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When I heard the first word on this album, my expectations were very, very high. Balding Bipolar Canadian 'Heavy' Devvy Townsend making a concept album about (aboot?) a four dimensional alien threatening to blow up planet Earth unless they provide him with the universes ultimate cup of coffee??
Yes please, thought I. I was further intrigued to discover that Devvy was taking control of all the playing on the album and production duties! Ordinarily this would be a cause for concern, but for Devster it merely gives him the opportunity to totally realise his vision.
Musically, this album is absolutely flawless, showcasing all of Devin's different styles, including some of his heaviest non-SYL material ever (the driving riffs and double bass onslaught of Ziltoidia Attaxx!) right through to some of his most mellow and relaxing pieces at the other end of the spectrum (the quasi ambient Solar Winds), with a perfect mix of heavier songs, atmospheric slower songs and (hilarious) narrative interludes; from a compositional point of view, this is Townsend's most accomplished work. Indeed! The strongest individual song on the album is probably "Planet Smasher", with some excellent riffs and weird otherworldy vocals from Townsend (Please do not release the planet smasher mighty Ziltoid). Devin's vocals are also a major strong point of this album, as the diversity of his music allows him to use his full range, insane shrieks and well delivered clean vocals.
Lyrically this album really comes into its own. The bizarre and amusing storyline is developed and given life with Devvy's unique eccentric style, using a number of different voices to simulate the various characters, and what a bright and colourful cast they are! I don't want to give too much of the story away (The name's Herman...and I hate musicals!), but I will say that judging by the ending, Devin took a few notes from Arjen Lucassen when he was involved with his Human Equation album. I also wonder whether or not the musical Return to the Forbidden Planet influenced Devvy at all - if he's even heard of it, I'm not sure.
Ziltoid The Omniscient is a surreal, heavy, funny, clever and listenable album which IMO is his best yet. You better believe it humans! So yeah, in the words of the trailerpark boys, kick back, roll a six paper joint, get fucking wrecked and listen to this album!