Devin Townsend

Experimental/Post Metal

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Devin Townsend Ghost (Devin Townsend Project) album cover
3.83 | 288 ratings | 13 reviews | 26% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Fly (4:15)
2. Heart Baby (5:55)
3. Feather (11:30)
4. Kawaii (2:52)
5. Ghost (6:24)
6. Blackberry (4:53)
7. Monsoon (4:37)
8. Dark Matters (1:57)
9. Texada (9:30)
10. Seams (4:04)
11. Infinite Ocean (8:01)
12. As You Were (8:47)

Total Time: 72:45


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Line-up / Musicians

-Devin Townsend / guitars, bass, vocals, banjo
-Dave Young / keyboards
-Mike St. Jean / drums
-Kat Epple / flute

Releases information

Label: HevyDevy / Inside Out

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DEVIN TOWNSEND Ghost (Devin Townsend Project) ratings distribution

(288 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DEVIN TOWNSEND Ghost (Devin Townsend Project) reviews

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Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Ghost' - Devin Townsend (6/10)

Finally, a two year saga has been wrapped up for this Canadian musical mastermind. Starting in 2009, former Strapping Young Lad frontman and acclaimed solo musician Devin Townsend set off on reinventing himself with a series of four vastly different albums; a project he would call the Devin Townsend Project. After an atmospheric rock, pop, and symphonic extreme metal album, Townsend has now come to the final installment in what he has stated is the culmination of his musical career. Here it is, the long awaited record 'Ghost', which apprises the man's ambient and most laid back side. While the album maintains the same level of decent quality that the rest of the Devin Townsend Project's output has amounted to, 'Ghost' stands on its own as a very pleasant and easy listen, but perhaps too much so. Although it is a strong piece of new age music, the one tracked nature of 'Ghost' can lead to a fairly numbing experience at times.

Although 'Ghost' is a complete contrast to the previous Project album 'Deconstruction', it works in very much the same way. Sticking to one sense of dynamic and running with it, Devin Townsend uses a very calming, folky, new age mellowness with this; acoustic guitars, eastern flutes, jazzy drum work and ethereal vocal works are set forth to make this the ultimate relaxation album. To some extent, Townsend achieves this. If any word can come to mind here, it is 'soothing'; even Townsend's usually over-the-top vocal delivery is toned down to a soft, gentle croon for this. While the effect is nice for a while, it can get undeniably tedious at times. Especially considering the album's stretched length passing the seventy minute mark, it is very possible to be both relaxed and bored by the album.

My personal favourite from the record may very well be the song 'Feather', which like much of the material on 'Ghost' is quite a drawn out and ambient piece, but it is quick to show the strongest aspects of this side of the man's work. Easily the greatest thing about 'Ghost' is in fact the production; although the songwriting is generally nothing special or particularly inspired, it is clear that plenty of thought has gone into fleshing out each track into part of this otherwordly experience. From Townsend's staple 'wall of sound' effects to incredibly warm vocal harmonies and an amount of detail and nuance that surprisingly rivals 'Deconstruction', 'Ghost' is an intricate piece of music, even if it may lack the sort of songwriting depth and dynamic to keep a listener interested throughout.


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Review by Negoba
3 stars So Laid Back It's Horizontal

Devin Townsend, the so-called "Mad Scientist of Metal," decided to ditch his persona shortly after his first child was born. Cutting off his trademark skullet dredlocks, ditching drugs, pushing aside rage, he re-emerged with the Devin Townsend Project. Loosely following the course of his transformation, the 4 album work hit a chaotic climax with DECONSTRUCTION. The simultaneously released final album, GHOST, is the downhill afterglow. Combining soothing croons, new age flutes, strummy acoustic guitars, and some Enya electronics, the album is mellow with about 15 L's. And while ambient texture has been part of Devin's style since Ocean Machine, here everything else is stripped away. As a long time fan, I enjoy the change of pace. But it's clearly the weakest piece of work from Townsend I own. Just as Townsend's band Strapping Young Lad was trying too hard to be intense by the end of its run, this album is trying too hard to be its opposite.

There are some nice melodies, soothing textures, occasional clean electric guitars (Devin's clean tone on the DTP has grated on me since KI incidentally), and a fair bit of lilting female vocals. The lyrics are hippy and new agey. Sound boring? It can be. And it treads absolutely no new territory. For anyone used to ambient or even chillout music, there is virtually nothing alarming or surprising on GHOST. But that's not the point. Instead, the album is meant to evoke the scene of expansive contentment. I believe it achieves this goal. And I must admit that sometimes that's what I'm looking for. Furthermore, having a trusted voice delivering the message increases the sense of serenity.

