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Devin Townsend - Infinity CD (album) cover

INFINITY

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.69 | 220 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

HunterD
4 stars The first time I saw Devin Townsend live, I had no idea who he was, I think I'd heard of Strapping Young Lad, but that was about it. When he took the stage, he busted out "Truth" with his band, commanding the audience with his powerful charisma, and I suddenly heard everything that was missing from my life in metal and progressive music at that point in my life. "Truth" was like taking a trip through space, launching me out of the solar system and around the Milky Way. It served as the perfect introduction to Devin Townsend, and it also served as a perfect opener to his first great solo release, "Infinity."

"Infinity" was the first of Townsend's solo albums with Gene Hoglan on the drums, whose presence provides a solid anchor to the proceedings, as a strong drummer with a personality to match Devin's was what "Ocean Machine" needed, but lacked. "Infinity" is also more daring and varied than its predecessor, taking influences from Broadway musicals on "Bad Devil" and "Wild Colonial Boy," and delving into vocal experimentation in the vein of Mike Patton with "Ants." But most importantly, most of the songs feel ironed and pressed, better written and better realized here than before. "Truth" starts us off with an explosive instrumental, before the pop-hooks of "Christeen," into the goofy dance number of "Bad Devil," then finally into the spacey head-banger, "War." Ear-worm after ear-worm.

It's seemingly relentless until "Soul Driven Cadillac" and "Ants" take more experimental asides, before the operatics of "Wild Colonial Boy" and the beauty of "Life is all Dynamics" and "Unity." "Noisy Pink Bubbles" is a coda that recalls Frank Zappa, but "Unity" is such a perfect finisher, you don't need something so strange as a chaser.

Apparently the version of "Infinity" that's out there was put out before it was "finished" due to time constraints, and what the album could have been can be glimpsed on the "Infinity EP." The album that was made is, however, the one that was made, and the power of the songs therein is evident in how they've managed to consistently stick around Townsend's live set. I'd say the songs are perhaps greater than the whole record as a unit, portions of the album seem to go together beautifully ("Life is all Dynamics" and "Unity" could be one song), while songs like "Christeen" and "Bad Devil" feel like independent singles. If there's one thing missing in "Infinity" that "Ocean Machine" had, it's a sense of cohesion, but I suppose that's a problem that comes with releasing a version of the album that isn't the whole you had envisioned.

"Infinity," in its present form, is still a great album, and one of Devin Townsend's signature works that defines this period in his career.

HunterD | 4/5 |

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