Devin Townsend
Ziltoid Live at the Royal Albert Hall


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alucard125 USER (9 Reviews)
December 16th, 2015 | 19 replies


Release Date: 11/13/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not exactly the ticket we were sold, but one heck of a ride nonetheless.

Devin Townsend, as ever, has been a very busy man. Months of relentless worldwide touring have resulted in the release of no fewer than three live performances in as many years. 2012 saw the release of the ambitious By A Thread – a collection of the first four DTP albums recorded over four consecutive nights. No more than a year later and we were treated to the spectacular Retinal Circus, a career-spanning set with one of the most outrageous stage performances ever conceived. Now, two years down the line, Devin has fulfilled his long-desired dream of taking Ziltoid to the stage, performing to a sold-out Royal Albert Hall.

The first half of the show is a complete, uninterrupted performance of Dark Matters, the sequel to 2007's Ziltoid The Omniscient, and his escapades through space to pilfer the Earth's supply of coffee. Surprisingly, despite the ridiculous concept, you won't find much of Devin's signature humour throughout the set. Despite being informed by the Narrator that the audience should expect to 'crap their pants', the whole affair seems rather sedate and by-the-numbers. Visually, the show fails to live up to the lofty standards met by the Retinal Circus – the props are few and special effects minimal, and instead the show is driven by pre-recorded scenes on (admittedly elaborate) assortment of screens. These are best put to use during sing-along number 'Dimension Z' and the psychedelic 'Ziltoid Goes Home'. That being said, the giant Poozer costume (a glorified space ball-bag) is hilarious as it dashes across the stage.

Regardless, the visual failings do nothing to take away from the skill of the band – they perform each and every song with the polished precision we've come to expect from the DTP. The live rendition of 'Deathray' captures far more energy than its studio album counterpart, and the band navigates the transitions between heavy and melodic seamlessly in the aforementioned 'Ziltoid Goes Home'. In particular, drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen delivers the performance of his career, delivering his complex parts with a joy that shines through in his playing. Reprising her role as Queen Blataria, Dominique Lenore Persi executes her part with perfection on set highlight 'War Princess'.

When the curtain falls on the first half, both crowd and listener alike are left somewhat sombre. There is nothing inherently wrong with the show thus far, but rather the 'Devy' magic has seemed lacking. The second half of the set was chosen by poll by the fans – does it help revive the show" These concerns are relieved as soon as the opening riffs of 'Namaste' come pounding through the speakers. You can hear the joy in Devin's voice as he relives all the material his fans love and have asked him to perform. Tried and tested classics such as 'Kingdom' and 'Supercrush!' sit aside rarities such as 'Earth Day' and 'Night' – the whole experience is pure bliss. Mike St-Jean makes his presence known on the keyboard during 'Christeen' and 'Earth Day', adding to the layers and giving them a fantastic organic sound. There are no frills, nothing flashy – just brilliant songs performed with passion and skill.

Despite the quality of the latter half, the show's closing is easily its highlight. The tryptic from the end of Ocean Machine of 'Funeral', 'Bastard' and 'The Death of Music' create nearly thirty minutes of emotional listening – you are taken from sadness to anger, and finally through to hope. The whole experience clearly has an impact of Devin's voice as he struggles through 'The Death of Music', with its additional raspiness only adding to its impact.

The people of London have been very fortunate over the past few years with being able to experience Devin at his finest – show after show of bizarre, adventurous, exciting music has meant that whilst the man on the stage is always the same, what he delivers is as diverse as the art he creates. Ziltoid Live at the Royal Albert Hall may not have been exactly the ticket we were sold, but it is certainly one heck of a ride nonetheless.



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user ratings (25)
Chart.
4.4
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Alucard125
December 16th 2015


579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Been thinking about this one for a while, feedback greatly appreciated. Surprised this album hasn't gotten more attention here considering Sputnik's love for the Dev.

Digging: Circa Survive - The Amulet

EasterInTheBatcave
December 16th 2015


252 Comments


God, that second setlist is incredible

TheSonomaDude
December 16th 2015


5611 Comments


I imagine this would have an intense onstage light show

Joffton
December 16th 2015


7 Comments


I once read an interview with Devy in which he explains that he had never listened to Terria since recording it (12 years prior at the time). I believe he also said the same for Infinity, Ocean Machine, and the Devin Townsend Band albums. I can only imagine how emotional it must have been for him to perform that trio of songs from Ocean Machine.

Ocean of Noise
December 16th 2015


9773 Comments


I'm pretty tired of new Devy albums at this point tbh. I feel like Ghost was his last truly brilliant work.

Digging: Burzum - Filosofem

TychoBrahe
December 16th 2015


511 Comments


Casualties of Cool is one of his best albums. You regard Ghost as brilliant but don't acknowledge that?

Damn.

DatsNotDaMetulz
December 17th 2015


3365 Comments


Well this is meant to be his year out from recording while he prepares for stuff in 2016/17

Alucard125
December 17th 2015


579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I was lucky enough to be there on the night - the second setlist was out of this world. I've seen him live 6 times now, and have been waiting for something from Terria every time!



...but I agree, I wish he'd slow down for a bit. He said that this show would be his last for a while, then immediately performed an acoustic tour around the UK. I felt cheated as I couldn't make it, and paid loads to see him at the Royal Albert for his supposed 'last show for a while'.

Gibleson
December 17th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Speaking of Casualties, I can't wait for that reissue on InsideOut Music to come out. That live DVD has got to be worth having.

BigBlob
December 17th 2015


2860 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just bought the dvd of this today after checking out a few vids of it online. March of the Poozers was pretty amazing. Also Heatwave is such a great song

Digging: Depeche Mode - Violator

LepreCon
December 17th 2015


5428 Comments


Can't say live albums appeal much to me but this seems solid. Good review.

Flugmorph
December 18th 2015


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love live videos

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Flugmorph
December 18th 2015


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love dave youngs moves onstage



(thats the guitarist)

Flugmorph
December 18th 2015


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'i knew neurosis before through silver in blood, im a fucking hipster'

devin townsend

Flugmorph
December 18th 2015


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

before they played a casualties of cool song

Flugmorph
December 18th 2015


17436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ok the death of music was probably the greatest thing i have ever seen on a live show.

devin is such a beautiful man

im fanboying all over this

grish
December 27th 2015


1181 Comments


agreed, the performance of Death of Music is fucking sublime. so glad they played the great Ocean Machine trio

BigBlob
January 18th 2016


2860 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"This song is called Deadhead...



It's about love...



You know what....?



LOVE'S A BITCH!"





Love that part





parksungjoon
June 28th 2017


5314 Comments


funeral + bastard + death of music = ♥



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