICA guys. In fact, it’s too serious and well-elaborated musically (except for bonus CD with 15 minutes of “dreadful” material, as the almighty Ziltoid claims), even despite the fact of “one-man-band” situation here (kudos to DrumsFromHell, my faithful helper in my own music!), but due to jerky lyrics I refuse to take the whole thing seriously. Is this what the author wanted? INDEED! Or maybe not - because every time you’re about to start noticing some really funny stuff, Devin turns to more serious and Prog sides. Man, there should be no compromises: clown ‘till the end or serious all the time, no 50/50! Hence I’m rather disappointed; this is my first encounter with anything Devin-related and I doubt that I’d pick anything from his stuff soon – INDEED!!!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#142728) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 08, 2007

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I was really afraid before approaching this album...

The concept was a little silly, and the fact that Devin made this album alone, without extra help, made me be a little skeptical about the quality of the music included here... But after the first listening, all my fears were completely erased! This is just another incredible piece of work, and maybe the funiest alum that Mr.Townsend made... Uhhmm, well... This is probably one of the funiest albums I've ever heard!

The music included here is like a compilation of the whole Devin Townsend's career... We can hear ultra heavy passages on the vein of Strapping Young Lad (By Your Comand, Color Your World...), pop-metal songs approaching the style of "Ocean Machine" and "Accelerated Evolution" (Hyperdrive, The Greys...), evocative and beautiful parts on the vein of "Terria" or "Synchestra" (Color Your World again, Solar Winds...), ultra fast death metal hymns similar of the songs included in "Physicist" (N9, some fragments of Color Your World and Planet Smasher...) But of course, the innovation and the originality that Devin Townsend gives to every release, are still here...

This album can be taken like a self-tribute (the song Color Your World has some fragments of some others Devin's songs, for example...) but it's far from beeing repetitive after listening all the Devin Townsend's works... Thanks the amount of originality of the concept. The history here is surprisingly well recounted, and both the dialogs and "special effects" make this album a new experience for the Devin Townsend's fans, very funny and exciting to listen. And the music, of course, has a lot of new elements never heard before in any Townsend's work. Along with "Synchestra" and "Terria", this is the proggiest album he ever made... I'm still astonished of the capacity of this man of renewing himself realease after realease... But the quality of his music is the only fact that is always here!

Conclusion: another masterpiece from Devin... The funniest album he ever made, and a really really catching piece of work. I will never be tired of hearing it... If you are still skeptical about the quality of this album, give it a try... You will not regret! But you must be prepared to hearing the amount of variety and originality of this music, so you should open your mind before doing that... If you have heard some of the other Devin's albums, you should know that his music is not very conventional, and this is just another crazy carousel... If you don't know the work of this man, this is definetely an excellent point of entry!

My rating: *****

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#146709) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a great album from Devin. I am a big fan of Strapping Young Lad and to a leaser extent Devin Townsend Band. Ziltoid takes the best from both bands and combine it to a masterpiece of progressive music. The mellow atmospheric parts from Devin Townsend band and the raw heaviness from S.Y.L. are present throughout the album.

Devin plays everything on the album. The drums are not played by Devin though, he has programmed them using the Drumkit from Hell software that Meshuggah also used of Catch 33. Of course you can hear that the drums are not played by a human being, but this really comes close. Gene Hoglan has had a similar sound on some of his recordings both with Death and Strapping Young Lad. The click track that many heavy metal drummers use on their bassdrums sounds really artificial anyway. Bottom line is that this shouldnīt scare you away.

The ridiculous lyrics are really funny, almost Zappa like. I wonīt tell the story here, just point out that this is a concept album and a really humorous one.

Everything just clicks here, I really love this album. I would recommend this album to anyone. People who have listened to Strapping Young Lad and found it too heavy and people who have listened to Devin Townsend band and found it too atmospheric, should try this one out. The combination of the two genres just rocks. This is really great. Devin really outdid himself on Ziltoid the Omniscient.

A little funny thing for the fans is the Zappa like conceptual continuity in the song Color Your World. 27 sec. into the song there is a little melody piece from the middle section of the Strapping Young Lad song Wrong Side from the latest ( Last ?) album "The New Black". What a brilliant move and another sign of Devinīs genious. I hope he will keep this style for couple of album, allthough I doubt that Devin will agree on my request. The next album will probably be something completely different. But on the other hand thatīs the fachinating thing about mr. Townsend isnīt it ?