After the crushing chaos and absurdity of DECONSTRUCTION, GHOST makes alot of sense. I'm not sure that it functions quite so well on its own. Unfortunately, I think that the album took a bit of a back seat when Devin decided to release both simultaneously. Some of the more varied tracks recorded for the project were put off, currently to be placed on a "Ghost 2." There are teaser clips that include several of these songs, and I got a promotional 4 track sampler with my pre-order. Several of these left-out tracks are still in developmental form, but their "vibe" is much more interesting to me than the tracks that made the album. Several clearly still point back to other songs in the DTP ("Watch You" includes a mellowed out version of "Stand" from Decon, and "Radial Highway" points back somewhat to "Trainfire.) Apparently Townsend created quite a bit of music in this mood, and I think he would have had enough material to make a very solid 50 minute album. Instead, contrasting DECON seemed to be a bigger priority than making GHOST as focused as it could be.

Though I am being critical of one of my favorite artists, this is a very pleasant album. It IS good. I like it. It just could have been more.


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Review by Any Colour You Like
5 stars Tonight, tonight / Soothe your mind.

Now, I fully understand that this isn't really a progressive album. It's not, and I won't pretend it is. But it is the most beautiful album I've heard in a while. So it deserves five stars, that's really all you need to know.

Well, not quite. Ghost obviously means a lot to Devin, because you can hear every emotion, every thought pattern, every memory, every human pulse and it's all genuine. That's really the essence of this album, yes it's laid back, yes it has poppy hooks and ambient passages and all that, but this is music from the heart. I challenge anybody who knows Devin's discography to present an album which is as emotionally dynamic as this. I can think of all but one, Terria, and there's a good reason why that's also a masterpiece. As I have eluded to already, Ghost is the last album in the Devin Townsend Project's quadrant. It takes the lucid tones and ethereal vibes from Ki, mixes them with the pop hooks of Addicted and then plays off against the chaotic nature of Deconstruction. It is generously paced as if one was recovering from the previous three semesters of adventure.

Sure, there aren't any mind blowing solos, or time signature mashing; but the crispness of the production and the glassy instrumentation is simply not of this world. Perhaps that's a reason why it's called Ghost, or perhaps sometimes the most beautiful things are those which you can't explain or 'perform', but feel. You don't hear Devin (and the band) playing here, you feel them. It is that connection which every music aficionado and artist strives for, therefore it would be pointless to let cumbersome definitions and categories get in the way of emotion. True, a progressive masterpiece this is not, it's a musical masterpiece instead. At the risk of sounding too much like a new-age sensitive chap, it's not all brilliant. Some of the ambient sections are overlong and aimless, but given the general atmosphere, it's quite easy to let the extraneous sounds just wash over you. A fitting way to end the project indeed.


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Review by J-Man
3 stars Devin Townsend has always been one to experiment with different styles in his music, especially in his own Devin Townsend Project. Ranging from crazy extreme progressive metal to pop, atmospheric rock, and now ambient, this project has shown the eclectic and multi-faceted musician that "Hevy Devy" truly is. Ghost, the fourth and final installment in the Devin Townsend Project, is radically different than anything else the man has ever done - even by Devin Townsend standards, this album stands out substantially from the rest of his work. Rather than using rock or metal influences, Ghost is almost entirely based in extremely calming and tranquil ambient/new age - quite a contrast to the wacky extreme prog metal of Deconstruction! This album is filled with lush atmospheres, pastoral instrumental passages, and soothing vocals, topped off with an excellent production and calming soundscapes. Ghost isn't flawless by any means, and I think Devin Townsend could've succeeded a bit more at an approach to ambient music, but this is generally a beautiful album that I'd recommend.

Musically, Ghost is focused on long, drawn-out ambiance, rather than complexity or technical prowess. For the most part, I think Devin succeeds tremendously at creating lush atmospheres and beautiful compositions. The spacey synths, pastoral acoustic guitars, jazz-oriented drumming, airy vocals, and flute passages give the listener a feeling of relaxation, and the light-hearted compositions make the relaxation even more inevitable. Although Devin Townsend's ability to create fantastic arrangements is ultimately the finest asset of Ghost, the songwriting does take a bit of a dive about halfway through the album. It may be partially due to Ghost's insanely long running time - over 70 minutes of music this simple and relaxing is bound to get a bit boring - but it also seems that some of the later tracks lack the memorability of "Fly" or, my personal favorite, "Feather". Ghost feels a bit too drawn-out for my tastes, and occasionally induces boredom towards its second half - something that could've been easily eliminated if the album were trimmed down by about a half-hour. Despite my complaint about the album's running time, the lush atmospheres and crisp production do remain excellent throughout all of Ghost, and keep any of the songs from coming across as completely disposable.

