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Following quickly on the heels of the Ocean Machine – Biomech album of 1997, Infinity is the first album which was originally released by Devin Townsend as a solo project under his own name. As remarkable as the Ocean Machine project was, it is really on this first ‘proper’ solo project that Devin’s twisted genius for epic, progressive metal bears full fruit. Sure, we can all agree that Strapping Young Lad knew how to bring it in terms of utterly intense prog-tinged metal, but SYL always tilted towards the more aggressive and industrial side of things; it’s the solo Townsend, I think, which displays a much wider textural range and more varied songwriting. Lest I deserve a swift bout of pummeling, I should hasten to add that Infinity features the monstrously-talented drumming of fellow Strapping Young Lad (har-har) Gene Hoglan, and thus has somewhat of a leg up on Ocean Machine from the start.
The album kicks off in fine form with “Truth,” a massively epic and overstuffed instrumental intro which, when it breaks the building tension at the end by jumping a fifth (I think) and holding that stringed synth tone over a cymbal roll, reminds me of nothing more than Yanni’s Live at the Acropolis. Yeah, that’s right – fuckin’ Yanni, and it kicks ass, so step off (like I’m the only one who ever watched PBS in the 90s…). The first proper song “Christeen” is quite a bit reminiscent of “Life” from the Ocean Machine album, in that it is one hundred percent a classically-structured pop song. Both tracks also run perilously close to the cheesy (especially “Christeen”s Phantom of the Opera-quoting chorus), but “Christeen” redeems itself somewhat with that nice intense bridge and lead-in to the final go-around of the chorus.
Though the tendency was already somewhat evident in the Ocean Machine album, I find that it’s on Infinity where I really start to pick up on the duality of Devin’s musical personality. On the one hand, the dude knows how to craft well-constructed songs – the old verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-etc-etc shtick – not all of which suffer from the overly pop-leaning sounds of the above-mentioned tracks. On the other hand, he has a real knack for breaking up an album into more straightforward tracks and more experimental tracks – and moreover, that experimentation can just as easily take the form of ambient, gradually-building, and almost modal hymns (Devin Townsend’s Kind of Blue period, we could call it) as it can take the form of smashing as many disparate musical styles, instruments, and sounds into one rambunctious whole.
On the more straightforward tip, then, I’ve already mentioned “Christeen,” but “War” and “Soul-Driven Cadillac” fall somewhat into this camp as well. The intro to “War” goes on far too long for my taste, but both tracks stomp along in this groove of modal suspension and form a solid backbone for some of the more experimental material that peppers the rest of the album – particularly “Bad Devil,” “Ants,” and “Wild Colonial Boy.” I suspect that for many fans of Devin’s solo work, these extremely busy and chaotic songs are the primary draw, and I absolutely agree, except with the caveat that were it not for the counterpoint provided by some of the more straightforward (but no worse off for being so) songs, these insanely diverse tracks wouldn’t seem quite so batshit crazy. As it is, though, “Bad Devil” picks up the slack dropped by “Christeen” in a MAJOR FUCKING WAY, featuring some awfully punchy riffing (in contrast to the diffused tone of a lot of the riffing on the rest of this album and many of Devy’s others) and some wicked horror theme synths (think The Munsters or The Addams Family). Even better is when the track drops into a shuffling swing rhythm and highlights some jazz trombone and an almost rockabilly upright bass section. Killer stuff.
“Ants” is another balls-out wacky song, which can only really be described as sounding like Dream Theater and Behold…The Arctopus jamming on a cover of “Hava Nagila,” so feel free to take that for what you will. “Wild Colonial Boy” is another track somewhat in the model of “Bad Devil,” in that it oscillates between more straightforward metal components and distinctly non-metal genre sections. In particular, “Wild Colonial Boy” careens between a quite catchy polka section and some of the most earnest-sounding vocal melodies of the entire record. On this track, Devin’s vocals walk that absolutely perfect tightrope between soaring melodicism and winking melodrama, which will be one of the most winning features of his entire musical approach.