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Posted Sunday, December 02, 2007

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
5 stars And now an album review from the mighty Ziltoid.

Greetings humans, I am Ziltoid...the omniscient. I have come from far across the omniverse to present this album review of my latest recording. While I am writing this you shall fetch me your universe's ultimate cup of coffee... Black! You have five Earth minutes.

The first part of this conceptual masterpiece makes one very important observation. That I, Ziltoid is so omniscient that if there were to be two omnisciences's I would be both! Then the music kicks in at break neck speed on 'By Your Command'. A song that is guaranteed to blow your head off.... twice! Prepare yourselves for the subjugation! This track features brilliant time sig changes, progtastic lyrics and ambient levels of scintillating soundwave effects and did I mention the breakneck drum patterns? It is during this mindwarping song that my commander comes before me and I ask him, Have the humans delivered their ultimate cup of coffee? I sip it and my reaction is one of disgust! Fetid! How dare they present this to me! Foul! They hide their finest bean! Prepare the attack! The metalicious riffs ominously pound as if some machine were stalking searching for prey. And the musical mayhem continues.

But my commander tells me some bad news. The humans are preparing themselves for the attack! But I do not flinch and reply. Excellent! Have you prepared.the Planet Smasher? And the Planet Smasher is prepared to crush the puny planet. The human with the funny American War voice states: Now listen here men! We represent the planet Earth! I want no heroes! They are coming over the horizon as we speak! We gotta be ready to take them down! Hold your position men! Do not fire until I tell you to fire! Have you got that? The troops yell as one, Yessir! Captain Spektacular is ready to attack.

'Ziltoidia Attaxx' thrashes from the speakers and absolutely drives headlong with monster guitar riffing and huge wall of sound symphonic blasts. It has to be heard to appreciate its full metal onslaught.

'Solar Winds' slows things down indeed and is a beautiful prog classic. Then 'Hyperdrive' and 'N9' bring things up to speed with massive time signature changes and killer riffs to die for!

But, I, Ziltoid, feel like a good bit of entertainment.time to destroy the planets. Which one shall it be? This one? No.too feeble. This one.yes, perhaps. Yes. This one shall do nicely. Commander. Divert all the power from the main engines to the front guns and take ninety percent of the surplus power and divert it toward the sonar awakening device. We must summon the 6th dimensional planet smasher, I feel like a bit of fun.Summon him.

The Planet Smasher awakes and screeches, Who dares awaken the planet smasher! My reply is as strong as it needs to be, It is I, the 4th dimensional Ziltoid the omniscient! 'Planet Smasher' rips out unmercifully. It is an absolute thrash metal frenzy of relentless drumming, a barrage of choppy metal riffs and megablasts of bass and beyond. A metal feast.

This is followed by other classics such as 'Color Your World' and 'The Greys.' These two amazing songs are beautifully produced, well-sung psychedelic and memorable songs. In fact all the songs are memorable... indeed!

But the bonus disc is a real let down - Dreadful music... phooey and double phooey!

When you first hear my album you may find yourself resisting its quirky humour and Monty Pythonesque absurdity... but it will grow on you... mark my words, humans.... it will grow on you like a fungus from Ziltoidia! And when it does, as your head hits the pillow you will not be able to get these metal riffs and mellow melodies out of your heads. It will haunt you day and night. You will be subjugated indefinitely.

Don't believe me? Foolish humans. I will have my revenge.... You will be subjugated. But suddenly, I feel so.vulnerable. You have not seen the last of me! You have not seen the last of Ziltoid!

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Posted Saturday, August 02, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album would be more impressive if I hadn't listened to other Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad music before.

In all, it's a particularly fun release. The humorous concept scores a whole lot of points with me. Everyone loves aliens, and everyone loves crazy aliens who threaten to destroy the world. Devin, who to me always has a remarkable sense of humor, pumps out gags and laughs that don't detract from the album in the slightest. Rather, the music is almost more interesting when you know it's about an alien who calls himself Ziltoid the Omniscient. The music is a cross between Devin's solo work and Strapping Young Lad, which is a strength to some and a weakness to others, like me. As such a strict fusion of the two, Devin puts his usual sense of adventure and creativity on hold. Most of the creativity seems to be put into the lyrics, not a bad thing, just not as lasting quality wise.

