REVIEW: DEVIN TOWNSEND - Z2

To get it way out of the way: Yes, I am a fan of Devin Townsend. My favorite album was 'Ki', I didn't like the original 'Ziltoid' and 'Epicloud' was balls - also, I don't really see why Strapping Young Lad should return in any complicity. Also, Casualties of Cool was amazing. Anyhow, somehow I've been blessed with a copy of Devin Townsend's most ambitious album in the history of... ever.

While, yes, the first section of Z2 'Sky Blue' acts as a sort of loose tie into the rest of the album, with some vaguely existential and somewhat meaningless connections - it is extremely clear that 'Dark Matters' is where Townsend's heart resided. Not to say that the first half is bad by any means, it just feels somewhat unimportant compared to the rest of the album. I, personally, did not enjoy much of Ziltoid The Omniscient and the whole album was very scattered to me but 'Dark Matters' plays off much like a old radio broadcast paired with some fresh and somewhat daring steps in metal. Cheesy effects are scattered throughout everywhere, hamming up the album more then even the over-the-top dialogue does. There are actually multiple characters and sections where Ziltoid takes part in the songs, becoming a active entity within the story-line rather then fancy dressing - which means you don't have to look up what exactly the story of this album is, you can actually listen and know what is going on.  This is all paired with a increasingly heavy and pulse-pounding progression into orchestral-infused industrial tracks - I especially love when a whole album, rather then a single song, progresses.

What you got here is genuinely worth the hype; genuinely worth hearing and listening to. That being said, you also got something incredibly simplistic in comparison to albums like 'Deconstruction' but in the best way possible. Its almost as if maybe Devin Townsend's touring with Gojira brought him a little more down to earth with song writing because there is a lot done with little on Z2.

Now, sadly, as I mentioned before - 'Sky Blue' isn't bad by any means but its simply not as fun. It opens with 'Rejoice' - which is at best a good song but not great and sort of just wanders from there. To be perfectly honest, it feels as if Anneke van Giersbergen has been way too much a part of Devin Townsend's music for too long. At no discredit to her, she is talented, however I've heard her as part of many other albums and bands - her style and contributions have rarely varied. But, really, she has been making many songs sound very same-y from Devin Townsend for way too long and is a good deal why I felt that Epicloud was sort of Epiclousy.

Dark Matters is where the best is on this double album but I'm sure many will enjoy Sky Blue - just not as much as those who'll enjoy Dark Matters. Now, I see that Devin Townsend is going on a break and I wish him all the best - even if there are no more albums.