Ghost is probably the definition of an "acquired taste". People who love ambient and new age music will undoubtedly find plenty to love here, but I can't shake the feeling that it feels too drawn-out at times, despite being extremely beautiful and relaxing. Devin Townsend really took a risk with Ghost, and although it isn't perfect, the fact that he ended up creating a very high-quality album is applause-worthy. I wouldn't say this is a good entry point into Devin Townsend's music, but it has enough worth to justify a purchase from any fan of the "mad scientist of metal". 3 - 3.5 stars are well-deserved here. I'm glad I heard Ghost; I'll certainly take it out again when I'm in the mood for a well-produced new age album.


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Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 8/10

Ghost is one of the very best mellower albums by a metal musician.

Devin Townsend's newest project finds itself to an end with the final chapter 'Ghost', one of the best albums by the musician and the calmest he's ever been. The four albums of the project wanted, as Devin said, to represent each 'side' of him. If 'Ki' is also a mellower effort, 'Addicted' is a heavy but very straight-forward one, and 'Deconstruction' is as wild Avant- Gardish and chaotic as Devin had never been before. But 'Ghost' wanted to represent Townsend's softer, peaceful side, and what a beautiful sight it is.

There are, of course, no traces of any kind of metal: 'Ghost' is influenced by genres such as New Age and a lot of Ambient music too. I dare to say that some vocal melodies are a little reminiscent of Ambient Pop and Dream Pop. If there are any guitars, they are always clean; if they are any drums, they'll mostly be played with jazz brushes, and always laid back completely. The key instruments I hear are the big chunk of synthesizers, flutes, some very light loops here and there, electronics, and the guitars of course. But the vocals I hear are the most magical addition: I always liked Townsend's cleans, but here, they are special, and perfectly go along with the enchanting female vocals. The production is crystal clear, as it was definitely intended to be for creating the atmosphere Devin wanted to capture so much.

'Ghost' is one of the most peaceful and quiet albums you'll ever hear. It is a soothing journey that most fans of the musician wouldn't expect. The atmosphere this album creates, as a matter of fact, is absolutely priceless: You feel like you're on an island, by yourself, without technology, without surrounding people, just nature. This feeling Devin attempted to create has very much succeeded, and like no other album that has attempted to do so. It's great to hear also how even though maintaining pretty much the same concept throughout the album, there is in the music great amount of variation: some melodies are sad, some are ethereal, some are cheerful, some are melancholy. With these handful of moods, I'm happy to say that Devin created out of them a wonderful rainbow of sounds.

There is clear distinction between the first and second half of the album: while the first is more emotive, melodic, and straight-forward, the second half is more Ambient driven, with less vocals, less clear melodies, just pure atmosphere. The delights can be found practically anywhere, from the opener 'Fly', setting a very proper mood for the rest of the album. 'Feather' is a very melancholic, multi part piece, where the Ambience is something indescribable. The title track and 'Black Berry' are somewhat more cheerful and happy, especially the latter, thanks to it's great banjo addition. Then, there are more Ambient focused songs, like 'Infinite Ocean', 'Texada', even though the term Ambient can be used on this one very widely, 'Moonsoon', and the final track 'As You Are'.

An album I thought was going to hate, but I actually ended up falling in love with; a definite must listen for any Devin Townsend, despite being different from every other recording he's done. But it you're a fan of this man, there is no way you can know him without listening to his peaceful other side. One of the great highlights of the year, an album that would be remembered hopefully in the future, as one of the very best calm albums by a metal musician.


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Review by FragileKings
4 stars If you were one who followed Devin Townsend's career from early on then no doubt the first instalment of the Devin Townsend Project series, 'Ki', was a surprise. Known for his various approaches to heavy metal, this album took a fairly big step away from what he was known for writing and recording. Yet the next two albums were heavy and loud, 'Addicted' having a strong pop flair but still being intense and 'Deconstruction' being a flagrant and shameless display of progressive metal. However, there was little that could have prepared the listener and fan for 'Ghost'.

Right from the beginning, you know that this is different. Flute! Clean electric guitar. A slow and easy, pretty melody and a song that makes you think of dreamily floating through soft summer clouds or soaking in a light meditative mood in a hot bath. 'Fly' sets the mood of the album but in no way defines it. From 'Heart Baby' and 'Feather' we only begin a journey through various shades and tones of light, beautiful, peaceful music with Devin's soft and lower register vocals, clean electric guitar, Kat Epple's flute and woodwinds, Katrina Natale's beautiful additional vocals, Mike St-Jean's light and subtle drumming, and even some banjo by Devin himself. Dave Young and Devin also provide plenty of synthesizer, sometimes soft and atmospheric, sometimes more like electronic relaxation music. Though iTunes has this album listed as metal, it is only by association with the Devin Townsend name. 'Ki' had its heavy moments. 'Ghost' is light years away from anything heavy or metal.

