Review DEVIN TOWNSEND ‘Lightwork’

Devin Townsend is a jack of all trades when it comes to music. The Canadian artist from British Columbia seems to be gifted with an endless flow of creativity. In this, the artist remains true to himself, which is the common thread through all of Townsend’s creative works.

There is the dark and wild side that was revealed with Slapping Young Lads. Furthermore, Townsend has created an unconventional metal puppet show called ‘Ziltoid The Omnscient’ and with ‘The Moth’ he has also succeeded in creating a Broadway-esque musical.

There is no standing still for the Canadian. Even during the pandemic, the busy musician was present with streaming shows, the ‘Quarantine Concert Series’, keeping up the contact with his fans and also making in addition music. #7 of this series was recorded at The Farm Studios; in the middle of the endless forests of British Columbia. When I first listened to ‘Lightwork’, the new Townsend record, I had to remember this concert.

The songs on ‘Lightwork’ evoke a similar image to what was seen during the streaming concert. It’s the big arcs of sound, the wholeness, that defines Townsend’s new studio work.

Like the studio, nestled in a rugged landscape, ‘Lightwork’ deals with a similar context. Much of the album was made during the pandemic, which is something that can be experienced. ‘Lightwork’ is a very personal album and the title hints at it. It is about life, its dark sides and how music is the light in the dark.

Hope, that is what resonates in many of the songs and what is also noticeable is that the music on ‘Lightwork’ has a rather calm and atmospheric constancy, which forms a successful counterpart to the her chaotic and unpredictable experience of a pandemic.

The album starts with ‘Moonpeople’, a wonderful song that shines with very well crafted melodies. And the fact that the first line is called “Ode to the unkown…” says a lot about the album and its context.

It continues with ‘Lightworker’. Townsend relies on a lot of feeling and while the verse is built rather reflective the power of the track is fully expressed in the chorus. ‘Equinox’ is an atmospherically very dense tune which leads the listener to ‘Call of the Wild’. The latter song is anything but wild. Rather, the piece has an enormous depth.

Darker and powerful is ‘Heartbreaker’. With ‘Dimensions’ follows a piece of Music that comes up with electronic elements and creates a futuristic vibe. The song is the darkest one on the entire album and it’s a dystopian groove that catches you.

To keep the tension of the album going, ‘Celestial Signals’ is a very harmonic track which flows lightheartedly out of the speakers.

Via the throbbing ‘Heavy Burden’ you get to the swinging ‘Vacation’, a musical short getaway, and yet it’s a melancholic mood that permeates subliminally.

With ‘Children of God’ Townsend has put a ten minute song at the end of the album. Great melodies and a very tight and full bodied sound allow the listener to dive into magical soundscapes.

‘Lightwork’ is one of the outstanding albums of 2022. Devin Townsend manages to transport feelings with his music. In doing so, he allows the audience to create their own image, images that arise from the music. Townsend has created a great album with ‘Lightwork’, which will be enjoyable for a long time. All thumbs point upwards and there are very deserved nine points.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Moonpeople
  2. Lightworker
  3. Equinox
  4. Call of the Void
  5. Heartbreaker
  6. Dimensions
  7. Celestial Signals
  8. Heavy Burden
  9. Vacation
  10. Children of God

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Progressive Rock

Release Date EU: November 4th, 2022

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