ALBUM: The Devin Townsend Project – Ziltoid Live At The Royal Albert Hall
November 13th, 2015
What can be said about Devin Townsend that hasn’t been repeated half to death?; legend, underground hero, genius. This live DVD/album more than cements his legacy within the rock music industry, and why Townsend has the aura of creativity and ridiculousness, but still gives a hell of a show and creates some of the best music possible.
The DVD itself comes in two parts; the Ziltoid epic that is the first half, and the by request segment. Together this covers three albums and almost 175 minutes of screen time. The first half is a play through of the second disc of the newest album ‘Z²: Dark Matters’ as a matter of course, this set contains a narrative displayed through one of the most ridiculous puppet shows that’s possible to reproduce. Similar to his last live DVD ‘Retinal Circus’, the use of choirs, narratives, and the puppets coming out on stage doing ridiculous stuff is what makes this show absolutely fantastic.
Another noticeable thing is the appearance of Chris Jericho (of Fozzy) as Captain Spectacular. The fact his video appears on the screen on the back is pretty cool, and his interactions with Ziltoid, particularly on ‘Wandering Eye’, works so well live and is something that came across well on the DVD.
‘March Of The Poozers’ works so well live, with all its weird twists and turns giving it a whole Tim Burton musical vibe creating brilliant listening on the DVD, but the thought to hear that song live comes from listening to this track and just makes you jealous yet enjoy the music even more so.
The by request set gives off a much more decent vibe, with hits and rarities all appearing as a very structured part of the set. Fun, heavy, sombre, all of these are words to describe the second half, but a much better starting point would be stripped back and raw. Taking away the choir returns on sections such as ‘Earth Day’ and ‘Universal Flame’, the focus is very much taken back to the standardised live band setup, taking away all the weirdness and special effects from the first set.
That’s not to say that the songs don’t carry a sense of originality, as the pacing of this is fantastic. With a very atmospheric start, the set comes into very drifting territory; ‘Earth Day’ and ‘Namaste’ carry an amazing orchestral feel that Townsend‘s sombre voice can deliver perfectly.
The ending of the album, with sombre track ‘The Death Of Music’ following into stadium rock filler ‘Universal Flame’, just ends what can only be described as the perfect and most immersive experience from one of the best underrated singers in the genre. This DVD speaks pure perfection, and, to describe Devin Townsend as one word? ‘Genius’ would be an understatement.
Written by Bradley Cassidy