Devin Townsend Project’s Z² double album was most definitely one of my musical highlights of 2014 (and cruising from West Hollywood to Anaheim for NAMM while blasting the album in my friend’s car in January was a pretty fun memory too). Both of the discs that make up the album (Sky Blue and Dark Matters) are, of course, spectacular, but listening to them in an isolated context is especially rewarding; they balance each other out in interesting ways but each stands alone in utterly unique ways. And on August 7 each album will be released in its own separate packaging. Read More …
There are some albums that you just get straight away because they reveal everything about themselves right upfront. Devin Townsend’s albums have never been like that. There’s too much going on on a whole bunch of levels: emotionally, conceptually, orchestrationally, texturally. And there’s a lot to digest with Z2. It’s made up of two very different albums, Sky Blue and Dark Matters. Sky Blue is the Devin Townsend Project, and Dark Matters is the sequel to 2007’s sci-fi metal opus Ziltoid The Omniscient. And some tracks feature the vocals of thousands of fans, invited to participate online in what has been named the Universal Choir.
If you’ve caught Devin Townsend live lately, you might have noticed him playing this beautiful Framus Mayfield Custom. Devin is using this guitar for his open C tuning (CGCGCE). It has a Bigsby B7 tremolo, passive MEC electronics, EMG Devil Signature set, a Graphtech Black Tusq nut, it’s made of AAA grade flamed maple body and neck, and it has a tigerstripe ebony fretboard, and check out those cool illuminated inlays on the 12th fret, headstock logo and fretboard side dots.
I had a chat with Devin backstage at the Soundwave Festival yesterday and he mentioned how he loved combining the 50s look of the hollowbody shape and the Bigsby bridge, with the EMG active humbuckers and low tuning. He’s also got a Sadowski Telecaster on the way, which I think will be really cool – I loved the ESP Telecasters he used in the Infinity era.
Wait a minute. [Record Scratch]. EMG Devil Signature Set? Check out the logos on the pickups. Cool!
Now, this is a Framus Custom Shop instrument rather than a commercially available signature model, and it’s a great example of what Framus can do. Check out their site for more info and a gallery of beautiful customs.
Oh and he’s a video of the guitar in action at Devin’s show here in Melbourne the other night.
And here’s a great interview with Soundwave TV about Devin’s next album, Epicloud, which he’ll be recording in Perth, Australia after Soundwave wraps up.
It’s one of the amazing musical moments of 2011 so far: after various levels of straightforwardness in the first 10 minutes of Deconstruction – some heavy, some restrained – Devin Townsend demands ‘show yourself!” and all the savage energy left dormant since the dissolution of Strapping Young Lad is unleashed, grabbing you by the throat and dragging you back to its skull pit before you know what the fuck happened.
The minutes leading up to that moment – “Praise The Lowered” and “Stand” – leave hints at what’s going to happen next. The former gradually increases in intensity from floaty electronica to metal screams, never dropping the steady but restrained tempo even as the death screams build up. The latter sounds like the spiritual cousin of “Destructor” from Ki (the first album of the Devin Townsend Project tetralogy), and it also drops little crumbs of heaviness behind it, leading up to that ‘Show yourself!’ moment. From then on, anything goes. Crushingly heavy rhythm guitars. Choirs. Blast beats. Death metal. Fusion-tinged chord progressions. Spoken word interludes. Fast passages. Techno beats. Someone taking a particularly cathartic shit. A cheeseburger.