Devin Townsend
Infinity


4.5
superb

Review

by Synthestration USER (5 Reviews)
June 25th, 2012 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No "sophomore slump," for sure, Infinity deserves more recognition as one of Townsend's finest achievements.

Following up to Ocean Machine was never going to be an easy task – even for an artist with as wide and undeniably brilliant a musical vision as Devin Townsend. Often held as the best album the man has ever made, Ocean Machine was nothing short of a masterpiece; and, also being Townsend’s debut solo album, the dreaded “sophomore slump” stereotype was always going to hang ominously over people’s expectations of Infinity. As it turns out, Infinity is anything but a “slump,” yet for one reason or another it tends to dwell amongst the most under-appreciated of Devin’s releases. It’s insane and extremely difficult to understand and just plain weird in parts, but Infinity is as wonderful as it is wacky and deserves at least a little more acknowledgement from Townsend fans and critics alike.

In some ways, Infinity retains a lot of Ocean Machine’s best qualities; it’s big, soaring, epic and full to the brim with remarkable songwriting, all of which is polished over with Townsend’s sublime production. It’s got the irresistible pop melodies that dot Devin’s other releases too, heartwarming and alluring as always, if in much larger quantities than ever before. And, if you let it be, this uplifting album can be every bit as immersive as its predecessor was. But things have changed, too. To put it simply, Infinity was on a whole new level of crazy, even for the “mad scientist of music” himself, and it may come as a bit of a shock to the system at first. One minute, it’s soaring high with epic melodies and stunning instrumentation (“Truth”), the next it’s drawing you in with perfectly crafted pop tunes (“Christeen”), but then all of a sudden it descends into what seems at first like outright ridiculousness (“Bad Devil,” anyone?).

So what is it that this album is all about? The truth is, it’s about all of those things. As I previously mentioned, Infinity can be as immersive and utterly distracting as anything else Townsend has released, but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to, you can lose yourself in the beauty and elegance of tracks like “Soul Driven Cadillac” or “Truth,” or ponder the thought-provoking lyrics of “Life is All Dynamics,” or lie adrift in the soothing soundscapes of “Unity.” Alternatively, you could just have a one-man party and rock the Hell out to “Bad Devil.” And that’s what makes Infinity so special. It’s as driving and inspiring a musical journey as any if you take the time to envelop yourself in its entire 45-odd minute duration, but it can also just be shedloads of perfectly-written fun if you’re in that sort of mood.

But that’s not to say Infinity is a perfect album. It does start off at the exact same quality level as Ocean Machine left us with, bursting into existence with the soaring vocal melodies of “Truth,” elegant and graceful enough to almost sound religious. “Christeen” follows, a thoroughly infectious and enjoyable pop tune – but, admittedly, Townsend’s come up with better pop melodies before. The noisy riffs of “War” begin to ramble towards the end of its lifetime, although the falsetto that segues into “Soul Driven Cadillac” quickly spices things up again. “Life is All Dynamics” and “Unity” provide a stunning finale and perfect resolution to this already epic album, while “Noisy Pink Bubbles” is something of a bouncy, poppy afterthought to send the album off. The jazzy instrumentation of “Bad Devil” also deserves a place amongst the album highlights. For the most part the whole album is consistently brilliant; it’s generally a lot less heavy (both musically and emotionally) and a lot less moody than most of Townsend’s other releases from this “era,” using pop melodies and soaring, epic climaxes to craft thoroughly uplifting tunes.

And there you have it. It may be crazy, and it may not be perfect, but Infinity is as straight-up beautiful as it is enjoyable, and deserves a listen from everyone; and a second chance from every Townsend fan who dismissed it as nothing more than a “post-masterpiece flop.”


user ratings (415)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Palimpsest (4.5)
Townsend retains the intensity of Ocean Machine while getting weird...

Tim Bartolini (2.5)
How could an album that became so important to Devin Townsend's musical career not be more exciting ...

Cousin_Ed (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
June 25th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuckin yes

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

Synthestration
June 25th 2012


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Been piecing this together for a while now. Was gonna wait a bit more to post, but screw it.

Second review and that, so it probably needs a lot of work. Any criticisms appreciated.

And KILL, nice to see someone with a good high rating for this!

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2012


1896 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree that this seems to be one of Devin Townsend's most overlooked albums. There are aspects of the album where not even the most devoted fan would understand the nature or indeed true meaning of the lyrics, but there is something here for everyone. Great review.

KILL
June 25th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ziltoid has way more votes than this

are people gay?

Synthestration
June 25th 2012


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

...Whaa..?

I honestly don't understand why this album goes so unnoticed. Bad Devil is the shit.

I was gonna mention the Christeen + 4 Demos EP and the originally intended tracklist and all that in
the review too, but I kinda ran out of space and left it out in fear of rambling excessively.

KILL
June 25th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea om rules my ass

ZedO
June 25th 2012


1096 Comments


Well, this must be perfect start for me listening to Devin Townsend, am I right?

Synthestration
June 25th 2012


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The opening riff is so badass, then the vocal melodies towards the end are awesome too. Shame it didn't make the final cut.

Lunarfall
June 25th 2012


3179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bad devil is like the greatest song ever

ForeignFilm
June 25th 2012


129 Comments


Noisy Pink Bubbles is one of the best things ever.

KILL
June 25th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no zed get ocean machine

ZedO
June 25th 2012


1096 Comments


okay then, I'll start with the debut one, thanks

Tyrael
June 25th 2012


20900 Comments


Ziltoid rules KILL what the hell man

KILL
June 25th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

its gd this rapes ziltoid up the ass, hard

Tyrael
June 25th 2012


20900 Comments


can't disagree with you there

Synthestration
June 26th 2012


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Zed Ocean Machine would definitely be the best place to start; it's considered one of his best but it's a lot more instant than Terria and such.

KILL
June 26th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and his best agreed



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