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Devin Townsend Project – Ghost

Label: Inside Out Music
Format: CD download
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/ 10

The name Devin Townsend is synonymous with mellow beauty (http://www.metalpodcast.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/syl3.jpg). OK maybe not. This guy's career has produced more audience-cringing moments than the Evil Dead films, from Mrs. Steve Vai's labor screams to the raw psychodump of Strapping Young Lad's "Alien" CD. Yet, always one to defy expectations, Devin Townsend has co-released the separate (yet connected?) albums "Ghost" and "Deconstruction". I've already reviewed the latter for Metal Asylum calling it the album of 2011.


Where "Deconstruction" is an overwhelming sensory onslaught, "Ghost" is a work of mellow beauty. There are melodic nods to some of his early solo material, but this is otherwise an utter departure from the heaviest material of his past.

The combinations of flute, synthesizer, clean, acoustic, and shimmering guitars, world music melodies and soaring vocals, synthesizer, flute, and then even more flute - - plus Devin's innovative song-styling lead to what could pretty easily be categorized as a New Age release. It's closest musical comparisons change throughout the CD, ranging from Enya to Clannad (her sister's band) to Mike Oldfield, R. Carlos Nakai, and Jean-Michel Jarre. Yet, while this is not a Metal release in any way, the early reception seems to be overwhelmingly positive from his devotees and the metal community at large (proving yet again that Metal culture is more sophisticated than the general public would like to think).

"Ghost" is in indeed yet another triumph for Devin Townsend, although it's not quite a masterpiece on the level of its yang, "Deconstruction". There are a few long stretches which fail to compel or challenge, and at time, the flute is overdone, as I alluded earlier. Still, the central section of Ghost is about as lovely and magical as anything you're likely to hear this year.

Beginning with the title track at #5 and continuing uninterrupted through Track #9, ‘Texada’, the melodies are light, yet rich, lively, intriguing, and infectious. The interplay between male and female vocals on the tracks ‘Blackberry’ and ‘Texada’ is simply gorgeous. If you're still making song mixes for your S.O., then look no further. Lyrically, it seems that Devin has eased back also on his sometimes-raunchy sense of humor and his in-your-face confrontations, playing more with whimsy and wonder.

In spite of the album's less interesting moments, the great material here is strong and plentiful enough that the whimsy and wonder will be right there for you too. In spite of those few lesser moments, "Ghost" not an album to be missed.

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