Regardless of what type of song he’s playing, part of the charm of Devy’s solo material is that, as is so often the case, these songs work so splendidly by manufacturing an overload – because Devin is an excellent producer, all of the individual layers of the sound remain distinguishable, but in most of these tracks, there is just so much going on that eventually the listener says, more or less, “Fuck it,” and decides to surrender to the waves upon waves of gorgeous noise. The real trick, and one of the least replicable aspects of Townsend’s genius, is that this overload doesn’t feel confrontational (as in most actual noise music – Skullflower, I’m looking at you, you crazy fuck), but rather warm and inviting, like wandering into a thick forest in the middle of a thunderstorm – sure, you get a bit wet, but there’s shelter in there, and a real feeling of almost existential density.
For my money, the album peaks exactly where it should, with the final two tracks. “Life is All Dynamics” is absolutely one of the best songs on here, and features some of Devin’s most heart-rendingly intense vocals. I mean, seriously: Put on this song just about as loudly as you can handle, and I fucking dare you to not find yourself stomping around your house like a goddamned flesh-hungry velociraptor (or even a stegosaurus on a serious trip of plant withdrawal) in time to Devin’s hollering “LIFE! IS! ALL! DY-! -NAMICS!!!” Science will soon prove it impossible. The transition into the closing track, “Unity,” is also extremely classy; given the tension-building suspended outro of the preceding track (remember? You’ve just stopped thrashing [your dinosaur tail around] like a maniac [Jurassic Metallica - shit, I've just invented a crossover children's cartoon & heavy metal hit]), the rich and mellow tones of this song are a perfect come-down. Plus, I think there’s a nice bit of commentary done by book-ending the album with tracks called “Infinity” and “Unity,” which seems to be reflective of the type of worldview Devin often represents in his solo works (though here I’m especially thinking of “Triumph” from Synchestra, which, in the interest of full disclosure, is probably the best song that has ever been written).
The bonus tracks on the version of Infinity that I own, I don’t know, I could pretty much take them or leave them. The track “Noisy Pink Bubbles” (which may or may not be Devin’s tribute to Helloween’s Pink Bubbles Go Ape – I prefer to think not…) is especially odd, with some child chorus vocals sounding straight out of Annie or some such musical, and clean electric guitar strumming over an almost “Lust for Life” drumbeat. Also included are live acoustic versions of “Sister” and “Hide Nowhere” from the Ocean Machine album, which are nice for a change of pace, but although the latter especially features some nice vocals from a very closely-mic’ed Devin, it also drags a bit as an all-acoustic number. There’s also an early band demo of a track called “Man” on here, which sounds, well, like a demo – decent enough, but kind of like an unfinished thought. These bonus tracks, then, are mostly interesting curios for the true Townsend fanatic (which, truth be told, is me), but although this album thrives based on its disparate moods and sounds, I really think it is perfectly capped by “Unity,” so I typically end it there.
In comparing Infinity to Ocean Machine – Biomech, it seems pretty clear that Infinity explores a much broader range of sounds and moods, and does so in a much shorter running time. Which one you prefer may just depend on what you’re looking for, although I find that Infinity edges out Ocean Machine by a non-trivial margin, and undoubtedly established Devin Townsend as one of metal’s most outstanding and relentlessly creative musicians.
Overall rating: 94%. I STILL haven’t stopped crashing around my house to “Life is All Dynamics.” Devin Townsend: Metal Genius Extraordinaire & Inducer of Perpetual Motion. Take that, physics.
(Note: Originally posted at http://spinaltapdance.wordpress.com/)
All right, understand that I’m a HUGE Devin Townsend fan. Ocean Machine is one of my favorite albums, and in my opinion his output as The Devin Townsend Band is up there with the greatest as well. However, this to me is like the ugly duckling of his collection. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find myself enjoying this as much as his other albums on the account of the songs themselves.
The atmosphere is huge, like the white light at end of the movie Cube (if only most knew what really went on in that white light). The production makes this album sound much like a dream sequence; as if we’re stuck in Devin’s mind while his personal thoughts and inner demons are flying around. Every track sounds powerful, heavy, and full of life. However, it also sounds convoluted, seriously inconsistent, and sometimes not even that good. I understand where many people may see this as a masterpiece, but I can’t see myself enjoying the whole of this album.
“Ants” itself is just a cacophonous wreck that amounts to nothing, thankfully only lasting a couple minutes. Very superb instrumentation, but as a song, it’s just unbearable to listen to; true to the nature and theme of the album as Devin faces his inner feelings, though. “Colonial Boy” right after it I found unmemorable, too. It has a very traditional tune to it, but I felt myself skipping it every time for its lack of quality (sounds more like ideas in a mixed bag). “Soul Driven Cadillac” again just sounds like filler for the sake of the overall theme – a nasty stain on a journey through Devin’s thoughts. Again, these tracks make up the whole picture, but in their own right they just don’t stand very well as single tracks.
“Bad Devil,” while jazzy and interesting, just didn’t cut it for me. I don’t know, it just sounds like it’s on the wrong album, sounding more like something from Synchestra, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a fun track, but again I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as other listeners.
The reason why this album still retains a positive score is due to the signature production style, atmosphere, and guitar tone. The drums are unyielding and persistent as ever, but even though they’re loud, too, they just don’t shine over the ambiance. The guitars still sound epic and loving as ever, maybe even better than most albums. The riffs themselves aren’t anything special, but the way they go in from one ear and out the other is just majestic. It’s what gives the album its fluffy, flying-through-the-clouds-like-Mario feel. It’s clear, crispy, and accompanied by Devin’s recognizable vocal style, makes other hits like “Christeen,” “War,” and “Dynamics” the tracks of choice. The clear, child-like, tranquil vocal work of Townsend are, in itself, dreamlike. His screaming / yelling is emotional on it’s own, but it’s the clean ones that make you shed a tear as he spills his personal feelings all over the scene.
Hard to really pin my finger on this one; I enjoy it, but I don’t really count it as anything special when compared to his debut and others such as Terria or Accelerated Evolution. Don’t let this review get the best of you and make you avoid this piece. Just look at it as an honest opinion by a fan.
After much contemplation and listening to as wide a variety of music as I could before ever trying to make a judgement, I have decided that regardless of if I can consider this my favorite album of all-time or not, or however much I will ever listen to this or even think in the future, I've come to one conclusion:
This is the single most brilliant, immersive, emotional and thought-provoking piece of music ever devised.
First, let's attempt the impossible: describing the album. Although by now most people listening to this have probably heard enough Townsend to realize generally what his signature sound is: very melodic metal with an incredibly unique hybrid of crushing heaviness complemented by his operatic clean vocals and edgy harsher vocals that create an incredibly powerful atmosphere. Sound interesting? You must listen to all of Townsend's work then.... with this album as his magnum opus, undoubtedly.
Infinity may be his solo debut, but regardless of any "poppy" influences in any of his songs like Christeen, it still fits exactly whatever message Townsend is trying to convey to us... The genius of this album is that the lyrics only seem to complement, rather than define, what is being said here, and the music itself as a whole is what pulls the emotions from you whether you're prepared for it or not, whether you like it or not. You don't listen to Infinity, you EXPERIENCE Infinity. The album is a journey through life as a whole, and all the thoughts, emotions and experiences that accompany it, from birth to death.
To try and get through this album song by song in-depth is most likely impossible, as the album is meant to be listened to all the way through. I will only cover the original tracklisting and omit Noisy Pinkbubbles and the demo songs on other reissues/re-releases of the songs:
Truth's opening riff gives you your first little taste of what this album has to offer you, the lone, somewhat inviting and melodic guitar part that quickly builds into a much heavier and absolutely crushing riff with the drums and other synth/programmed effects entering as well. This is the atmosphere that Townsend embraces and uses to its fullest effect in almost all his works, and one you will most likely come to embrace and love as well. The song continues to develop this atmosphere with Townsend's layered vocals and backup singers joining him, with the playful "la la la la la" and more inviting "Hello..... It's back." A great introduction to the album.
