DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
Cocks. That's what I last spoke to Devin about back in July this year. A surreally entertaining way to end a most enjoyable interview although an apposite segue into his long-awaited, much touted second Ziltoid opus, which bears the straightforward title of 'Zē'. For the biggest cock of all has returned, Ziltoid the Omniscient (Devin himself declared to me: "he's a cock, right"). He even kind of resembles as much - a penis with eyes, teeth and arms, if you will (I am talking about Ziltoid, of course, not Devin). And, as if his schedule wasn't already busy enough, he's somehow managed to ejaculate not just one, but two albums from the depths of his ever-fertile, creative imagination.
Disc one, titled 'Sky Blue', is standard DTP fare - although I don't mean that dismissively, as this is far from 'standard'; the quality of Devin's output has always been astonishingly consistent. That is, consistently innovative; consistently great, and consistently challenging (in a positive way, of course). So, yes, this is by no means a mere bonus disc to accompany the "main feature". A b-movie it is not. Disc one is almost the serious, chilled antithesis (and antidote) to the demented aural cacophony of Ziltoid's latest exploits. 'Chilled' in the stylings of Devin's innovatively idiomatic and grandiosely layered rock/metal mould, that is (although particular passages in 'Rain City', 'Sky Blue', 'Forever' and 'The Ones Who Love' do provide some ambient and melodically sublime moments). Anneke Van Giersbergen features heavily throughout which, in a way, makes this a natural progression from 'Epicloud'... albeit, this is also its own beast. And, as a standalone album, truly magnificent and well worthy of full marks by itself...
...but then we have disc two, titled 'Dark Matters'; the main feature, if you will. And, by fuck, does it deliver on all that was promised... and then some. We have the much touted 'Universal Choir' (around two thousand fans who submitted vocal recordings for particular parts of certain songs, all mixed together); an orchestra; voice actors; a choir; sound effects; a little more Anneke; Fozzy frontman and former WWE world heavyweight champion Chris Jericho; and, of course, a suite of music that is, quite simply, stunning on all counts. Stunningly performed, composed, and produced/mixed, this is mindblowing stuff that's not only primed to become many journos' album of the year (it'll indubitably be mine; it certainly is at this point in 2014), but an all-time classic that'll still be revered in decades to come.
The story on 'Dark Matters' is, without a doubt, pure, unmitigated nonsense. It's ridiculous. And it's supposed to be. That's part of its charm and essence as it's also ridiculously entertaining. Those in search of a more profound critical reading could probably find a few metaphorical handles to start applying all sorts of wild theoretical assertions and interpretations although they'd be missing the point. This is good old fashioned entertainment without a noddle of pretension. If anything, 'Zē' serves as an existential metaphor for the latest cathartic chapter of Devin's creative journey. At least, his informative ramblings in the accompanying press blurb are indicative of such. But as a slab of battily entertaining, sonically majestic theatre, it works a treat. Oh, and the noise the Poozers make is, well, dare I say, "cute" and sure to engender a few "awwwws".
This might be called 'Zē' but it's beyond 'squared'; this has exponentially increased beyond all expectations of epicness since Ziltoid's original coffee seeking quest. I asked Devin in July whether he'd ever like to see 'Ziltoid: The Movie' come to fruition. His response was, with enthusiastic immediacy, "I'd fucking love it!", then proceeded to tell me he's always liked the idea of combining "low budget absurdity", conceptually speaking, with a big budget production. Well, that's precisely what he's achieved here, in a sonic sense. This is a work of pure, stupendous brilliance.
Review by Mark Holmes
56:39 & 60:27
27th Oct 2014
CD1: 1) Rejoice; 2) Fallout; 3) Midnight Sun; 4) A New Reign; 5) Universal Flame; 6) Warrior; 7) Sky Blue; 8) Silent Militia; 9) Rain City; 10) Forever; 11) Before We Die; 12) The Ones Who Love
CD2: 1) Zē; 2) From Sleep Awake; 3) Ziltodian Empire; 4) War Princess; 5) Deathray; 6) March of the Poozers; 7) Wandering Eye; 8) Earth; 9) Ziltoid Goes Home; 10) Through the Wormhole; 11) Dimension Z
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"This might be called 'Zē' but it's beyond 'squared'; this has exponentially increased beyond all expectations of epicness since Ziltoid's original coffee seeking quest."