Metal Storm logo
Devin Townsend - Ghost review

Bandcamp music player

340 users:
Band: Devin Townsend
Album: Ghost
Release date: June 2011

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
13. Radial Highway [iTunes bonus]

Devy without the Hevy leaves you with a surprisingly enjoyable experience, Townsend sheds his manic industrialised progressive metal and unleashes a calming flow of soothing tunes on Ghost. The difference between the two "project" albums this year is staggering, Deconstruction is a completely shameless exposition of the mastermind's inner quirkiness, whereas Ghost is nothing of the sort. You're in for a tranquil 70 minutes to say the least, the meaning behind the album title becoming apparent for all its ethereal atmosphere.

Dare I suggest that this album displays Devin's very best vocal performance; he seems right at home in this softer ambient world of his own creation. Amongst the wonderful sounds of flowing water, Townsend's acoustic delivery and the wondrous flute work of Kat Epple interspersed throughout, the listener should find some very easy listening ahead of them. Perhaps, however, it is a little too easy; while it all sounds very nice it tends to feel drawn out to the point at which boredom is likely to set in before too long. The focus on an album full of ambiance certainly pays off, yet it wisps by without leaving all that much of an impression. It's one of those albums you may enjoy very much while listening, but beyond that any recollection of the material after having heard it is limited.

There are exceptions to this fact, like the clear highlight "Feather" which extends for over 11 minutes and of which much is memorable. There is no real purpose for this album beyond establishing an atmosphere, which it certainly achieves. Yet if often feels aimless in its whimsical meanderings, something which may excite some listeners while frustrating others. It may appear a naturally conceived attempt at crafting an aural environment which captures the attention in a loose and indirect fashion. On the other hand this intention might come across as forced, and this is where the album suffers somewhat. Its focus on atmosphere and ambient limits its scope, while Devin shows obvious aptitude in songwriting of this kind, it shows that his term of endearment "Hevy Devy" exists for a reason.

The way in which the tracks on this album are constructed sounds as if they are primarily based on rehashed ideas which Townsend's signature sound has been known to cover. His work on albums like Terria or Ki are especially relevant here, taking the industrial/progressive metal infused atmospheric passages of those albums and reinventing them to make them fit to a more ambient inclined frame. Fundamentally this involves the removal of any heaviness, the problem this presents is not the lack of any "hevy" side to your "Devy" but that this album is based on Townsend's songwriting style which does incorporate his trademark "hevyness."

This album exhibits the ability to create a successful piece of music that appears to go against all that an artist has achieved previously. At its core, however, this album is not far removed from Devin's past material, it's simply fine-tuned with an aim for the purely atmospheric.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Written by R'Vannith | 15.12.2011

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 96 users
15.12.2011 - 14:44
Rating: 6
It's one of those albums you may enjoy very much while listening, but beyond that any recollection of the material after having heard it is limited.

Couldn't have said it better.
I always put this album as background when I want to study or rest for a while, maybe it is also a good choice for a nap.
But it's not like I can get too much into it, if I sit specifically to listen to this album I will probably end getting lost into my thoughts rather than paying attention to the music.
15.12.2011 - 20:50
Rating: 9
Crème fraiche

I think I've enjoyed this more than Addicted and Deconstruction. It's nice after a hard day at work to put this on and relax
16.12.2011 - 09:20
Rating: 10

That's an interesting perspective. I couldn't disagree with you more in your middle 2 paragraphs. I think each and every song on this album is as memorable as any other Devin favorite out there. The atmosphere is definitely there, but it's not the album's lone purpose. I can't really follow you in the rehashed ideas you speak of. The songs on Ghost don't even slightly remind me of songs from other albums. Yes, a lot of songs are in the key of C because of his unique tuning, but that's the case on every Devin Townsend record. Devin's songwriting style is not very formula oriented either. He kind of just does what he wants, and it's not heavy all the time, and it works. Most of my favorite songs by Devin Townsend I would not consider to be heavy. In the end, I think Ghost is a unique album that Mr. Townsend put some soul into. Like Terria, Devlab, The Hummer, and Ocean Machine, it holds its own individuality, and does not really borrow from any other record.
Still Life, Still Death
25.09.2012 - 17:40
Valentin B
My fantasy is after a hard day at work to smoke a joint, put some headphones on and just go crazy with this album. I especially didn't expect (and loved the inclusion of) the natural ambient sounds. Excellent album.

Hits total: 7548 | This month: 1