Devin Townsend
Ziltoid the Omniscient


1.0
awful

Review

by Kyle Banick USER (30 Reviews)
June 25th, 2007 | 232 replies | 52,524 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Uninspired and boring, Townsend's latest album reeks of overused production techniques, lacks any sort of life, and just plain sucks.

5 of 8 thought this review was well written

Don't let any of the hype fool you--Ziltoid the Omniscient is an uninspired, generic, tepid piece of trash.

With Townsend himself at the helm of all the instruments, there's a distinct lack of any personality in the performance. While technically good, Townsend's voice sounds dry and fails to emote or, well, sing any interesting melodies. Instrumentally it consists of rehashed guitar riffs and robotic programmed drums lacking any feel or groove. Townsend has been known to rehash riffs in the past, but normally it's masked by outstanding emotion or unpredictable song structures and instrumentation. Not so here; this is an emotionless collection that lacks any sort of purpose. Coined a "self-parody," it turns around and laughs at its awfulness as an excuse to be awful.

Townsend's trademark "wall of sound" production can no longer hide the fact that he's running out of ideas. Imagine Ocean Machine, except lacking the luscious melodies, stark naked emotion and fresh production technique. It's no longer surprising to hear a massive wall of guitars come out of the speakers, and those ambient keyboards underneath still kind of float around meekly, but this time they only feel like layers added on to mask the lack of interesting material. The fact is, it just no longer seems that impressive when any teenage art school drop-out living with his parents, sitting in his boxer shorts can do the exact same thing (and that's kinda the image you get here--he couldn't hire any musicians to inject some life into this ***?).

In hindsight, this release was inevitable. We heard it on Synchestra. As good as that album got in some places, Townsend's downward slide was in the cards--he just doesn't have anything new to say, so instead he's making jokes and love letters proclaiming how happy and content he is with his life.

Promoted as gearing towards a more holistic combination of his vicious metal band, Strapping Young Lad, and his calmer solo project, Townsend indeed injects plenty blasting palm-muted, double-bass metal insanity in here among the more serene, ambient sections. Okay. What now? "Bravura!" He's done the impossible! Even through this predictable song-writing technique, there's no sense of dynamics because the songs never really get genuinely intense. Townsend's production is so easy on the ears that it scrapes out any traces of actual tension and leaves the album sounding the same all the way through.

The "concept" of this album appears humorous in nature and indeed it is. It's a heard-it-before gag (if you can go so far as calling it that)--the kind of horrid joke you wish your friend would just stop telling--only it lasts an hour, and all you can do is hide your head in embarrassment and cringe at the silence after the punchline.

After completion of this album, Townsend announced that he would be retreating from the music industry, washed up and burned out. When your relentless dedication to releasing albums and touring sucks out any imagination, it seems like the right move to make. Let the cards fall where they may--stop pushing things. Townsend has been on the defensive for years now, acting as if he doesn't release every riff and lousy vocal melody he comes across while noodling on his basement laptop, he may not be the prolific artist he's reputed to be. So now he's caught himself between a rock and a hard place. Like in a chaotic game of chess, he's no longer playing his game, but trying to stave off the inevitable while not putting in the time necessary to really read the board correctly. Maybe he's too many moves ahead for his own good (it certainly seemed that way on the excellent Infinity back in '98), but, hell, it sounds to me like he's scrambling for any pawn he can knock out.

At least we can still look forward to those basement laptop recordings now that he's not touring.



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Townsend's first true solo effort proves to be a success despite some minor flaws....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Shattered_Future
June 26th 2007



1539 Comments


Aside from the bit about Synchestra (I personally think that's one of the greatest albums ever), this sums up perfectly everything I feel about this album.

Doppelganger
June 26th 2007



3124 Comments


You ripped this album a new one. I probably won't be checking this out, however much I do cherish Terria and Ocean Machine.

MeowMeow
June 26th 2007



662 Comments


Disappointing album, but not a 1. The concept itself deserves at least another .5

Kage
June 26th 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

The concept itself is one of the worst parts.

MeowMeow
June 26th 2007



662 Comments


I thought the concept was fairly humorous. Then again I'm easily amused, so that's not saying much.

blackmilk
June 26th 2007



584 Comments


This album was fairly awful. I was fairly amused by the concept, but somehow it just came out as fairly bad when I finished listening. Devin's fairly good songwriting just isn't present; this is nothing like the fairly amazing Synchestra.

Your review is also fairly good.

Tyler
Emeritus
June 26th 2007



7924 Comments


That's a pretty fair assessment.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
June 26th 2007



3995 Comments


Townsend has always sucked though.

TheTastyLettuce
June 26th 2007



130 Comments


It's not that bad. You shouldn't take it so damn seriously

Kage
June 26th 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I don't take it that seriously, man. I'm all for sense of a humor in music, in fact it's a feature I admire very highly. But you can't use a sense of humor (read: bad joke) as an excuse for terrible music.

Add to that the fact that this isn't even any fun to listen to, playful or not. I mean, it gets SO boring after the first few tracks.This Message Edited On 06.26.07

AlienEater
June 26th 2007



716 Comments


I can belive the rating

jrowa001
June 26th 2007



8749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album is greatly disappointing but im a huge fan of Devin so i enjoy parts of it. still to release something like this after his previous releases is kind of surprising, even though it is Devin and you never know what to expect

Dr. Jake Destructo
June 26th 2007



86 Comments


Badass review. Won't even consider downloading the album now. :-/

Kage
June 26th 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Good. It is honestly not even worth your time to hear it once. That is how bad it is.

Abaddon2005
June 26th 2007



684 Comments


I disagree. It's pretty bad, but not a 1..

Foodforthegods
June 26th 2007



425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is amazing. The perfect mix of SYL and DTB. I don't understand why you hate it that much. Are you familiar with Devin? This guy is a genius but the music is not for everyone and hard to get in.

Kage
June 26th 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

lol. Did you even read the review? I cited three of his other albums in comparison to this one.

This music is not challenging, buddy, I hate to break it to you. It is very easy, very safe.

I actually feel generous giving this a 1.This Message Edited On 06.26.07

Wizard
June 26th 2007



18757 Comments


Townsend was soooooooooooo good in SYL. I dont know what the hell he was thinking when he made his solo projects. Awesome review and I will not be checking this out anytime soon.

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Epilogue
June 26th 2007



1555 Comments


This girl I know looks like Devin...

I've heard a lot of great things about this band, and I still havent checked 'em out. But if I do, I'll probably avoid this. Great review

jrowa001
June 26th 2007



8749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

get Accelerated Evolution or Synchestra first. maybe Terria. i feel bad for that girl that looks like Devin



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