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Just when you thought the use of jazz instruments on The New Black was getting a bit zany, Hevy Devy comes back with a concept album so ridiculous, I don't blame anyone for writing it off.
I however would suggest against because this is one of the more interesting records I have heard in some time. From the broad vocal range to the ludicrous story, all weaved in a multi-layered musical extravaganza make this record for the least a difficult one to forget.
There are no standout tracks per say, rather it is the record inits entirety which constitutes the valor of this piece of work. "By Your Command" starts things off in a huge way, with epic industrial riffs Townsend has been known for making over the years. However my favorite track has to be "Solar Winds" which has a much calmer beginning than most of the other tracks with some very nice clean singing which once again gets layered with a multitude of harmonies and samples.
The music itself is very much what you would expect from a metal musical, or at least one that isn't power metal (Avantasia anyone?). The riffs are catchy and not so devastating, however have a rocking quality that keeps you entrenched. However it's Townsend's aura that really makes the magic happen. His vocal delivery is superb. The man ranges from cleans to high and low growls as well as the occasional pitched falsetto. Hell, he even has a great narration voice.
This record is fun. Musically it's worthy of the man's discography to date, and on top of that it's packed with ridicule and the usual omniscience Townsend has displayed throughout his storied career.
It's nice to see that such a respected artist doesn't necessarily have to always take himself so seriously. Horns up!