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The mad scientist of metal is at it again with this humorous and satirical delve into what can only be described as a form of comedic Space Operatic prog. Devin Townsend weaves a tale in 'Ziltoid The Omniscient' of a self-conceited alien being that seeks coffee to fulfill his time-travelling desires. In taking over earth (with his virtuosic guitar skills) a rebellion is formed, led by Ziltoid's nemesis, Captain Spectacular. While the plot is obviously not meant to be taken seriously, the music (at points) can be extremely beautiful and powerful.
The music is best described as a heavier version of the typical Devin Townsend band work, mixed with a dose of Devin's extreme metal band, Strapping Young Lad. There is some very heavy material on this record. 'Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!' is bone-shattering, to say the least, and Devin's screams have never sounded better in any of his work then on 'Ziltoid.'
The ironic thing about this album is despite its considerably high rating, it was recorded in Devin Townsend's living room! There's a real sign of talent when someone doesn't even have to leave the confines of their house to write something so entertaining. However, it is this fact in which the albums suffers the most. For the most part, the production quality is fine; while it doesn't match up to the Devin Townsend Band material in terms of sound quality, all things considered, it's very good. The thing that bothers me about this album though is the fact that all of the percussion is played by a drum machine, and not a living, breathing human being. While purely musically, things are fine and the compositions are great, the album would have just that much more power if it used real musicians. Drum machines should be left as a jam tool, not a band member.
One song that really seems to stand out is the laid-back 'Hyperdrive.' Despite it being consisting of a pretty simple guitar riff, and garbled vocals, it creates such an amazing atmosphere and feeling of loneliness, as if the listener really is travelling through the coldness of space.
While releases like 'Terria' and 'Ocean Machine' have more of an immortal quality about them, 'Ziltoid The Omniscient' is actually one of my most initially enjoyed albums, and demonstrates that you don't have to write serious music, to be serious about music.