The single of the album Christeen which is probably one of the greatest signles to ever be released off an album in my opinion. The first simply structured song on the album retains Townsend's signature sound and atmosphere and begins Townsend's first major experience in life: love. Bad Devil covers the reckless years of life while most people are still young and not thinking about the consequences of their actions. One of my favorites on the albu, Bad Devil features a trombone and upright bass solo... not something most metal bands would incorporate.
Most of the rest of the songs collectively can be summed up as growing older and reflecting on the past, re-thinking what your life means and what life in general still means and never really coming to a solid conclusion.... leaving things open to your own interpretation. I'll make note that Ants is the most technical and progressive song on the album, progressive in the sense of lots of odd time signatures and whatnot, and being even more odd than most of the rest of the album.
Although I don't mean to snub the middle of the rest of the album, still excellent and just as praise-worthy as the intro and the grand finale, trying to explain this album is nearly impossible. I'll only try and explain what I think I can try to convey to you reading this review:
The climax of the album comes with Dynamics. My personal favorite song on the album, one of my favorite songs ever written and the culmination of everything else on the album, Dynamics is THE main reason to listen to Infinity, if not for the rest of it. Its lyrical content is the most thought-provoking I've ever come across, and the music bolsters this effect. I will leave it up to you to interpret what you believe it means.... but Townsend's quiet, clean intro and harmonized vocals in the background and its sudden stop and shift into a huge, epic, heavy atmosphere of pure serenity as he howls out the final, truly meaningful lyrics of the album are one of the most incredible sections of music ever written. Its calm and decline into Unity, a track similar to Truth closes the album with few final words repeating in the background through the majority of the song continue the feelings evoked by Dynamics and slowly bring you down slightly.... but only enough to make you want to listen to the album again just to try and figure out what in the hell Townsend is trying to say.
Although my review probably seems like a bunch of random, slanted, stuttered incoherent thoughts about the album, I guess my goal has been achieved. I proved to myself that there is no real way to describe this album in words.... you must listen to it. It's what Townsend attempted to, and ultimately did achieve. He made an ambiguously themed album where it is not just the lyrics that make you think.... it's the music itself. Townsend left it to his audience to figure out what he was trying to say.... and In retrospect, Townsend may not even have been entirely sure of what he was trying to convey to people with this album. Just something, anything...
This is what music should be.
This is the epitome of what the human mind can develop.
This is Infinity. And you must experience it. If I could give it higher than a 100%, I most certainly would. Listen to it ASAP, whether you already have or not.
There are actually three words which suffice to describe this album adequately: What the fuck?
From the beginning a sonic maelstrom of noisy walls of sounds comes crashing onto your head and chances are you'll leave with a droning headache after your first listen of this. This is mind overkill. The album sucks you in, lets you stare into the face of God, run through green fields of life, dance with Lucifer's big band, drive your soul like a Cadillac, go crazy, get a grasp of infinity, go crazy again and leaves your mind blank - white, like the cover of the album, with Devin sitting naked in the front, smiling at you. "Now we are one. You have felt what I felt".
Devin himself stated that while doing this album, he actually had to stay in mental hospital, for the lyrical substance was just too much for him to handle. the lyrics of the song "War" say:
In the morning 'bout three or so
Can't stop thinking about what I know
In the morning 'bout three or so
Can't stop thinking of the universe
Try doing that without feeling like you're going crazy. "Where did we come from?", "Why are we here?", "What's the fucking point?" these are questions which hold just too many information to fit into our small human brains at once. "What is God?" The album offers no solution. It offers a way. A way to come to terms with it yourself.
I actually had quite a revelation myself while listening to this album. A dark room. Full volume. A beer in my hand, my head in the other one. My heart in my mouth, my mind in the music. I felt I could understand what Devin was trying to show me. Words have limited value as bearers of information - it gets lost in the process of fitting your thoughts into words and then again while de-modulating words into thoughts. This was something else. I felt an almost divine (Devine?) connection with the music and with the subject it was dealing with. There was a rather big plant in the room. I was able to see it clearly. Upon not focusing on anything, my eyes still pointed towards the plant - it started to disappear into blackness, the blackness expanding across the whole room, the whole universe. Once I tried to focus either on the plant, the blackness, the music, or the strange feeling I felt, the blackness disappeared and the plant came into view. Listening deeper and deeper into the album, I was slowly learning how to expand the period of staying unfocused little by little.
