Devin Garret Townsend (born May 5, 1972) is a Canadian musician and record producer from New Westminster, British Columbia. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist in extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad from 1994 to 2007 and has had an extensive career as a solo artist, in which his work usually leans more towards a progressive metal style. After performing in a number of metal bands in high school, Townsend was discovered by a record label in 1993 and was asked to perform lead vocals on Steve Vai's album Sex & Religion. Read more on Last.fm
This is the ninth studio album by Devin Townsend, the Canadian Metal genius who’s the main person behind The Devin Townsend Project as well as Strapping Young Lad, both having an admirable fanbase and following worldwide. The man is known for his great composing skills and “weird insanity” with his ideas/attitude, which earned him the spotlight for many years, even when he was the vocalist for Steve Vai in the early 90’s (that must be hard!).
When you listen to a Townsend record, you should expect some industrial metal, spacey moods and mostly a creative song structure which switches between the in your face heavy / growly vocals to the funny background vocals / with layers of great riffs, and the occasional clean vocals, having their own touch to the songs as well.
- The Album
Ziltoid the Omniscient is a solo concept album (all music written, mixed, produced and performed by Townsend, except the drums which were recorded with a drum software) which talks about an extraterrestrial named Ziltoid who came to Earth in search for the universe’s ultimate cup of coffee (See track “ZTO”).
(Ziltoid) Greetings humans, I am Ziltoid…the omniscient.I have come from far across the omniverse.You shall fetch me your universes ultimate cup of coffee…Black!You have five Earth minutes,Make it perfect!
Still, the humans shall fail satisfying Ziltoid when he got disappointed by the coffee’s taste and unleashes an attack on Earth (See track By Your Command)
(Ziltoid) FETID! How dare they present this to me! FOUL! They hide their finest bean! Prepare the attack!
After the attack, Ziltoid is haunted by Captain Spectacular who wishes to expose Ziltoid’s true nature, that being a nerd which cannot be a great guitar hero!
The album was released on May 21st 2007 on Devin’s own label HevyDevy Records, and Devin announced a sequal to this album, entitled Z2 (“I am working on my first, full blown musical… and yes (much to some folks’ chagrin), it’s a new Ziltoid record. It going to be called Z2, and I’m taking it to the moon.”- Devin Townsend)
“In the new record, it’s real drums, orchestra, choirs etc… a REAL doozy…” – Devin Townsend
First, the album must be listened to IN ORDER to grasp the concept of the album and the flow of the story/moods. The quality of the recording is top-notch for sure, and the album is recommended for industrial metal fans, experimental fans and for the sheer weirdos. My personal favorite songs are:
By Your Command: Probably the most progressive song on the album, with great kick ass vocals and composing (listen carefully from the 4:40 minute mark onwards). He has a genius way of keeping the listener in the mood while the story is told, as if one is watching an interesting space movie and is caught up in the background music’s mood.
Ziltoida attaxx!!!: Atttaaaaaaaackk! then the song goes into that Ziltoid weird mood which I personally adored in the album; the song has great riffs and haunting atmosphere, that of a cosmic alien attack perhaps?
N9: this is great simply because of the industrial mood with mellow vocals/intense music, a beautiful and weird contrast indeed.
Planet Smacher: This is simply a great buildup song, one in which Ziltoid summons the Planet Smacher, a weird spacey tribal song with growl vocals and a Fear Factory – inspired
Songs for “experienced listeners” are Solar Winds and Color Your World, not be listened if you are just getting exposed to Devin’s work, but surely recommended after few listens of the entire album (Yes you will find yourself playing the album on a weekly, if not daily basis)
- Useful Links