The Devin Townsend Project: Ghost

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The Devin Townsend Project: Ghost
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The Devin Townsend Project: Ghost
Industrial, Progressive Rock
InsideOut Music
June 21st, 2011
Release length: 1:12:45
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Ghost is perhaps the most intriguing of all the four releases that make up The Devin Townsend Project conceptual album series. After going through a wide range of material, a lighter self-explorative album, a more upbeat and fun release, and returning to Devin’s more sarcastic and zany Industrial Metal side, the series ends with perhaps the most zen-like album yet with Ghost. This album is essentially what you might expect to hear at some kind of spa to produce the most relaxing and uplifting environment possible, but does it manage to do this well, or does the crazier elements of Devin Townsend happen into the final mix?

Ghost is an album you wouldn’t want the more traditionally accepted insantiy of Devin Townsend to be introduced to. Instead, this release feels more like Ki should have been given it’s lighter approach, except with this release, there’s no real personal sensations or explorations. Ghost feels more like a meditative release that can send the spirit of a fine journey. “Fly” introduces this well with it’s more Progressive and Space Rock meets Industrial elements in the background against light Rock music and soothing clean vocals. The track can feel somewhat spiritual as well, perhaps more in a natural folk or even Native American spirituality sense at the end of “Fly” and the start of “Heart Baby” with the howling that appears in the background, though a more Folk influence seems to exists with the earlier additional instruments that accompany “Heart Baby”, as well as other nature effects like the running water accompanied by a harp and piano on “Feature”, the longest track of the recording, and perhaps the most relaxing of them all, though some moments did strike through at the end of an influence from the video game Final Fantasy VII, but that’s more then likely a sheer coincidence, and one only devoties to that gaming series will pick up on.

As the album progresses, Ghost shows signs of being more then just focusing on light music to create a zen-like atmosphere. “Ghost” ushers in some more traditional light Rock ideas to the mix to create a rather catchy track, and “Blackberry” does the same, though the music feels richer and more upbeat, includes female vocals, and devates from the zen qualities of the recording with a slightly heavier feel to the song that, by the end, actually brings in some white noise in the mix with some background screaming or harsher sounding vocals that last for a short while before quickly closing with the lighter music and bringing back the croaking frog effects that started off the song. This is the only time the material gets heavy, and it’s incorporated more through build up then a simple transition, allowed it to work for the song due to how rich it becomes with the other instruments and vocal performances, but in the end it just doesn’t really fit the overall idea of the song and stands out more as being a bit too much for the release.

While there are more tracks on here that take up that Light Rock performance, the general idea of the album appears to be the more Folk inspired zen atmospheres. “Texada” is a nice example of this, as it starts more like a traditional Folk-inspired song that keeps with the already established Light Rock ideas, but also manages to shift in some of the zen spirituality music that adorns “Feather”, “Heart Baby” and plenty other tracks. This works to the advantage of the album as it sounds unique to the rest of the music, and doesn’t really seem to go too far out of it’s way to make an impact like “Blackberry”. “Seams”, however, starts off a bit rocky. The transition between the two is to have “Texada” bleed into it, and it works, but at times it sounds like one of the instruments are overmodulated a bit, and instead of getting a decent Industrialized soothing background sound, it can get a little too high and sound more like echoing reverb, giving the track a bit of an odd little slant that doesn’t really hurt the song, but does become a little annoying after a while as it can drown out the acoustic guitar and soft vocals.

Ghost makes for one of the most relaxing entries into The Devin Townsend Project, and given the technical Industrial intensity that makes up the album Deconstruction, which is to be released on the same day, it’s almost like looking at a literal audio yin and yang. The music to this album is some of the most mellow and soft Progressive and Light Rock materials you can hope to come across, and it’s perfect for those evenings when you want to just sit back with your favorite comfort vice and just unwind. The album is so well done though that you’ll find yourself using it to unwind anywhere, or just generally enjoying the softer performance that isn’t generic like most of today’s lighter rock material. It becomes a breath of fresh air from all musical perspectives, and in many ways is clearly a very unique blend of Folk and Light Rock/Progressive Rock musical compositions that you can’t help but just appreciate and invite repeat spins from with open arms and a smile on your face. The fact that this release also manages to go for over seventy minutes without making any huge mistakes, or just generally becoming dull, is a feat well accomplished, and hardly ever seen. If you’ve been waiting for that one Devin Townsend Project release to tip the scales in favor of picking up an entry to it, or all four in general, then like Ghost be that vital piece of the puzzle.

01. Fly – 4:14
02. Heart Baby – 5:55
03. Feather – 11:30
04. Kawaii – 2:52
05. Ghost – 6:24
06. Blackberry – 4:53
07. Monsoon – 4:37
08. Dark Matters – 1:57
09. Texada – 9:31
10. Seams – 4:04
11. Infinite Ocean – 8:01
12. As You Were – 8:47

Overall Score: 9.5/10
The Devin Townsend Project (band)
The Devin Townsend Project
Digital review copy of this release provided by InsideOut Music.