Devin Townsend Project – Ghost

Finally, a two year saga has been wrapped up for this Canadian musical mastermind. Starting in 2009, former Strapping Young Lad frontman and acclaimed solo musician Devin Townsend set off on reinventing himself with a series of four vastly different albums; a project he would call the Devin Townsend Project. After an atmospheric rock, pop, and symphonic extreme metal album, Townsend has now come to the final installment in what he has stated is the culmination of his musical career. Here it is, the long awaited record ‘Ghost’, which apprises the man’s ambient and most laid back side. While the album maintains the same level of decent quality that the rest of the Devin Townsend Project’s output has amounted to, ‘Ghost’ stands on its own as a very pleasant and easy listen, but perhaps too much so. Although it is a strong piece of new age music, the one tracked nature of ‘Ghost’ can lead to a fairly numbing experience at times.

Although ‘Ghost’ is a complete contrast to the previous Project album ‘Deconstruction’, it works in very much the same way. Sticking to one sense of dynamic and running with it, Devin Townsend uses a very calming, folky, new age mellowness with this; acoustic guitars, eastern flutes, jazzy drum work and ethereal vocal works are set forth to make this the ultimate relaxation album. To some extent, Townsend achieves this. If any word can come to mind here, it is ‘soothing’; even Townsend’s usually over-the-top vocal delivery is toned down to a soft, gentle croon for this. While the effect is nice for a while, it can get undeniably tedious at times. Especially considering the album’s stretched length passing the seventy minute mark, it is very possible to be both relaxed and bored by the album.

My personal favourite from the record may very well be the song ‘Feather’, which like much of the material on ‘Ghost’ is quite a drawn out and ambient piece, but it is quick to show the strongest aspects of this side of the man’s work. Easily the greatest thing about ‘Ghost’ is in fact the production; although the songwriting is generally nothing special or particularly inspired, it is clear that plenty of thought has gone into fleshing out each track into part of this otherwordly experience. From Townsend’s staple ‘wall of sound’ effects to incredibly warm vocal harmonies and an amount of detail and nuance that surprisingly rivals ‘Deconstruction’, ‘Ghost’ is an intricate piece of music, even if it may lack the sort of songwriting depth and dynamic to keep a listener interested throughout.

Tracklist:

1. Fly (4:15)
2. Heart Baby (5:55)
3. Feather (11:30)
4. Kawaii (2:52)
5. Ghost (6:24)
6. Blackberry (4:53)
7. Monsoon (4:37)
8. Dark Matters (1:57)
9. Texada (9:30)
10. Seams (4:04)
11. Infinite Ocean (8:01)
12. As You Were (8:47)

Line-up:

* Devin Townsend – guitars, bass, vocals, banjo
* Dave Young – keyboards
* Mike St. Jean – drums
* Kat Epple – flute

Links:

http://www.devintownsend.com/

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