Infinity is a concept of the human soul finding its way through life, seeking its connection with the world, life and God. At least this is, how I perceive the record. It's not about the lyrics. It's about pure, raw energy and feelings transmitted through music. The lyrics aren't the bearer of thoughts. The music itself is the bearer of feelings. "Unity" is the last song within the concept. The soul comes to terms with whatever it's believing it has found out and slowly fades away. Listening to that song that night I came to believe to have found out something. About God. Life. Infinity. Myself.
I cannot tell you what I have found out exactly, for it is a indefinite feeling, not a concrete thought. It doesn't let me write down the meaning of it all on a piece of paper. I can not. It does let me feel at peace. I have come to terms with it. I think I know. I can. "I can and I can not" - these words are printed inside of the booklet, below the infinity symbol. And it is indeed quite the oxymoron of existence. I believe, that I can understand, come to terms, somehow. I can not explain, however. No one can. You have got to do it yourself. This is the lesson, the message. The final solution in the song "Dynamics" is the conclusion of it all. Dev says:
Unsure? Well, here's help with the wait
The heavens move and the earth will quake
And now God has failed as a metaphor
There's only awe forever more
Life is all dynamics
Life is all... dynamics
There's life in all dynamics
Life is all dynamic [x3]
Unsure? Well, here's help with the weight
There's only "God" for "heaven's" sake
There's only one key to unlock the door
You must get the metaphor
Devin and the little plant taught me one thing: You cannot grasp infinity. It can only grasp you.
I just got this album. No, I didn't just buy it, I just understood it...after so long of trying to comprehend it...I get it. And lo and behold, it is beautiful and amazing and majestic and badass and awe-inspiring and divine. Add another five star rating to Devin Townsend from me; this one is one of the most amazing releases ever.
While Terria feels like the story of the earth, Ocean Machine the story of the ocean, and Synchestra the story of all things good in life, this album is the story of the soul of mankind in relation to god. Yes, I will overinterprete that much. Maybe if you ever love this album as much as I do, you'll do the same. The journey of the human soul in it's purest and most raw form through life, that's what this is. From the birth to the midlife crisis to the calm at the end of life, this has it all. This is an epic voyage through life and the way god made the human soul.
The album opens up with the most majestic and amazing piece of music I've ever heard, simply entitled Truth. From the opening riff, you can tell it's gonna be majestic. Then Devy comes in with his high yells over those crazy guitar riffs, then everything turns perfect, and oh man, words cannot describe how perfect this song is. The absolute best opener ever. This is the revelation; the awakening; the birth of the soul, and all it is screaming is "OH HELL YES I AM ALIVE AND IT FEELS FUCKING GREAT! HALLELUJAH!" You can feel that being cried out all throughout. Amazing. Truth turns into Christeen, easily the most accessible song on the album. It's more or less a pop rock song with tons of Devy-isms (such as lots of layering and odd touches everywhere). Great great song, lots of fun. This song, I feel, talks of early life, where the soul is free and full of life, and trying to find love, and looking optimistic and happy and finding love, even if there is none. The soul believes there is. Happy upbeat song to represent a happy and upbeat soul.
Next comes probably the most recognizable song on here from Devy fans, which is Bad Devil. This is essentially a big band rock song with awesome organ and a nice shuffle feel all throughout. There's a nice trombone solo interlude halfway through with finger snaps, a jazz keyboard solo. Good singing, and good drumming. What a fun song this is, haha. This song is when the soul gets older, around the teen years, where a person starts to learn of the risky and risque things in life...all the dark sides. It flirts with the dark side though, much like many teenagers. It hasn't been fully imbraced anything bad, but it knows it is all there. Following Bad Devil is another fan favorite, War. This has a shuffle feel as well, except slower. This is a little repetitive, but in no way bad at all. good vocals and lyrics, and the ending is very interesting. And how about that "doo-wap wawap, doo-wap wawap" section in the middle? Awesome. The end is kinda a preview for how weird the album is about to get, I think. This song I feel like is college years to about 25 years, where some hope for love is there, but it's more the soul is searching, trying to balance and stabilize their lives in the hectic life a young person leads...everything is being shoved on the soul and it screaming, "I DON'T WANT YOUR WAR!".
