Devin Townsend Project
Ghost


5.0
classic

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
June 23rd, 2011 | 68 replies | 12,514 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If you're looking for HevyDevy, this isn't him. He's gone somewhere else. This is Devin Townsend. And maybe he's just a ghost, but he's re-substantiating himself in the most beautiful way.

Have you ever been to a metal show? I'm not talking a one-off gig where two or three bands perform for your evening entertainment, I'm talking a full day thing like the first two Gigantours or Ozzfest. Something that just rips your skull apart with the sharpest, shiniest claws available, and on the way back home the last ***ing thing you want to hear is another metal album? You'll dig and dig and dig until you can find something with enough soft rock to soothe your ears, rock your passengers to sleep, and keep that pounding headbanging headache at bay. Well, ladies and gentlemen, the festival you've just been to is a little thing called Deconstruction, and not only have you found the remedy CD, Ghost, but before you can even peel out of the parking lot, it's knocked you off to dream land with its lush, healing lullabies.

It's for this reason that classifying Ghost as Metal in the slightest is a major typographical error. In fact, it hardly qualifies as rock. Some will call it new age, some will call it soft rock, but it's kind of a subtle soft ambient folk soundscape sound. Convoluted, perhaps? Far moreso than the sound itself. Regardless of labels, its true nature is a cool-off from the madness of predecessor Deconstruction. According to Devin Townsend, the two albums are meant to be experienced together, and that without Ghost, Deconstruction is out of context. And from here we can see it's vice versa. The two are yin and yang; both polar opposites of one another: Deconstruction, rife with layer upon layer of dense, synthetic, metal chaos; Ghost, a mellow breeze of soft, organic instrumentation. The closest Ghost ever gets to "aggressive" is "Blackberry," and that's a mellow, lazy river flow, banjo-driven rendition of Ki's "Trainfire" from even the most skewed perspective.

The first thing to note should be that, unlike most other Devin Townsend albums, flute and keyboards are the primary driving instruments on this album, with acoustic guitar only occasionally taking a leading role, and drums being equated more to ambient percussion on this album. For a man known in a genre where the bass is all too often mixed out almost entirely, it's worth noting that the bass on this album is rich and full, creating an ambiance all its own that does a great deal to steer the album onwards.

If Deconstruction seemed unconvincing or insincere, it's possible that Ghost comes across as one of the most honest efforts made in music today. It's not quite the same raw energy of Devin bearing his soul as on Ocean Machine, but that's not the person he is today. Devin Townsend is a much more open and self-aware entity these days, and his soul's been borne before the world time and time again. This is him coming to acceptance with a desire to lay off the metal and create something new. Something he might be worried and anxious about, but something that's true to his own direction as an artist and a testament to who he is today as opposed to who he was in the days where Ocean Machine was an escape from Strapping Young Lad. The spirit's the same, but the message is different. Deconstruction, from the perspective of Ghost becomes a massive exorcism of metal demons that have plagued Devin and kept him from Ghost, while Ghost itself becomes, well, just what you'd expect. A sigh of relief.

And the vocals seem to mirror that sigh - Devin's voice never slides into the growl that dominates most of Deconstruction, but instead remains in the warm, high tone that can be heard on tracks such as Ki's "Terminal" - warm, rich, full, yet subdued without being restrained. Not only that, but he has found a glorious partner in vocalist Katrina Natale, who he harmonizes beautifully throughout, but perhaps most notably on the stunning title track.

But more than simply the sum of its parts, Ghost is like an ocean current - you're meant only to relax into it and let it sweep you away to where you're ready to go. The pretenses here are slim and the music is all arranged peacefully and dreamily with nothing becoming overbearing, repetitious, or boring. Simply, it's like riding digital waves, pushed on by the voices of Devin Townsend, Katrina Natale, and the woodwinds throughout. You're only as in for the journey as you let yourself be, but it's a peaceful and enlightening one. Hopefully you'll come aboard.



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user ratings (721)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011



1981 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I guess part of the reason this is so good is because he separated the wheat from the chaff on this one, what with Ghost 2 coming later on. I just listened to "Fall" on another site felt he hugest sensation of "meh." I flipped on "As You Were" and was immediately pleased by what I heard.

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RagingStorm
June 23rd 2011



509 Comments


haven't listened to either album yet and i probably won't agree but you do a nice job of backing up your opinion here, pos

Xenophanes
Emeritus
June 23rd 2011



10585 Comments


You truly are an excellent writer, pos.



But I really didn't love either albums, this was better tthan Deconstruction by quite a bit.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2011



6937 Comments


I have never seen what all the fuss was about.

Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2011



15877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I enjoy this one much more than Deconstruction, but it hasn't really 'clicked' with me yet. Nice review, though.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

FenderUk
June 23rd 2011



96 Comments


great ass review

Dreamflight
June 23rd 2011



1760 Comments


damn nice read here.



Ampersand
June 23rd 2011



111 Comments


Good review. My standout tracks are "Blackberry," "Kawaii," and "Heart Baby."

MO
June 23rd 2011



18257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really good review. You know your Devy. It's awesome to see this at a 4.4, top 10 of the year for sure.

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

G3N3R1C
June 23rd 2011



1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yah album rules.

G3N3R1C
June 23rd 2011



1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gr8 summary btw

Drsmith4
June 23rd 2011



1712 Comments


Two fives. Huh. Are these the fanboys raving or is this legit, because Deconstruction was unlistenable for me. It better be, since I just broke my 666-posts status for this.

tarkus
June 23rd 2011



5560 Comments


great album great review. pos'd

MO
June 23rd 2011



18257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"well you obviously cant handle the metal so yea youd prob like this better"

lol

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2011



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Deconstruction is pretty much unlistenable for me too. Shame as I liked Addicted.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

someguest
June 23rd 2011



20319 Comments


like this is a 5

Digging: Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog

porcupinetheater
June 23rd 2011



103 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fantastic review! Pos.

This is my favorite album in the DTP, and I'm in love with all 4. I find it difficult to foresee anything topping this for the rest of the year, though.

KronosRage
June 23rd 2011



367 Comments


^


Opeth

beefshoes
June 23rd 2011



2914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I enjoy Deconstruction a little more but this is my favorite under that one.


Digging: Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X

Ampersand
June 23rd 2011



111 Comments


Pretty sure I could listen to "Heart Baby" for forever.



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