Upon finding out I would get the highly anticipated Devin Townsend Z2 album for review, I about fainted. Not because I have been waiting for this album for a couple of years now, but mostly because we, Damnation Magazine, are an up-and-coming music zine on the rise in the middle of the US. It’s good to see that no matter how big or small you are we are all treated as equals. Now before this gets all kinds of sentimental n’ shit, let me tell you straight up that this album is the masterpiece that we have all been wanting from Devin and crew for the years since its been announced! Two hours of Metal, Quirkiness, and Alien Shenanigans that is sure to leave you picking up the pieces of your face when you are all the way through!
Disc 1: The Devin Townsend Project – Sky Blue (Total Length 56:32)
|4.||“A New Reign”||4:52|
|11.||“Before We Die”||8:24|
|12.||“The Ones Who Love”||1:32|
Straight from the get go Devin and crew gets your head bobbing with opening track “Rejoice”. The Canadian four piece including Devin Townsend on Guitar/Vocals, Ryan Van Poederooyen on Drums, Dave Young on Guitar/Keyboards and Brian Waddell on Bass, also featuring the ever beautiful Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering and Anathema) on backup vocals.
Picking up right were they left off with Epicloud, Devin Townsend Project takes you through a roller coaster of emotions. Keeping it as heavy as possible at times while still mixing it up as the group is known to do, mostly to keep the audience on the edge of their seats upon first listen. The remaining thousands upon thousands of listens this album will receive you’ll be singing along just like a teeny bopper at the One Direction concert.
Some personal favorites from this album would be “Rejoice”, “Silent Militia”, “A New Reign”, “Rain City” and “Before We Die”. . Ok the whole album is really well written and I love it all, but those are the ones that stick out! Don’t expect the over the top tech-driven DTP upon listening to this album, while yes it is still there in some of these tracks, see “Silent Militia”, he saved that for the Z2 album! I had almost forgotten that Dev reached out to his fans to form a Universal Choir in some of the songs, though you don’t come across it until “Before We Die” on this album, it’s mixed flawlessly. I regret not doing it, I went to register my vocals the day after it closed. . .
Over all Sky Blue is a true DTP album through and through, containing everything from the ambient tracks “Rain City”, “Forever”, and “The Ones We Love” to the hard driven, head banging tracks like “Silent Militia”, “Fallout”, “Rejoice” and “Universal Flame” to everything in between, this will remain in the CD player (What’s that?) ok iPod for a LONG time.
Disc 2: Ziltoid/Z2 – Dark Matters (Total Length 57:08)
|2.||“From Sleep Awake”||3:00|
|6.||“March of the Poozers”||4:43|
|9.||“Ziltoid Goes Home”||6:20|
|10.||“Through the Wormhole”||2:10|
First of all let me just say this is the perfect way to continue on the story of our favorite Coffee loving alien, Ziltoid the Omniscient. The Universal Choir has a pretty technical vocal arrangement in the opening track “z2”, just adding to the insanity that Dev and the guys are playing behind them. By the way, remember Ziltoid radio??? This song was actually at the intro of every episode! That being said its a great introduction to the next chapter of the Chaotic story of Ziltoid the Omniscient, an album which is filled with tech driven insanity and chaos throughout.
This time however, instead of the ever feared version of Ziltoid, he is a beloved character trying to help the humans and Captain Spectacular protect Earth. . . or is he? Featuring some of the heaviest, craziest songs to come from the DTP Clan, you can tell they gave it their all on this one. Some of Ryan’s drum patterns are mind-blowing, its easy to see why Dev keeps him around, the man is as good on the drums as Dev is on guitar. Just listen to tracks like “Ziltoidian Empire”, “March of the Poozers”, and “Earth” well, ok the whole album!
The story line: well I don’t want to give it away, but there is a new character, the War Princess performed by Stolen Babies own Dominique Lenore Persi, and she nails the part for sure. The album also sees Wrestler/Fozzy vocalist Chris Jericho as Captain Spectacular. Oh I guess I will say that yes the story does still have to do with Coffee. . .
Personal Favorites of the album thus far “March of the Poozers” the vocal arrangements in the chorus are off the hook, “Ziltoid Goes Home” a song starting with drummer Ryan beating the hell out of his snare leading to a whirlwind of madness that is sure to be a fan favorite, “Deathray” and the intro track “Z2”. The Universal Choir finishes off the album during the closing track “Dimension Z” a very strong closing track to the album, leaving you almost wanting more. . will we get that?? Only time will tell
Throughout the effort the storyteller keeps you up-to-date with what is going on between Earth, Ziltoid, and Captain Spectacular. While it is necessary in story telling, I am curious as to if that is what will be left out on the bonus disc (without the dialogue) I don’t really mind it, it doesn’t take you away from the music, however if I wanted to throw this album in and just rock out, I would like to be able to do so without the random interruption of the story-teller. Overall this album is brutal as HELL, it is sure to break necks and melt faces, I would love seeing this performed live. Speaking of which if you have vacation time coming up and want to see a Spectacular event, This album is being turned into a musical that is making its debut. . and hopefully recorded for DVD/Blu-Ray (fingers crossed), April 13, 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Both albums tell a story, While Z2: Dark Matters is a blatant story with characters, Sky Blue tells its story through the lyrics so you really have to listen and lose yourself in the album. . become the storyteller if you will. It’s apparent that Z2 is what Devin has been wanting to give his fans for a while, flawless album throughout, and The Devin Townsend album, while equally as important it was more his release to expand his sound. We all know he has mastered the crazy Technical aspect of Metal he wanted to continue to show us that his mind is ever-expanding into greater things. He will always have metal at his side but every now and then he is going to do something different. He shows us that in Sky Blue, taking elements from Ki, Addicted and Epicloud and mashing them up into one album to tell the story. Then unleashing the beast inside and bringing you the Next Chapter of the Ziltoid journey! I can understand if he wants to take it easy after the Ziltoid Musical in April. It takes a lot out of someone to be as creative as this and have it all come out at once, I hope by taking it easy he at least tours and just puts his ever flowing creativity to rest for a bit. . . Only time will tell, until then enjoy this fucking album!
The Ziltoid/Devin Townsend Double album is Due in stores October 27 in Europe and October 28 in the US!