Something in this music strikes me as something you'd hear in a video game (though a very strange video game). Somehow, and I can't tell you how, Devin uses intense metal to capture a classic science fiction feel. Arjen Lucassen should take notes. Vocally, there is less singing on this album than on Devin's other solo projects, using a sort of melodic screaming that crops up often. The only thing is, this time he screams like that for most of the album. When he sings, it's wonderful, though. And when he death growls on Planet Smasher, it's probably the wisest and most clever use of growling in any song ever. Even listeners who don't really like death metal aren't terribly turned off by this. I think, though, on the whole, the major weakness of the album is the missing melodies throughout. Some points demand a bit more clever melodies and parts, but just get screaming or a standard vocal line instead.

In all, hey, this is a good release. I still enjoy it. However, it's only an average album, especially by Devin's standards. The sound dynamics are down, while the walls of sound are less frequent or impressive. Fans of Devy will love it. People who don't know his stuff can start with it. A good meeting point for all his stuff, but as a meeting point, it's less interesting and exciting as a whole.

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Posted Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Ziltoid The Omniscient' - Devin Townsend (8/10)

The mad scientist of metal is at it again with this humorous and satirical delve into what can only be described as a form of comedic Space Operatic prog. Devin Townsend weaves a tale in 'Ziltoid The Omniscient' of a self-conceited alien being that seeks coffee to fulfill his time-travelling desires. In taking over earth (with his virtuosic guitar skills) a rebellion is formed, led by Ziltoid's nemesis, Captain Spectacular. While the plot is obviously not meant to be taken seriously, the music (at points) can be extremely beautiful and powerful.

The music is best described as a heavier version of the typical Devin Townsend band work, mixed with a dose of Devin's extreme metal band, Strapping Young Lad. There is some very heavy material on this record. 'Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!' is bone-shattering, to say the least, and Devin's screams have never sounded better in any of his work then on 'Ziltoid.'

The ironic thing about this album is despite its considerably high rating, it was recorded in Devin Townsend's living room! There's a real sign of talent when someone doesn't even have to leave the confines of their house to write something so entertaining. However, it is this fact in which the albums suffers the most. For the most part, the production quality is fine; while it doesn't match up to the Devin Townsend Band material in terms of sound quality, all things considered, it's very good. The thing that bothers me about this album though is the fact that all of the percussion is played by a drum machine, and not a living, breathing human being. While purely musically, things are fine and the compositions are great, the album would have just that much more power if it used real musicians. Drum machines should be left as a jam tool, not a band member.

One song that really seems to stand out is the laid-back 'Hyperdrive.' Despite it being consisting of a pretty simple guitar riff, and garbled vocals, it creates such an amazing atmosphere and feeling of loneliness, as if the listener really is travelling through the coldness of space.

While releases like 'Terria' and 'Ocean Machine' have more of an immortal quality about them, 'Ziltoid The Omniscient' is actually one of my most initially enjoyed albums, and demonstrates that you don't have to write serious music, to be serious about music.

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Posted Friday, March 06, 2009

Review by friso
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ziltoid the Omniscient

I've seen flashes of this strange artwork before on PA but lately I wanted to know what kind of music this was. Since my quest for '70 prog started I haven't listened to progressive metal for years. It doesn't do it for me anymore. But... This trash/psychedelic metal album I like very much!

The reason for the great effect of this recording is the concept. A storyline with characters somehow gives the music a destination. A lot of groups made better concept albums then non-concept albums. Devin Townsend did a well job here. His characters are made in a way you can't get them out of your head! He played all the instruments and sung all vocals of all the characters.

First we have Ziltoid the Omniscient (whatever that may be). He is a fourth dimensional alien coming to earth to get the perfect cup of coffee in order to be able travel trough time. He claims to be the greatest guitar hero. He is the main character in the story. His war on the earth and the humans (who won't give him his coffee) kind of fails. The Humans flee with their hero Captain Specteculair with the Solar wind in Hyperdrive to Nebual 9. On this planet they defeat Ziltoid. This makes Ziltoid discide to call the Planes Smasher (named Herman). Herman won't comply because he hates musicals. Being confused by this event Ziltoid (the Omniscient) goes the Omniversial Creator (a strange kind of hippiej). Ziltoid ask him what he really is. From this point the conversation gets philosofical. Your own interpretation of the lyrics can make this part very worthwile. Are we all just puppets?

