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Devin Townsend - Devin Townsend Project: Ghost CD (album) cover

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: GHOST

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.77 | 350 ratings

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Wicket
Prog Reviewer
4 stars After playing "Deconstruction" on repeat for quite a long time, this album is just so refreshing.

Texture and content wise, this is the complete opposite of "Deconstruction", metal, choir, screams and shouts replaced with flutes, acoustic guitar, oohs and aahs. This is meditative music at its heart, relaxing, sedative, no metal or screams here.

And yet, both albums, though vastly different in sound and style, they both share a common bond, one that almost all Townsend's albums share: depth. Townsend has an innate obsession with sound, so much so that nearly every single one of his albums goes overboard on reverb and echos, enough to drown out an orchestra.

And that is evident here, but in a different form. Heavier albums rely on massively reverbed guitars to echo, to carry on for what sounds like hours. Here, though, the effect DT creates is through the use of absolute subtlety. The flute plays as softly as it can, acoustic guitars pluck gently, singing is soft and caressing, all the while a substantial mellowing soundscape echoes and careens through space and time. Especially in free-flowing music which most of the album is, beating time is irrelevant, and when you create beautiful melodies like Townsend has on this album, you really don't want them to end, and for the most part, they don't.

"Heart Baby" is one such track, where the guitar is the only thing constantly keeping time, and the vocals just provide harmonies. The flute is the dominant voice (and Kat Epple on this album is just fantastic: expressive, passionate, truly soulful playing), and when all else fades out to leave it to "solo", if you will, the atmosphere just turns into a kind of putty for the flute to create its own sonic painting over, with occasional guitar plucks to have a gentle conversation with. The last minute and a half is just stunning. The flute part isn't virtuosic by any means, but it ain't boring either. It rather follows the middle ground, no jarring notes or melodies to disrupt the listener, but also arpeggiates across scales to, in effect, create a chord, something flutes can't do. Rather, with the echo, the arpeggio sounds like a chord, full and rich. Just an absolutely sublime piece of composition.

There are real songs in here, though. "Kawaii" is a beautiful guitar led ballad rather than some take on Japanese slang or anything. "Seams" is a quiet pop ballad laid over top synth drums, and "Blackberry" (a surprise favorite for me) is a trip through a classic Louisiana marshland, complete with a croaking frog backdrop and some delicate plucks on the banjo. The rest of the album though is just sheer ambiance.

After all, this isn't an album designed to hit the Billboard charts. This is Devin Townsend's bipolar disorder at work. Get the anger out on "Deconstruction", relax and soothe on "Ghost. Not only is it a good album overall, but it also again displays the flexibility of Townsend to adapt to many different musical styles and genres. It really is something special though, a nice change of pace from the hectic, almost over complicated world of prog and life in general.

This isn't complicated at all. What this album is is simplicity, distilled. A meditative experience best served chilled.

Wicket | 4/5 |

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