Thursday, January 9, 2014
Devin Townsend - Ziltoid The Omniscient (2007)
This is the solo album with a capital S. Devin made the album all by himself (even the drums thanks to the Drumkit From Hell expansion on EZdrummer). This makes it even more impressing since the production is very good and the drums are sounding pretty real (although some parts are just a little too ridiculous). But his best work is not the production nor the work he put into this album. It is the amazingly hilarious concept. Everything with this concept is so well thought of into the finest details. From the dialogues in and between the tracks to the voice acting made by Devin, Dave Young and Brian Waddell.
After a short introduction to this green, lizard like alien who has the same hair style as Devin, the invasion begins with "By Your Command" and "Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!", two heavy songs that shows how Ziltoid got the title as the ultimate 4th dimensional guitar hero, but also two songs that shows the diversity of the album. "By Your Command" is a heavy and progressive piece with an ending that instantly brings out goose bumps and some frenetic headbanging, while "Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!" is more of a faster paced song that could easily have been in the "Mars Attacks" sound track (btw, that movie is so bad that it is sometimes good).
After that, we get to follow Captain Spectacular and his ride towards Nebulon 9, in search for Ziltoids true identity (how that will stop the invasion is beyond my knowledge). This part of the story is explained in "Solar Winds" and "Hyperdrive", two songs that are slower, but are still very much alike the two songs that was before them. "Solar Winds" have a great epic ending and "Hyperdrive" is a shorter song, more fast paced song. I also think "Hyperdrive" is the song on this album that defines the space theme best with its dark feel and laid back vocals. It is without a doubt one of my favourite tracks on this album.
So Ziltoid gets exposed as the nerd he is and the story skips forward to what seems like a crucial thinking process where he decides to attack Earth once again, but this time with the devastating 6th dimensional Planet Smasher. This is without a doubt the heaviest track on the album, and probably the closest we get to being a Strapping Young Lad song (the verse reminds me of the track "Hope" from "The New Black"). I only miss a smashing solo, but other than that, this is a fantastic song with great drum beats, awesome growling, and probably the grandest chorus that Devin has ever created. Makes me wonder why the Planet Smasher rejects Ziltoid after this magnificent effort.
The album ends with Ziltoid visiting the Omnidimensional Creator (or some pot head) to find out his true identity and a plot twist (which I will not reveal. Listen to the album yourself you lazy hippie). This leads us into the most progressive part of the album with the amazingly diverse "Color Your World" as the epic master piece. If it was not for "Color Your World", then I think that "Ziltoid The Omniscient" would be a slightly less awesome album. The technicality and the flow of the song lifts the album from being great to being a master piece. The last two songs of the album are fine pieces as well, but they are clearly behind quality wise against the other songs.
So is this the end of this coffee drinking alien? Devin never intended to continue the story of Ziltoid, but since this album was such a huge success, Ziltoid has been seen in many other medias, such as merchandise, having and own radio show and a coming web series. And yes, there is a follow up album called "Z²" coming hopefully around late 2014/early 2015. A decision I am not surprised of, since this is such a magnificent album with one of the funniest characters the metal community has ever seen. So when Ziltoid will once gain show up in the future, I will certainly give him my finest coffee bean that I have to offer. Hail Ziltoid.
Songs worthy of recognition: Color Your World, By Your Command, Solar Winds, Hyperdrive, Planet Smasher
Rating: 9/10 Tall Lattes