If you read this you will be convinced this ain't a very serious story, but hilarious! Still all emotions in the music make you able to let you fantasy work and you'll feel the problems of the characters. The fact that's it's so fiction will free you from your everyday concerns. You just listen to the story and music. A good look at the lyrics are essential here.

The sound of this record is very harsh trash metallike. The musical themes are very progressive however. The guitars change ritmes fast and sound a bit dreamy. It's spacemetal, but it doesn't sound like a computer game like most spacemetal projects. It's perfectly played. The recording is a bit to extreme though... It could have been more subtle. The drums are electronic. This is a pitty. Why not just hire a good drummer? For the production and drums this album could never be a five star album.

The concept is perfect, fresh I would say. The recording is good enough. The effect on me is huge! Since I got this cd I listened to it twice a day. This never happened to me before because I normally dislike cd's and listen to vinyl. So... I solid four star album with an extremely five star feel however...

P.S Beware... this will stick like glue on your memory! Ziltoid the Omnischiet will become your way of life! Don't forget to see his messages he sents to earth on youtube.

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Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009

Review by horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album is hard for me to put into words, which might be why I put off a review of it for so long. For me, this is THE Devin Townsend album, and hence one of my favorite albums ever. Devy has stated that his main goal with ZtO was to prove to himself that he could make an album that was truly a solo effort. He has also said that it helped lead up to the process of the Devin Townsend Project, which to date of this review is halfway there. It seems to be shaping up quite nice.

But I digress. On to the album!

This is a mix between Devin's solo material and the heaviness of Strapping Young Lad. Some may be put off a bit by the mechanical sound of the drum program, but I think it works for this music. It also happens to be the Drumkit from Hell program, created by Tomas Haake of Meshuggah. This also happens to be a concept album which tells the tale of Ziltoid seeking the greatest cup of coffee ever from quite a hilarious perspective. There are also several different moods throughout the album, from the long epic narratives of "By Your Command" and "Color Your World" to the short, catchy, pop-ish songs of "Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!" and "Hyperdrive". I really can't think of any song that is weak of the bunch, except maybe "Solar Winds" which bores me for the first 2 1/2 minutes or so, picks up a bit, then drops back down until 4 minutes when it builds again for good. The track feels somewhat inconsistent. I also think the vocals for "Hyperdrive" are cold and lack emotional power, and they ultimately make the song quite passable for me. I'm honestly glad Devy re-made a version of it for Addicted!, but I will discuss that in the respective review. This is definitely heavy music, and probably a bit too heavy for some, but for others it may be quite enjoyable. I'm glad to see, or rather hear, Devin draw more on some of his classical and Broadway influences for this album. I wish he would draw on them more often, because they really do lead to good things when he applies them in more than just structural ways. There's lots of ambience and maybe a touch of the humor from Punky Bruster too.

If you don't like Devin Townsend any, this isn't the album that will make you like him. But for those who already do, this is another fine musical gem for the man's collection. 5 stars.

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Posted Sunday, December 06, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars And they greys float our memories, In the long haul...

This was my first and so far only Devin Townsend-experience and it's definitely an interesting ride from start to finish. The composition vary in quality and there are a few that I definitely could have done without. I'm not sure that I can say much about the concept of Ziltoid The Omniscient except that it's probably the weirdest story I've ever heard of. I do realize though that its a humorous concept which by no means should be taken seriously and the ending really makes me chuckle every time I hear it.

My biggest complaint about this release are the drum machines that I just don't consider to fit Townsend's sound although it was some of the better sounding drum machines that I've heard over the years. Ultimately its the composition quality that makes me settle for the good, but non-essential rating. Still I am definitely willing to hear more from Devin and it would especially be interesting to hear an album where the concept is matched by his great musical ability.