Next is Soul Driven, the first really "out there" song on the album. It's got a very majestic riff around it. It requires all the listener's effort to get anything out of it that's worth noting, and I still haven't gotten all of it. I have picked up on enough to love it though. It's super majestic all throughoutand the way Devy uses his voice is super cool. Something worth noting at 3:50-4:00 is that a melody from Stravisnky's Rite of Spring comes in softly and plays out a little bit. This is the part right before the deep voice comes in. It's just a real cool touch. I feel like this is the first breakdown of the soul, screaming out to whatever the soul worships and believes in, screaming, "WHAT THE FUCK?! THIS IS LIFE? HELP ME!". A cry to whatever one believes in. And the end I had trouble putting meaning to, but I feel like maybe it's saying how after this breakdown, life goes on as normal, frantic and whatnot for simple things, and the weird pop techno feel of what Devy is singing is how life happily goes on without you, breakdown or not.
Ants is next, and it is INSANE! You can almost see tons of little ants scurrying around to accomplish whatever they gotta do. So much layering here, it must have taken forever to produce. This song revolves around the frantic meaningless insanity of the human life and soul around 30...do the laundry! Make money! Make more money! It represents the soul running around like crazy trying to live, and they really have to go nuts to survive.
Wild Colonial Boy is another very good song. It takes some getting used to, as it's different in feel even for this album. This just feels like Devy is messing around a bit. Thus...it's not up to par with the rest of the album, but it's still good, and I like listening to it out of sequence with the rest of the album. If I had to interpret this...it's the soul quietly on the side during the bussle of life, trying to say it still has some of that carefree freedom that we saw in Christeen...it's just muffled by the formality and retardedness of life. This is around age 40-50 now.
Dynamics is similar to Soul Driven, just done better and with a much nicer beginning. I like this song quite a bit...I mean, I already liked Soul Driven, and this is just a super-buffed up version of that song. The last three minutes absolutely tear my head off...this is the climax of the album, the last three minutes of this album. It's as hardcore and emotional and majestic as possible. This song is the second and final breakdown, starting to reach nearer to the end of your life, and saying..."My life has been one crazy as hell ride...holy CRAP! I'M ALIVE, BUT I'M LOST I'M LOST I'M LOST IN THIS CRAZY WORLD." It's another cry to god, more of a cry of asking what my life has been about, and the insanity of it all, and how nothing feels real and so on. The final screaming at the end of this song is the true climax of this album. It sums up the feel so well...just a mighty scream at the behemoth that is life.
Unity is the end of your life. It is the relaxing, the calming down..."I''m ok now...I'll make it, through this damned life of mine...it's almost over, and I'll enjoy what I have. It's alright...I'm home." I always feel like this is the grandparent stage of life, watching your kids grow, your grandkids, and just being happy for them, and relaxing yourself after working hard through the insanity all your life. It's a very peaceful song that could cheer anyone up. Wonderful relaxing feel. The end grows, symbolising how life is still insane, but the original peaceful melody and feel stays intact. Because it's alright. The soul is at peace. The song ends with a minute of silence..the fade out into death. But a peaceful fade out. Such a nice song, it's a little repetitive but so pretty I don't care at all. In fact it's one of my favorite songs on the whole allbum.
Noisy Pink Bubbles is plenty of fun, it's kinda a stoner-ish song, which is ok. It's well-done, and starts with some real funky stuff going on. The second half is more interesting yet. I can't even describe it or draw up comparisons, like I can't for most of this album because there's nothing else like it. It kinda has a Pink Floyd feel to it, almost. This doesn't fit into the story, because the story is over.
