Review Summary: "Ghost" provides a flawless amalgamation of ambient, prog, and new age. All of this with the official Devin Townsend seal of approval.
Devin Townsend has proven he's not confined to any one genre of music over the span of his professional career. This is clearly evident with releases such as "Ocean Machine", "Terria", and even his highly inconsistent ambient/drone LP's "Hummer" and "Devlab." But, to some, Devin is just living in the shadow of Strapping Young Lad. We call this certain "some" the lowest common denominator. But, who can indubitably blame this "lowest common denominator?" Their mindset and approach to music is ignorant. And ignorance is a disease that cannot be cured overnight. But, for those of us who aren't burdened with ignorance, I present to you, Ghost.
The orchestration of this album is perfect. Devin's guitar work is top-notch as usual. And Kat Epple's flute playing is pure euphoria. That goes for the ambience provided by Townsend, as well. On another note, the diversity in the instrumental department (harmonium, woodwinds, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin) provides Ghost with immense depth and an awe-inspiring atmosphere. The sounds of streams running, ocean currents hitting the shoreline, seagulls chirping, and frogs ribbiting are all very nice too. When all of the aforementioned elements come together, it creates a something more than heavenly.
On to the vocal department. Devin delivers his vocals in a very soothing fashion. His voice melds effortlessly with the music. And so do the ambrosial female vocals. Katrina Natale's vocals are perhaps one of the greatest additions to Ghost. And when the two use their vocal abilities at the same time, it's divine. A quintessential example of this is on the track "Blackberry." Townsend's and Natale's vocals blend together perfectly. This is a definite highlight on the album.
Lyrically, this album is beautiful. But, does it even matter? You'll often find yourself getting lost in all of the ambience and harmonic vocals rather than pondering as to what they're saying. The lyrical content will probably become less significant to you as the album progresses.
Ghost goes to show that Devin is anything but confined. He's no longer "That guy from Strapping Young Lad with the Skullet." And perhaps the most unfortunate part about this is that a percentage of people will never comprehend that notion. The matter of the fact is that we may never hear the likes of Strapping Young Lad again. And I've come to peace with that. Bravo, Not-so-Hevy Devy. Bravo indeed.