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Devin Townsend – Ghost: Review

Ghost is to be released alongside Deconstruction on June 20, thus completing The Devin Townsend Project. This is indeed quite a juxtaposition with its sister album, which was a heavy, unorthodox metal album. This is more laid back and easier on the ears, yet still retains the Devin Townsend sound. Though I much preferred the coincidental release, Ghost is surely a fine album in and of itself.

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. Fly
  2. Heart Baby
  3. Feather
  4. Kawaii
  5. Ghost
  6. Blackberry
  7. Monsoon
  8. Dark Matters
  9. Texada
  10. Seams
  11. Infinite Ocean
  12. As You Were

It seems as though Devin Townsend really loves to test his audience. With Deconstruction, he did so regarding their open-mindedness. Here with Ghost, he does so with the audience’s patience. It is basically a whole record of ambient, softer acoustic tunes mixed with nature noises. There is a lot of flute and lighter keyboards and synthesizers here as well. Also, there is a consistently light-hearted tone from start to finish. To say the least, it is a very calm, peaceful, relaxing album.

Ghost’s overall continuity is both beneficial and problematic towards the record quality. On the upside, it certainly flows extremely well and naturally. The transitions are hardly noticeable, making them excellent transitions. In fact, the album can even be treated as one whole song. The tracks flow so comfortably into one another through Ghost’s entirety. This is because all of the songs share similar pacing, mood, and general feel. Unfortunately, this is quite hurtful to the albums diversity and ultimately its depth and long-term value. The songs blend together due to their striking similarities and there are not as many standout moments as there could be. Even the mood is much too stagnant throughout. Even while staying inside the “boundaries” of the ambient and new age genres, Ghost could have been much more dynamic. From beginning to end, it holds your hand and guides you on a straight, unwavering path.

But that is not to say the music is mundane. Though the path is a straight one, it has its bumps. What is meant by that is despite the lack of change from song to song regarding its general feel, there are nice build-ups and dynamics throughout Ghost. In this sense, it is a dynamic record. It is not as though the music itself is flat-lined, just the overall diversity of the album. With the transition from “Dark Matters” to “Texada” and throughout the latter, for example, there is a beautifully indulgent build-up that progresses in a highly fashionable manner.  The music in this album does not keep you in one place, but do not expect to be taking any alternate route.

And of course, as expected from Townsend, the music is simply well-written. Using the path analogy once again, listening to Ghost is like walking along the gorgeous scenic route. The route is much longer – too long to be walked on for the albums duration – but is amazingly beautiful no doubt. One would hope for a change of scenery at times (and rightfully so), but there is no chance of that happening. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but there are better possibilities.

Basically, Ghost is an album that takes patience. Unlike much of Townsend’s work, it is not for the typical metalhead. But like the artist’s typical creation, it is heavily layered and extremely well produced and of high musical standard. In my opinion, it gives too much of the same and is much too long for its own good. However, its indulgence and patience is respectable and its natural flow is undeniably silk smooth. Ghost is a great album that could be a little better.

Click here for Deconstruction review.

  1. realgone
    June 20, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Ghost is a fabulous work. Read my full review here: http://www.realgonerocks.com/2011/06/devin-townsend-project-ghost/

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