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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%.