Devin Townsend Project

Ghost

01. Fly
02. Heart Baby
03. Feather
04. Kawaii
05. Ghost
06. Blackberry
07. Monsoon
08. Dark Matters
09. Texada
10. Seams
11. Infinite Ocean
12. As You Were

[06/20/11]
[Inside Out Music]

Devin Townsend is a man who needs no introduction.  The mention of his name brings intelligence, amazing music, spectacular production, and superbly crude humor to mind.  He has reached legend status among the metal community for his work ethic and the consistently astounding quality his albums provide.  His prowess as a guitarist and vocalist are world-reknowned, and he does it all in the humblest of fashions.

This is without question the toughest review I’ve ever had to write in my short career here at Heavy Blog Is Heavy.  It’s not because I have mixed emotions about the record, where half is top-shelf material and the other half is filler material.  It’s not because I can’t stand this record and it brings me to tears because it’s so awful.  It’s also not because I’m lazy.  No, this review is so hard to write because I find myself difficult to express how amazing this record is, and no matter how hard I try at doing this record any form of justice, I know that I will fail miserably.

First off, for those who do not know, Ghost is not a heavy record — at all. It’s Devin Townsend in his most delicate, mellow, pretty state of mind.  Think the prettiest moments of Ki, and make it about ten times prettier and more delicate.  The acoustic guitar, flute, and Devin’s voice are the featured instruments of the record, and the record is almost always accompanied by background synth.  The drumming is always used as ambience along with Devin’s background voice to create his spectacular drumming.  The album retains Devin’s signature “Wall of Sound”, and sounds as thick as Deconstruction, which is a spectacular feat, especially considering that it’s an acoustic album.

This album is probably one of the most diverse acoustic albums I’ve ever heard.  Some tracks, you have some really delicate ambiance augmented by some of the most tasteful flute playing I’ve ever heard.  Some tracks, you’ll have the acoustic guitar take the lead and trade passages with the flute.  On a couple tracks, the synth takes the lead and you’re granted with some techno-influenced acoustic tracks.  You get a country-influenced track on this album.  On one track, Devin’s voice clearly takes the lead.  He sings beautifully throughout the album, but this track in particular is special solely because of Devin’s voice and the acoustic guitar meshing so well. Devin really explores the sub-genres of acoustic music, and does it to great effect.  The album never feels boring or generic.

I’ve mentioned the flute playing before, but I can’t stress enough how beautiful the playing is.  Flautist Kat Epple handled the duties for the album, and plays marvellously. Also, female vocals provide background to Devin on numerous occasions, provided by a lady named Katrina.  Drummer Mike St. Jean provided the drumming, and although it isn’t technical at all, it’s extremely tasteful and provides a subtle touch of ambiance.  The synths, however, are extremely lush and provide the album with crucial ambiance to achieve the wall of sound properly. A huge success.

Even though it is an acoustic album, it contains parts that are quite intense.  The track “Dark Matters” contains a synth passage that is both driving yet delicate, a difficult to create combination.  “Heart Baby” has an acoustic guitar/flute section, yet the background synth plays subtle sixteenth note arpeggios to create a drive in the piece. Devin somehow brought his metal background into this record, and it works so well.

Even if you don’t like acoustic music, you owe it to yourself to listen to one of the best records in a long, long time.  I cannot overstate how amazing this record.  I have slept countless times listening to this record, not because it’s boring, but rather it takes you to another world.  Many chaotic moments have been made less with this record.  Even though I have tried as hard as I can to do this record justice, I feel I have failed miserably, as I knew I would when beginning this review.  To paraphrase Neil Armstrong for this particular purpose:  That’s one small step for Devin Townsend, one giant leap for music.

Devin Townsend Project – Ghost gets:

5/5

– GR

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