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One look at my past reviews will tell you I love Devin Townsend. He's a gisgustingly prolific artist yet maintains a golden standard of quality like no other artist. He also sounds like no other artist or band out there, and yet his albums sound nothing alike. Not surprisingly, this album sounds nothing like his others, but has a problem this time. This album is pretty inconsistent, stemming from a bad mix of SYL and DTB solo stuff.
Don't get me wrong, there are times where the mix of SYL and DTB works, but it also throws in there a different kind of sound, close to SYL but with the angry passion turned into something else. Color Your World is one of the heaviest songs on the album, but actually works without really sounding like pure SYL. Besides the middle of course, which is a heavenly DTB-styled interlude. But these mixes work because the SYL stuff sounds like Alien or City more than anything else.
In terms of what SYL and DTB sounds he's taking, the Devin Townsend solo parts stuff sound like a mix of Infinity and Ocean Machine. This is a very good mix, let me tell you, and the soft parts work. Hyperdrive and The Greys sound like pure Ocean Machine with some Infinity thrown in. It sounds great.
The SYL-sounding stuff sounds like The New Black. Which is a problem. The New Black wasn't bad per se, but when combined with DTB-styled stuff, it just sounds messy and retarded. So when Devin combines his Alien and Infinity sounds a la Color Your World (mostly because Alien and Infinity really aren't that far away from each other), it works, but when he combines The New Black with his solo stuff, it sounds bad. N9 is one of the worst Devin Townsend songs ever, Ziltodia Attaxx has no power and sounds like a cheap SYL imitation, and the first four minutes of By Your Command are all over the place.
The real problem is that the stuff combining TNB with Infinity or Ocean Machine lacks the passion of SYL and the intimate presence of OM and Infinity. You're left with a rather vacant bland-sounding metal song which doesn't have a true direction, it's so torn. N9 is terribly written too, so that doesn't help it.When the album shines though, is when it takes Alien and Infinity and meshes them coherently into Devin's new sound. Or if he just takes one of the sounds of those albums.
The humor is ok the first time, but irritating after. It's detracting to have a one-minute build up to Planet Smasher, delaying and holding back a really good song. For what? For a crappy narrative. The story isn't even interesting. Whatever. It's inconsistent and suffers from too many different Devin Townsend sounds thrown together, but when eh actually finds the right mix, look out.
Songs to look for: Color Your World, Hyperdrive, The Greys, Planet Smasher