***** star songs: The Greys (4:15) Tall Latte (1:03)

**** star songs: ZTO (1:17) By Your Command (8:09) Solar Winds (9:46) Hyperdrive (3:47) Planet Smasher (5:45) Color Your World (9:44)

*** star songs: Ziltoidia Attaxx!!! (3:42) N9 (5:30) Omnidimensional Creator (0:48)

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Posted Thursday, January 07, 2010

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Perfect story behind this album provides so much needed originality. One of the few time I've been so much trying to understand (or in this case more like "read" from music) lyrics that I forgot to hear and evaluate music itself (music ? oh yes, there actually is something called music, I almost forgot). So much for classic sci-fi spoofing, parody is strong enough to make good independent film about these event, but here, our main concern is music. Or is it not ? When music is strong enough to be interesting, but is overshadowed by lyrics, it's rare case, but can be applied. Music on "Dark Side of the Moon" is for sure one of the Prog classics, but from time to time, I'm listening more to lyrics than music itself. It's happening from time to time, but not so often.

And also this is the second Devin Townsend album I've heard, so it also (I think) helps. And believe me when I say that music here is good. It's just (at least from my point of view) supplemental to words. Repeated listens showed how good music itself is, but first ones were in sign of text.

5(-), I'm not joking. But Ziltoid is. Well, you know now that I like funny prog :-)

As I just said: "Hey, it's metal, certainly not weak stuff, I shouldn't laugh, but I do, because of lyrics." - so after jazz metal, we have even bigger revolution - not serious metal.

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Posted Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Whoa! I've never heard Devin so energetic, powerful, and so damn Heavy Metal!! Yes, definitely a change, compared to the odd soundscapes of "Synchestra" and the epic, apocalyptic tracks that made "Terria" Townsend's supreme masterpiece . With "Ziltoid The Omniscient", Devin starts to have a little more fun: you can hear it from the enjoyable and not so serious concept, which narrates the story of an alien, Ziltoid The Omniscient, and of course you can hear it from the sound, so powerful, (some might even call it a little banal) and traditionally heavy. But this wasn't enough to satisfy Townsend: he also recorded ALL the instruments, including a crazy sounding drum machine, wrote all the songs, as usual, and arranged everything. It literally is a solo album.

Usually, an album like this wouldn't be good in many ways, since it would almost sound like a joke, but in this particular case, the album is a masterpiece of Experimental/ Progressive Metal, surely one of Townsend's most successful albums musically speaking: each song, except some of the brief interludes and the closer, is a brilliant effort, starting from the short opener "ZTO", and the following "By Your Command", one of the Canadian artist's best songs, to the ending song "Color Your World", excluding the real closer, "Tall Latte".

Surprisingly, the structure is impressive: eleven songs, full of interludes as well as long, complex songs, technically speaking, as well as amazing and simple songs, with a highly emotive impact. Some heavy craziness, as well as some melancholic, adolescent like songs (Hyperdrive), some great melodic lines, some fast, incredibly energetic moments.

This is "Ziltoid the Omniscient", 53 minutes of fun, energy, and of course, of excellent head banging action. Enjoy!

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Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Make it Perfect...

Despite being a Devin Townsend fanboy, I had avoided Ziltoid until recently. The concept seemed too over the top, too silly, and though I like the new version of "Hyperdrive," the album just didn't appeal to me. However, I finally got tickets to Devy a few weeks ago and read that he was leaning heavily on the Ziltoid album. I decided to take the plunge so that I'd be familiar with the songs live. And I am so glad I did. Ziltoid may be Devy's best album top to bottom. It's the only album (possible exception Ocean Machine) that when the album's over, I want more.

Over the top humor has been part of Devin's artistic person all the way back to Punky Brewster and the first SYL album, but on Ziltoid he's able to unleash his silliness in its full glory. Part of the to-the-max aspect of this album is that there are sections that are VERY heavy, equaling SYL in many parts. "Ziltoida Attaxx!!!" is heavy riffing, programmed blast beats, and maniacal choruses in a perfect soundtrack to an alien invasion. (Check out the great youtube where this song is matched with the spoof movie "Mars Attacks" which likely helped inspire the album.)

