How was this new mystical and musical exploration of other worlds and our own? Pretty good, it turns out.
Most of Devin Townsend’s music has an unclassifiable, hard to describe and sort of magical feeling, sort of like a dream or a visiting to an imaginary world. This album doesn’t disappoint in this regard, beginning with the poetically titled “Moonpeople”, its softly sung “ode to the unknown” and occasionally yelled “moon people”, over a rather nice and melodic industrial metal instrumental.
It’s a very nice song, and the rest has even more to offer. “Lightworker” has more of a symphonic metal feel, with its almost orchestral instrumentation, and a more passionate chorus, with powerful singing and screaming, asking for a way to save the world. “Call of the Void” uses similar elements, but in a softer, quieter way, being a melancholic synth-driven ballad with occasional yelled singing. “Equinox” is more guitar-based, with a pretty nice riff too, and nice echoes and industrial sounds that make the song feel other worldly again, and melancholic singing, both from Devin and from back-up singers. It’s most important lyric is “Just as it’s falling apart, I fall for you”.
“Heartbreaker” is another industrial metal track, but with Devin’s trademark melancholy and otherworldliness, as well as more female backing vocals, choirs and strange distorted, sort of alien-like vocals. This is when the album lets out all its creativity, with all of its cool ideas all gathered into one track. As for “Dimensions”, it’s another industrial metal track, with growls, fast and urgent industrial sounds, and more alien distorted vocals. It’s a pretty energetic and fun track. We get more experimentations and otherworldliness, with “Celestial Signals” and its symphonic and industrial parts, singing and screaming, choirs and birdsong. The choir particularly shines in “Heavy Burden”, where they sing the chorus, and even the verses are sung by Devin and the choir. It’s about how everything is complicated, helping this world is a heavy burden but there is no other way.
The last two tracks are a little different. “Vacation” is a sort of pop ballad, with some of the album’s strange synth work, but not enough of it. It’s a little too “normal” for this album, but it still sounds somewhat pleasant, and it fits the album’s overall theme of facing great troubles and trying to find an escape or to ease the pain. However, the last song, the 10 minute long “Children of God” is the most Devin Townsendesque on the album, with its choir, spoken word, and symphonic influences, screaming and emotional singing, and commentary on “Children of God”, which may refer to both fantasy creatures and our own ordinary species and what we are doing with our planet.
This album is a trip. Its themes of surviving hardships make it particularly compelling, and the music has the perfect otherworldly feel to dream and lose yourself into. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily perfect. I feel like “Vacation” and “Moonpeople” aren’t as interesting or don’t have as much effort put into it as the others. But the good parts of the album are very good. You need to hear this, just to hear those amazing vocal and musical experimentations, and experience the album’s magical feel for yourself. You won’t be the same after having this musical dream.
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