Devin Townsend – Z2: Dark Matters – 7.5/10
– One of two albums released together, and one of three albums overall this year, Devin brings us the sequel to his higher popular Ziltoid the Omniscient album. This albums plays very much like the first one did, with a combination of music, lyrics, and dialogue that altogether tell us the story of what happens next to Ziltoid, an alien who travels to Earth in search of the universe’s ultimate cup of coffee. For me however, it did not match the first installment for a one major reason. I thought that the story aspect took over, and it didn’t feel like I was listening to an album anymore. I felt like I had to sit back, relax, and watch a television show or a movie. Musically, there is a lot of repetitiveness going on.This probably was Devin’s ultimate goal because what it does it create a sense of armies marching, spaceships traveling through space and time, or other events signaled by the music. However, unlike the first Ziltoid album, this was something I could not just put on and sing along with. There were no songs that were as strong as “By Your Command”, “Ziltoidia Attaxx!!!”, “Solar Winds”, or “Hyperdrive” (granted I felt that the second half of the first Ziltoid album suffered the same problem and wasn’t as good as the first half, but that’s exactly my point. Those 4 songs are among my favorites that Devin has ever done, and I would have liked more songs like them). However, this album still deserves praise because the musicianship is top notch, from the guitar playing, to the drumming, to Devin’s vocals, and the background vocals. One of the highlights on the album for me is the guest vocals by Dominique of Stolen Babies on the song “War Princess”. I am a big fan of her vocals, and even though she repeats certain lyrics and vocals melodies several times, she still does it in a way that brings a smile to my face. I also feel that the second half of the album is stronger than the first half, because there are more moments to sing along with, including Devin’s trademark growls. Overall I had higher expectations for this album. The ending monologue leaves us with a cliff hanger, so I’m sure there will be a part 3. My hope is that it will have some more diversity than this one did.