But Ziltoid is not all-intense all-the-time. There are a remarkable variety of moods, often within the same song. By "Solar Winds" and the arrival of Captain Spectacular, the plot of the story starts to wander. But quickly we realize that Ziltoid is Devin's alter ego...the self proclaimed 4th dimensional guitar hero who at his heart is a nerd searching for his place in the universe. The textures and philosophical questions get deeper and more intense until Ziltoid meets the "Omnidimensional Creator" who answers the great query with "You gotta chill man." Like "It's just entertainment folks," in Earth Day, and "Cheeseburger" in the upcoming album Deconstruction, Devy chooses to bring it down to the here and now and reconnect with reality. This is part of why I as the listener, let him get away with such extremes. The humor is always partly directed at himself.

Devy's not the first artist to hide his genius behind a mask. But he may be the first one choose as his mask a puppet of a caffeine-junky alien. When the album climaxes at the end of "Color Your World" with alternating screams of "You are a puppet" and "We are all Puppets" all the angst and raw emotion that fueled SYL is full display. But at this stage is in his career, Devy contrasts this with soaring vocals singing "Stay with Me", matching the "So Beautiful" during N9, and of course the anthemic "Hyperdrive." The final song "The Greys" is a perfect example Devy at his best. Singing a soaring "Sail away for me" over a riff lifted almost directly from Metallica's version of "The Wait," Townsend evokes Enya more than thrash.

In another review, I recommended Accelerated Evolution as the perfect intro to Devy, as it had all of his elements in one album. And it does, but in the most listener-friendly version that is perfect as an introduction to his work. Ziltoid is the full breadth of Devy for the true fanatics of the man. Just as I had my reservations about the album, even now I wouldn't recommend it to listeners who have never heard Devin before.

Obviously, this isn't Terria or Ocean Machine. Both of those albums were created as intentional contrasts to Strapping Young Lad. But at this point in his career, Devy was done with SYL, and was able to integrate the two sides of his personality. And despite what seems like an impossible task, he pulls it off. The result stands as a third masterpiece in Devy's amazing catalog.

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Posted Monday, November 22, 2010

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This might have been the type of music that Zappa would have been making if he was born 40 years later.This is a hilarious concept album about an alien who calls himself Ziltoid The Omniscient. He travels from many lightyears away to strip earth of one of her precious liquids. No it's not water he's after it's coffee ! He faces off in an epic battle with Captain Spectacular all to the sounds of some of the heaviest [&*!#] you'll be exposed to. And Devin is solo here playing and singing everything himself. He gets help from MESHUGGAH's Fredrick Thorendal with his "Drumkit From Hell" software that might make you a believer in programmed drums.They sound surprisingly incredible.

"ZTO" is the short intro of bombast and heaviness to announce Ziltoid to the story. Ziltoid then gives his demands for a cup of black coffee in five minutes or else. "By Your Command" is heavy with that wall of sound that Devy is known for.Vocals join in. It settles back 4 minutes in then at 4 1/2 minutes we hear a conversation between Ziltoid and one of his minions. Drums dominate late.

"Ziltoid Attaxx !!!!" opens with the shout "Attack !" as a heavy sound kicks in.The vocals are intense here. "Solar Winds" opens with narration then reserved vocals come in at 1 1/2 minutes. It's building 3 minutes in then it's kicking hard before 5 minutes. A conversation comes in then it kicks in again with prominant drums. A conversation ends it. "Hyperdrive" is a song I love. It's so emotional. How does he do that ! Narration ends it.

"N9" kicks in heavily with a barrage of drums with vocals. It slows at 4 1/2 minutes but it's still heavy. "Planet Smasher" features heavy guitar with deep spoken vocals from Ziltoid. Great sound after 1 1/2 minutes. Headbanging time ! "Omnidimensional Creator" is a short narration piece.

"Color Your World" opens with heavy drums and vocals. It settles 4 minutes in and reserved vocals follow.It picks up before 8 minutes then here we go ! "The Greys" has a killer sound to it with some screams from Devin. "Tall Late" is the humerous conversation piece to end it.

4.5 stars.I would only rate "Ocean Machine" and "Terria" above this one. Killer !

