Devin Townsend – Ziltoid the Omniscient

By Matt Kastner

The mind of Devin Townsend is a strange and distant land. This is the very mind that gives us the album Ziltoid the Omniscient. This is an album that many of your average music listeners would be quick to turn away and shun because it’s so farfetched compared to what’s out there today, both musically and conceptually. The concept of the album is about Ziltoid, an alien who comes to Earth demanding they give him their best cup of coffee. When he is displeased by the cup, he unleashes a furious attack on Earth in an attempt to destroy it. If that sounds strange to you, believe me, as the story goes on, it gets stranger…I must commend Townsend from a musical perspective on the album. He composed and performed everything on the album except for the drums, which he programmed with a drum machine. The vocals on the album are also a pleasant surprise as there are clean/melodic vocals, screams, growls and even narrations here. The music itself is what you would probably get if you locked up Tim Burton and Frank Zappa together in a room and made them write an album together. It’s basically your “over-the-top-concept album” that actually works, unlike Rhapsody of Fire. And that is what I like about this album. Townsend seems to be another musical genius who’s ahead of his time with this album. Conceptually, do not take this album seriously. If you do, then the whole point of it will go over your head faster than a Boeing 747. I did at first and missed most of what it accomplishes.

In short, Ziltoid will please most Devin Townsend fans. With the concept album being done to death by almost all of the prog/power metal bands out there, this one sets itself apart from the rest as it parodies the idea of the concept album. This is definitely an album that will leave some people saying to themselves “some people have way too much time on their hands,” while others will applaud the mad genius that is Devin Townsend.