So basically, this album breaks down into two halves: the first four songs, which are the more accessible and more satisfying songs, and the next five having more focus on crazy layering and a rather divine feel. So divine the listener might not enjoy them, actually. But they are divine. For audio buffs a most here, and for anyone with patience, they will reward you greatly. Then...Noisy Pink Bubbles is in a class of its own.
I guess I more told of my interpretation of the album than anhything else, heh. This might just be my favorite album of all time, next to In Absentia, Fragile, Wish You Were Here, The Perfect Element, El Cielo, all the giants.
Don’t let the minimalism of the cover art fool you, “Infinity” by Devin Townsend harnesses abysmal ambience as the underlying element of this otherwise impressive sphere of songwriting. Consequently, there isn’t one album by this man, under his solo moniker or not, that doesn’t exercise massive and omnipresent atmosphere. However, “Infinity” is the epitome of Townsend’s own distinct style.
Many overlook this album and relinquish their attention for the also very good “Terria,” or his latest piece “Accelerated Evolution,” which has garnered the largest amount of publicity compared to any of his earlier works. But surprisingly, “Infinity” is if anything his best effort to date. Assuming that the impending “Synchestra” does not outweigh Townsend’s “Ocean Machine” follow up. Which it very well may.
Firstly, what intrigued me about “Infinity” was the intimate fusion Townsend had created between the guitars and keyboards. Listening to tracks such as “Truth,” “Soul Driven,” “War” and “Dynamics” demonstrates the puzzling qualities of the production, whereas it is often impossible to distinguish the two instruments apart. Secondly, another attribute of “Infinity” that struck me as interesting was the inability to detect the intricacies of the keyboards upon the first attempt to listen to the album. This, however, should not be considered detrimental to it’s success, but rather an opportunity for it to possess further interpretations coinciding every listen.
Also complimentary to the album is the perfected structure or the deliverance of the songs. Townsend seems to alternate between the tracks mostly associated with atmosphere and those mostly associated with catchy songwriting, despite the notion that often there are hybrids of these two separate directions. Of course, the rather viscous fluidity of “Infinity” is intentionally interrupted with bizarre interludes perpetrated by Townsend’s vocalizations to recapture your interest. Much like the “City” album by Strapping Young Lad, some tracks end a little too soon, thus having the ending segment bleed into the beginning of the next song. Not to mention the track “Ants,” which is a two-minute departure into horrendously technical (perhaps even mechanical) lunacy. “Ants” is also a useful introductory to the second half of “Infinity,” driven home by “Dynamics” and “Unity,” satisfying the most stubborn individual with torrents of ambience and canonical singing (“Dynamics”) followed by a decent into a tranquil electric guitar (undistorted) and heavily saturated keyboard installment gentle enough to lull one to sleep (“Unity”).
Especially with the limited edition version, including “Noisy Pink Bubbles” in the track listing, this album is undoubtedly a masterpiece and rightfully receives 100%.
Firstly, this is my first Devin Townsend album. I first heard him on the Steve Vai album "Sex and Religion". I loved the passion and commitment in his vocal work and when I found out that he had a solo project and SYL I quickly picked up this, Infinity.
Straight off the bat I didn't think it was anything special. It wasn't bad music, but I didn't like the production. Everything seemed so blurred and all over the place. It was like the man just kept adding more and more tracks and not caring about musical flow and direction.
Oh how wrong I was. The beauty of some music is LEARNING to appreciate it and in good time to love it. An album which you have to work on to like is often the most rewarding in the long run, and this is definately the case. I continued to listen to the album, and once becoming for familiar with the songs, I began to understand. Now I absolutely love this album and completely understand the direction Devin was taking.
Every time you listen to it there is something new to discover, something you didn't discover last time. This music is often beautiful and surreal, but can also be quite in your face, in a very good way of course.
The reason for the 91% rating is due to the song Soul Driven. It's a good song, but not on par with the rest of the album. I know that this rating will drag the overall rating of the album down, but honestly, if your still sitting here reading this review then there is something wrong. GET OUT and purchase this album! You will definately not regret it.
I know I don't.