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Posted Monday, June 20, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars By and large I don't really enjoy Devin Townsend's material - which isn't to say it's bad, but it isn't really my thing. The major exception is Ziltoid the Omniscient, a prog metal alien invasion epic so ridiculously over the top that it can't help but win you over. An impressive multi- instrumentalist accomplishment by Townsend, the album sounds fantastic for a record assembled and completed by one performer; in particular, thanks to secret technology obtained from Meshuggah Townsend is able to program his drum machine brilliantly, creating a sound which is truly indistinguishable from a very technically accomplished human drummer.

As well as having a silly plot and over-the-top proggy song structures, the album also shows a clear love for heavy metal in all its forms - see, for instance, some of the vocals in Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!, which are clearly meant to be a homage to Rob Halford's legendary vocal performance on Judas Priests' Painkiller. Packed with little details like that, the album is a great listen for all fans of metal, particularly if - like Ziltoid - you are secretly a nerd.

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Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review by siLLy puPPy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A solo project in the truest sense from DEVIN TOWNSEND where he presents ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT, an album so hilarious and creative that it could have even been worthy of being in Zappa's discography. This is a concept album about a pretentious alien named Ziltoid who hails from the planet Ziltoida 9 and for some reason he decides to travel all the way to Earth in order to find the universe's ultimate cup of coffee. Yeah, a little far-fetched but in a good way. This reminds me of those Looney Tunes with Bugs Bunny and that Martian dude when he was trying to blow up planets and always got foiled by that wiley wabbit.

Devin played every single instrument on this album including the drum programming from a software program called Drumkit From Hell which was graciously provided to him by Frederik Thordendal of Meshuggah. He also wrote all the music, mixed and produced it. Devin admits that he basically withdrew from the world for four months and worked incessantly on this album in the Ziltoid cave ironing out every detail and to great success I declare.

The album flows brilliantly. This is basically first and foremost a story to be told with the music accompanying it appropriately, so maybe this could be considered a heavy metal musical of sort. An accomplished mix of his aggressive Strapping Young Lads days mixed with his more ambient solo works. Lots of nods to different types of metal in here as well. All in all a well-executed delivery system of one of the most ridiculous album themes ever to be released. In addition to creating the perfect musical accompaniment, Devin nails all the vocalizations in their corresponding roles as well, but I have to admit that when the Planet Smasher's voice enters the cast I keep expecting him to say "ME WANT COOKIE!"

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1151658) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2014

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5 stars Devin Townsend-Ziltoid the Omniscient I just recently started listening to this guy, and boy was I missing out! Ziltoid the Omniscient is a concept album about an alien named Ziltoid who wants to travel to earth in order to find 'Their ultimate cup of coffee'. They then give him a cup of coffe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1261829) | Posted by Unitron | Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When this album first came out I was rather intrigued but slightly confused. I had always known that Devin had a rather odd sense of humour. Watching the preview videos for it, I knew this was something I had to buy. In all fairness I wasn't expecting much, but what I got was probably one of m ... (read more)

Report this review (#1030974) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Sunday, September 08, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 6.5/10 Ok... where is the masterpiece? Not us, really. Not that my opinions on the discography of Devin are biased, but for the most well-rated albums I gave top marks to the median I gave positive ratings and the less well- priced ones were my least. This trend does not hold. Sorry Ziltoid ... (read more)

Report this review (#840978) | Posted by voliveira | Saturday, October 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#787016) | Posted by vermilion_helix | Friday, July 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As good as Space Progressive Post Metal gets. This album is about a fourth dimensional alien who wages war on humans because they didn't give him a good cup of coffee. Then there's some space travel and planet smashing, and then I lose track of the story. Obviously there are no boundaries to this ... (read more)

Report this review (#512909) | Posted by Quirky Turkey | Thursday, September 01, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars By your command, mighty Ziltoid. I can't compare this album to his other works, because this album is the best of Strapping Young Lad mixed with the best of Devin Townsend solo albums, and, for me, this is the best Devin Townsend album, heavy riffs, experimental riffs, melodic vocals, harsh v ... (read more)

Report this review (#381499) | Posted by RafaelRuiz | Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is such a fun, funny, satirically melodramatic supervillain album I can't help but love despite my innate, seemingly unalterable aversion to harsh "metal" sounds (mostly bullet speed kick drum pedalling and constant, abrasive, 'infinite sustain' guitar and bass guitar power chords). The whole p ... (read more)

