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Indescribable Brilliance - 100%

Chaos_Inferno, January 27th, 2009

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.