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Devin Townsend – Z2: Sky Blue – 8.15/10

– Released with Dark Matters, the sequel to Devin’s highly popular Ziltoid the Omniscient album, Devin also delivered the 6th album by the Devin Townsend Project. Originally a project that started with 4 (2 released in 2009 and 2 released in 2011), the point was to release whole albums that had completely different styles of when compared to the other ones, and completely different lineups. Ki mixed his metal music with ambience, sounding more like Progressive Rock then ever before, Addicted was more danceable, Deconstuction was a highly chaotic concept album with several guest musicians, and Ghost is the most mellow and beautiful album he has done. Epicloud showed a shift as the lineup became more stable and the music became more focused on positive music, mixing heavy with beauty. It contained lots of keyboards and background vocals. Sky Blue picks up where that album left off. It is a wonderful blend of heavy songs, uplifting songs, strong melodies, and (as always with Devin) amazing vocal performances. Devin trades vocal duties with Anneke van Giersbergen, and the two compliment each other so well. The album is great song after great song, and also bears a strong resemblance to the Addicted album in addition to Eplicloud. The main focus is obviously the songwriting. This is not the chaotic albums such as Deconstruction or Dark Matters. This is the Devin Townsend who has been through a lot and is using his music in a very soul searching way. This album has a strong focus on death, but does so in a powerful way which gives hope. The straight forward focus of this album works well with the musical focus of Dark Matters, and I believe it was a good idea to release them together, because it gave you both good songwriting and good musicianship. They compliment each other so well, I don’t think these albums would have had the same effect for me if they were released separately, because it made me appreciate Devin’s diversity and ability to multitask. My complaint about this album by itself is that it feels like ground we have already covered with two previous albums and it has the possibility of becoming stale if he continues to release albums in this direction. But for now, this album is welcomed and well enjoyed.