As with just about any Devin Townsend album, the music journeys through different moods and styles. 'Kawaii' and 'Ghost' give us acoustic guitar and strumming and are a little more upbeat, with 'Ghost' being that kind of song where you know the refrain and can sing it over and over and think it's beautiful and soul stirring without ever considering the rest of the song. 'Ghost' is a refrain of a melody with only subtle variations in the lyrics, a very light, warm spring day on the green grass in the park with the sun above kind of pretty song for wearing a hippy headband and going barefoot. The upbeat feel to the album here gets a bit more boost with 'Blackberry' which has some great folk banjo and guitar and reaches possibly the loudest point of the entire album just at the climax.

The next three tracks move away from the acoustic strumming and turn toward atmospheric electronic synthesizer sounds accompanied by more woodwinds. 'Monsoon', 'Dark Matters' and 'Texada' focus more on the electronic and keyboard side in what could be considered part three of this album's musical journey. 'Texada' is of particular interest to me because it is the name of an island between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island, my hometown being just outside of Vancouver. Though it was not inhabited by the Coast Salish peoples, it was frequently visited by them for hunting and fishing. The tracks begins with what I will presume is a Coast Salish man saying something in his native tongue and he later returns as the track winds down, speaking about something which I wish I could understand. The synthesizer in this song at times almost comes across as forceful and strong compared to the rest of the album, almost approaching a pop sound.

'Seams' is a return to the acoustic strumming, even more gentle and a bit melancholy, and then the last two tracks are long, slowly developing pieces with further emphasis on calmness, relaxing and meditative atmosphere, and ambience, including seagulls and waves.

Some people have said that the album seems a little too long, especially some of the tracks over 9 minutes that repeat the same musical theme with little variation. It's true that the flute solo in 'Feather' seems to meander for a while, the keyboard themed passage in 'Texada' seems to go on with little variation for a bit, and the repeated lyrics of 'As You Were' (Money, honey, bloody mary, money, honey, might as well marry the ghost) are iterated once or twice too many for my taste. These are the points that I would say are the only detrimental features of the music on the album, and they are for the most part inconsequential as there are times I don't notice them.

The album is very well done. Devin never comes across as someone who is attempting to do a different style. He just does it and does it well. This is truly a stand out album in his career, though for certain he has a few. But nothing compares to this (I admit I haven't heard 'The Hummer' but I suspect there's not all this flute and acoustic guitar). Wikipedia describes this as New Age, progressive rock, experimental, and ambient. I detect only the faintest hints of any rock and very light rock at that. I would call it progressive music. The above labels tell you pretty much what you can expect to hear. I very much enjoy this album.


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Latest members reviews

5 stars 9/10 Ethereal. And here we have an example of a mature man hitting a stunning ... If in Deconstruction Devin was crazy, wild and avant-garde, here in Ghost, his twin brother (both albums were released on the same day), we see quite the opposite. There are no words that do justice to ho ... (read more)

Report this review (#866255) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, November 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can be said about Devin Townsend that hasn't been said already? He's one of the most prominent figures in modern metal, whether being known for his work with the extreme (and I mean extreme) metal band Strapping Young Lad or for his large body of solo work. Either way, this man is everywh ... (read more)

Report this review (#810300) | Posted by Illmatic0000 | Saturday, August 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It wasn't all that long ago when one of my favorite bands released two albums on top of each other that were almost complete opposites when Opeth gave us Deliverance and Damnation. Eight years later, another one of my favorites does practically the same thing and my reaction is no different now as ... (read more)

Report this review (#787061) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Friday, July 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first thing I want to say is that Ghost has one of the most beautiful covers I've seen and fits the music perfectly. The slipcase is also a pleasure to behold. Now onto what is contained in the album. At first I didn't really care for this album, being much more inclined to Devin's heavier ... (read more)

Report this review (#541223) | Posted by cyclysm748 | Tuesday, October 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Devin Townsend drops this album right along the chaotic Deconstruction, and the two albums are opposites for sure. Ghost comes to soothe and still your mind. The wall of sound production style is not apparent on this release as it is on his other releases, it is also not progressive at all. It ... (read more)

Report this review (#500891) | Posted by jsem | Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Devin Townsend's does a Mike Oldfield album. 8.5/10 I've been a fan of Devin's work since Ocean Machine, an amazing album with some great heavy stuff, as 'Seventh Wave', but also long atmospheric tracks, like 'Things beyond Things' and 'Death of Music', one of the greatest Post-Rock songs I ever ... (read more)

Report this review (#461078) | Posted by felipepepe | Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Where to begin with this album. I have listened to every Devin Townsend album repeatedly and am a huge fan but this album threw me for a loop. I originally didn't enjoy it too much and found it to be too soft and too long. After listening to it a few times more though I was in love. Fly the o ... (read more)

Report this review (#456700) | Posted by kuroyama1 | Friday, June 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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