Metal Review: Devin Townsend Project: Z2 (2014)

Devin Townsend Project: Z2

Purchase Devin Townsend Project: Z2

At the time of its creation, “Ziltoid the Omniscient” was a time for change for Devin Townsend. It was a reboot of sorts for Townsend’s career and life. His solo band was disbanded and Strapping Young Lad has run its course. Townsend returns home to think things through and to decide on his future. On his return, “Ziltoid the Omniscient” was released and it became a game changer. The sheer raw sound of the album was a statement. Townsend recorded it on his own with a drum machine and never even toured for the album.

Since those days, which seem like an eternity ago, Devin Townsend has once again proved to be a hyper-talented musician who released music is large doses. These doses consisted of many various styles making it hard to believe that they even could come from the mind of the same musician.

With 2014, Devin Townsend Project has released a number of albums, but the one that everyone wants to talk about is “Z2,” the sequel to “Ziltoid the Omniscient,” which has been talked about for a long time. You would be foolish to think that “Z2” would be too reminiscent of the seminal album from Townsend as that is not his style. This is a different time both in date and in mental status for the musician. His mind was in a different place when “Ziltoid the Omniscient” was conceived.

Z2” is a double album, each of which is its own album. It makes the most sense to talk about each album by itself since that is the way that the artist thinks of them.

Sky Blue Review

“Sky Blue” begins the journey and is a more melodic, ambient piece of work with many waxes and wanes throughout the listeners journey through the artist’s mind. Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) is back for another run with Townsend and people who know me know that I am enamored with her voice. The passion that she sings with is not rivaled by too many people and the beauty in her voice is unmatched. As van Giersbergen interplays with Townsend, they show that they still work as well together as they did back on “Addicted.” The difference between “Sky Blue” and “Addicted” is that she is not always the highlight of each track. The tracks are so well written that she is simply another piece of this well-formed puzzle.

The album opens with the groovy Rejoice, which seems to get better with each listen. They are so many other highlights to this album, but I cannot name them all. Fallout becomes a track with such great interplay between the two vocalists as well as Warrior, A New Reign and Silent Militia, the latter of which has some heavy riffs which highlight that track.

Dark Matters Review

“Dark Matters” is the true sequel to “Ziltoid the Omniscient,” but is nowhere near as heavy. Does that mean that it is any less inspirational? Not at all. The album in its entirety is excellent with so many good things being the composition of it. While it is not quite the album is its predecessor, it is still very well done in its own right.

“Dark Matters'” strength resides in its power and presence that is fed to the listener. The tracks are very atmospheric and sound “big.” As with some of Devin Townsend’s work, there are some failures and some triumphs, but that is par for the course with a musician that fires off new music at the rate that he does. There are some silly moments, but as an overall piece of art, it comes off so well.

Overall, 2014 is another great year to be a Devin Townsend fan with his multitude of releases. “Z2” highlights the year and gives it the proper send off.