Report this review (#377649) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is an amazing album!I like the concept.It's humorous and dreamy.Devin Townsend has the acting ability in a good level.There is a variety in music.It's atmospheric,calm,angry,fast e.t.c.My favorite tracks are:Zto(good introduction),By your command(Great beginning of the album.Very dynamic.),Hype ... (read more)

Report this review (#309789) | Posted by Prog Geo | Tuesday, November 09, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The mighty Ziltiod by the master of crazy himself Devin Townsend, now im a massive massive Heavy Devie fan so when i heard he was comming up with this album a concept album about an alien who travels lightyears to earth in search for the perfect cup of coffee i knew that this would be one non sto ... (read more)

Report this review (#283921) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Make it perfect... And perhaps Devin did. This is another classic album from one of metal's most experimental artists. It is very thick and heavy, noisy with hints of amazing melody interspersed throughout. The concept (yes it is a concept album) is laughable, but as it should be. The humorous ... (read more)

Report this review (#210833) | Posted by Alitare | Thursday, April 09, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although it might be the humour and the zany concept which attracts the eye, the musical depth of Ziltoid is what os the real dealbreaker here. I really think this is Townsend's best album since Terria, in fact it's pretty much on a level with Terria. This is a far tighter album than either Synchest ... (read more)

Report this review (#209981) | Posted by La fraisne | Friday, April 03, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For any progressive metalhead, (who can enjoy comic as well as serious moments) this album is for you! I'll be honest, I'm pretty sure a lot of the old progressive lovers from the 70s will not really find its humour very interesting, and the fact that it's very heavy metal. So before buying thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#202731) | Posted by HammerOfPink | Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I first heard Ayreon's The Human Equation album, I was intrigued by a number of the voices that I heard on it, Devin Townsend's being one of them. To be honest, I was a bit intimidated to delve into his discography because I thought his speed metal tendencies might not be to my taste. But ... (read more)

Report this review (#161525) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's official: Humor does belong in music! I went into the store with a bit of apprehension. The problem: If I didn't like this Ziltoid nonsense, I would just have thrown about twenty bucks down the drain. I had never even heard of Devin Townsend before listening to Ayreon's The Human Equation. ... (read more)

Report this review (#152966) | Posted by Inverted | Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Prepare yourself for the subjugation! Do you know what subjugation means? Ziltoid apparently does, but I don't. Apparently some 'deep-filosophical' term thought by the omniscient Ziltoid. Stupid me didn't even know the meaning of 'omniscient'. What I do know is that this album is awfully f ... (read more)

Report this review (#142734) | Posted by Eerichtho | Monday, October 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Devy's crowning achievement This album, alleged to be Mr. Townsend's last (at least for a good while) is a culmination of all his projects over time, and it serves to come together in the best way possible. His trademark atmospherics are present throughout, as well as contrasting dynamics. In ... (read more)

Report this review (#142400) | Posted by heyitsthatguy | Saturday, October 06, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album has really grown on me and nowadays I think it perfect. It's like an amalgam of everything Devin Townsend has done; Speed pop from Physicist, weirdness from Infinity, melody from AE and Oceanmachine, atmospheres from Terria and ferociousness from SYL. Here there is humour, seriousness ... (read more)

Report this review (#134233) | Posted by bessi | Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ziltoid hits you right from the start. You know right where Devin is going and to true Devin fans, it is no surprise. When I heard the 1st two minutes of the album I just laughed. It's Devin being Devin- being silly and comical. I guess you can call the album a "concept" album- but I doubt ... (read more)

Report this review (#129031) | Posted by Drew | Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Devin Townsend is a genious. I have all of his albums,I've heard them and he is my favourite artist. I was afraid,that the album will be as great as the other records.Yes,it is. The lyrics and the story is great,like a B cat. film,there's an alien,who wants to rule the universe.But,when he fi ... (read more)

Report this review (#128786) | Posted by Hares | Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars What can be said about Devin Townsend that hasn't been said a thousand times before? The kooky Canadian has made some of the most brilliant, insane, and memorable metal and prog of the last decade. The man is undoubtedly a genius, but sometimes genius permits fallibility. Such seems the case wit ... (read more)

Report this review (#127657) | Posted by DethMaiden | Thursday, July 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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