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The crazy metal man, the musical genius embraces us with his new sick, complicated music. Ziltoid introduces himself to us in the intro and gives us five earth minutes to make him a decent cup of coffee. After that, the unearthly progressive, atmospheric, atonal yet powerful and mechanic music takes charge.
The guitar tone is very bight and typical of industrial metal. They are sometimes reinforced with echo effects. The bass guitar is not especially significant. Keyboards are widely used in almost all songs to create the typical Devin atmosphere. Space effects are used pretty often just as in Nocturnus – Thresholds album, but surely more than that. This album is like an audio portion of a space movie. The tempo fluctuates throughout the album and even within the songs. A heavy song can have a catchy ballad part within (see: Solar Winds). In N9 there is an oriental melody as well.
It’s no doubt that Devin’s singing is as smashing as his musicianship. Devin’s vocals have a very wide range again. The story parts are told in clean speaking tones and in dialogs which make it easier to follow. He sings in hardly audible whispers, speaking tone, screams, heavy metal style clean vocals and anger driven aggressive tones. You can sometimes recall King Diamond’s vocals. Each character in the story is vocalized in a different tone. One you start listening to the songs, they follow each other and you don’t understand how time passes by.
The downsides of the album for me are the use of a drum machine instead of mighty Hoglan (who I believe is a machine, too) and the lack of guitar solos. The drumming is actually good and not irritating. However, Gene could have made it better. Devin must have added some guitar solos to the album, too. There’s not a single decent guitar solo. In fact, the dialogs, atmosphere, and everchanging tempo keeps your concentration up without the need of a guitar lead. But, I believe that it would just spice up the album.
In conclusion, I believe that this is the best Dev album I have listened to so far, both in terms of songwriting and musicianship. It improves more over several listenings. Producing a concept album takes a good story and a good way of narration aside from meaningful musical integration among the tracks. This album is where you can find them all. Absolutely a must for each metaller’s collection.