Review Summary: Ghost is a snooze-fest and a very sad waste of an album for such a talented musician. By no means horrible, yet, very forgettable.
Here we have Devin Townsend's Ghost, the last album in his 4 album set released under 'The Devin Townsend Project'. Mr. Townsend has been pitching with this album hard with pre-release youtube videos and song samples and revealing that this will focus on his lighter side as a counter-balance to Destruction. While he has revealed quieter moments with songs like 'Canada' off of Terria or the acoustic simplicity of a song like 'Let It Roll' off of Synchestra, this is by no means reflective of those songs or even that style of songwriting from him.
The songs on this album are not catchy or memorable (in a singular sense), nor, do I believe, were they meant to be. These songs all mesh together, to create a set of songs conducive to the effect of putting yourself to sleep.
With months and months of build-up and cleverly stating in so many words, that this album would break away from his traditional sound and clearly show a softer side of him, as with most of his ‘real ‘ albums, most fans would probably expect an album with actual 'songs'. However, true to Devin Townsend’s nature, he clearly aims to surprise and actually created album much like Ki, with a few moments that shine and an album that is overall rather dull.
This album is closer to The Hummer and Devlab, than anything else he has created. It is his foray in ethereal ambiance and integrating a few surprises here and there vocally and instrumentally. The end result is a collection of material, that does flow together very well, however, as it flows, there is nothing that jumps out to catch you.
This foray into an atmospheric sound, forgoing song structure for ‘feel’, seems almost empty and forced. Ulver and Anathema stylistically started out entirely different but pulled off a rather drastic change in style and have continued to evolve in their experimental and adventurous sound, where as for Townsend, this feels as a sort of ‘one-off’ just to put out his own attempt at entirely re-recreating himself.
In this new consciousness that he has found, he has shown the ability to transform himself and his sound very profoundly from album to album, even viewing this in the context of just the 4 album set. There is no taking away the fact that you have a brilliant artist here, with a very forward thinking state of mind, as to not pigeon-hole himself into any one style or sound.
In the end what you have are eight minute songs of some light strumming on an acoustic, with some ethereal keyboard noise in the background, and then maybe half-way into the song a minute of in-decipherable mumbling coming from Mr. Townsend. Any sense of innovation or talent is forgotten in his misguided attempt at creating a strictly atmospheric style of album. There is no imagination here, only a drone that will be forgotten as quickly as it is taken out of the CD player.
Maybe in the right mood or setting this album might be mildly enjoyable, but coming from Mr. Townsend I would expect more intuitive or fascinating.
Some of the few songs that do standout are: