Ki review by Devin Townsend Project

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  • Released: May 22, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (46 votes)
Devin Townsend Project: Ki
1

Sound — 9
Unlike the majority of Devin's past work, the sound on this album is much lighter, makes far less use of compression and overdubbing, and seems to be more like a fair comparison with Pink Floyd and modern prog bands like Riverside and Porcupine Tree. The first thing most people will notice when listening to this album is that most of the guitars on the album are clean, and that Devy avoids use of distortion wherever necessary. This definitely leads to some beautiful moments, like on the second track of the album, "Coast", or on the studio jam "Ain't Never Gonna Win...". Acoustic guitars get some use on this album as well. Devin still carries some of his trademarks, however, as evidenced in songs like "Trainfire" and the highlight title track, "Ki". The clean guitars make the heavier sections of the album stand out even that much more. The album's instrumentation is ably handled by Townsend himself, along with previous Devin Townsend Band collaborator Dave Young on keyboard, Jean Savoie on bass guitar, and Heart alumni Duris Maxwell. Duris' performance is worthy of a separate mention here, as his drum lines have a certain grooviness never before heard on a Devin Townsend album. He's most definitely not a metal drummer, but he can lay down one hell of a groove. The album is a bit more chilled out, musically, than anything Devy has released to date, but there are still moments of intense heaviness, like "Heaven Send" and "Disruptr", epic moments like "Ki" and "Coast", and campy, tongue-in-cheek moments like "Trainfire". The whole album has a flow which can be best described as "orgasmic". A lot of songs tend to flow together and have a lot of peaks and valleys, as well as a lot of great moments with release of tension. The title track, for instance, has an almost lullaby-like quality for the first half, until a nearly Celtic folk-like guitar arpeggio part serves the second half with a huge buildup of guitar tracks, drums, Devin's trademark "choir of Devys" vocals, and continues until it all just stops, like it's pulling the carpet out from under you. A lot of songs on the album are like this. So sound-wise, it's not what you'd expect from a Devy album, but know deep in your heart that if Devy ever released a soft album, this is exactly what it would sound like. It ain't his best album to date, but it's his most interesting and fresh release in ages.

Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, Devy's always got some really obscure lyrics. With lines like "The fallout from the California glow/Toronto's frozen over/this every man should know/I've forgotten now" from "Coast", or "How in the world we gonna make everything alright?/How in the world we gonna make everything on time?/Train burning, all night burning.../Trainfire..." from "Trainfire", one can only speculate at the meanings of some of the lyrics on this album. But this is the first album Devin wrote entirely sober, so I'm sure that has to factor into the message of the album somehow. The lyrics do tend to match the lyrics quite well, reinforcing the chilled-out feel of the album. Vocally, Devin is still top-notch, but he doesn't use as much overdubbing this time, and usually relies on a more honest approach of just having one or two tracks of vocals with little to no compression or reverb. It certainly opens up your ears to the fact that Devin is actually a good honest singer. Not that we didn't know that before, but this is just reinforcing that. The lyrics are deep, but cryptic, so I assume people will be looking for hidden meanings in this record for a while. A great effort that will leave us scratching our heads for a bit.

Overall Impression — 9
Compared to previous Devin Townsend albums, it's almost impossible to call this "better" or "worse" than any other album. It's like a completely different entity, and it's best to take it for what it is. And what it is, is a great prog/ambient album. This is a great album to put on when you need to meditate, chill out, relax, etc. Some of the best ambient prog you'll hear, and almost post-rockish in some ways. The standout tracks on this album are definitely "Coast", "Trainfire", "Heaven Send" and "Ki". There's nothing wrong with the other tracks, though, and this album is sure to please almost any fan of Pink Floyd, Riverside, Porcupine Tree, or any other old-school prog fan. It's a bit of a separate album from Devy's usual stuff though, so I may not recommend it to someone wanting to get into Devy (instead, I'd probably recommend "Synchestra" or SYL's "The New Black"). But I definitely think this is a worthy addition to a collection for any Devy fan. Definitely worthy of at least a 9/10. A 10/10 is even deserved, but this album may bruise a few expectations of another heavy Devy album, so a 9/10 is more realistic. Definitely going to make my list of top albums of '09.

41 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Natasha Bodom
    Shread_6009 wrote: greatest metal composer ever. i love this music, shame strapping young lad is done though.
    I agree, man. I can't wait for the whole project:]
    FlyingPirahna
    Is he related to the legendary Pete Townsend? I mean, he's got Pete's big nose and last name...
    kenny4324
    FlyingPirahna : Is he related to the legendary Pete Townsend? I mean, he's got Pete's big nose and last name... POSTED: 06/03/2009 - 11:11 pm / quote |
    i was thinking the same thing..
    cobainAnselmo
    Gotta get this!! I really like Ziltoid project... everytime i listen to that i laugh a lot... Devin is the only musician that combine humor and metal... hahahahaha
    IRONMAIDENTLICA
    travislausch wrote: IRONMAIDENTLICA wrote: The lyrics do tend to match the lyrics quite well, reinforcing the chilled-out feel of the album. Ahhh good to hear, i was worried the lyrics wouldnt match themselves.... Oops. Yeah, I'm only human and make mistakes too.
    Haha was only kidding dude
    Zero_Mike
    Beautiful album. It's great to hear that Devy still has that magic touch...
    yLynch
    *annoyed by the compulsion everyone feels to mention SYL in every single DT review*
    BKGMorley
    lukeylynch wrote: *annoyed by the compulsion everyone feels to mention SYL in every single DT review*
    Im going to have to aggree with you on that, i quite enjoy Strapping Young Lad somtimes but i still know what u mean
    Rallad
    a very gd album, bought it and very happy! hail Dev! keep on kicking ass!
    Rallad
    cobainAnselmo wrote: Gotta get this!! I really like Ziltoid project... everytime i listen to that i laugh a lot... Devin is the only musician that combine humor and metal... hahahahaha
    haha well there are the dethklok guys xD
    con job
    Been listening to this masterpiece on Youtube for too long, finally got my own copy today
    BurningTheLives
    Wow I never heard about this coming out or anything, but I am sure that I will be buying this very soon. Devin Townsend is genius with music.
    strat0blaster
    Sounds worth a listen. I don't care much for his older stuff, but this sounds really interesting. I'll definitely check it out.
    Dopey_Trout
    I can't believe the review didn't mention the clean guitar interlude in the title track. Easily the most unnerving but awesome moment on the album
    [x]Huffy[x]
    I can't wait for the third album in the dtp album series, Deconstruction. Devin says its his heavy material ever.
    Peres.T.Peanut
    nick_b wrote: he doesnt seem to like including vowels in his titles
    50% of the title are vowels O.o
    Shread_6009
    greatest metal composer ever. i love this music, shame strapping young lad is done though.
    [x]Huffy[x]
    SirShredfast wrote: I hope he comes to his senses and reforms SYL, because that shit is amazing.
    Every time I think of SYL reforming I jizz a little bit. True story.
    IRONMAIDENTLICA
    The lyrics do tend to match the lyrics quite well, reinforcing the chilled-out feel of the album.
    Ahhh good to hear, i was worried the lyrics wouldnt match themselves....
    Nightrain-88
    this is a brilliant brilliant album. completely different from SYL but good. some of the songs are magical.
    travislausch
    IRONMAIDENTLICA wrote: The lyrics do tend to match the lyrics quite well, reinforcing the chilled-out feel of the album. Ahhh good to hear, i was worried the lyrics wouldnt match themselves....
    Oops. Yeah, I'm only human and make mistakes too.
    SirShredfast
    This album is seriously ****ing good... Increasing with intensity... ****, can't wait for the 4th album then. I hope he comes to his senses and reforms SYL, because that shit is amazing.
    VortexOfSouls
    SirShredfast wrote: Increasing with intensity... ****, can't wait for the 4th album then. I hope he comes to his senses and reforms SYL, because that shit is amazing.
    I heard him say in an interview that the third album, "Deconstruction" will be the heaviest and the fourth album will be incredibly melodic (heavenly).
    SweepSDMF
    i do love his heavy stuff, and i know everyone is like 'HELL YEAH CANT WAIT FOR THE HEAVY SHIZ TO START'. but im quite happy with the calm stuff, who can deny more songs like deep peace or earth day, oh god the amazingness.