I once read on an internet message board where someone identified each and every Devin Townsend album and I thoroughly enjoyed his descriptions. He said: SYL = Fire, Ocean Machine = Water, Physicist = Clouds, Terria = Earth, and Infinity = Universe, while Devin Townsend equals Soul. Now I don't know how he reached these conclusions, but if you're familiar with Devin Townsend's music (when I say "familiar", I don't mean if you've just "heard" some of his songs!), you will definitely see the correlations between his albums and the aforementioned themes.
But still, it's slightly wrong. Infinity is BIGGER than the entire universe; it's larger, more powerful and more absorbing too. What's more is, Infinity isn't even my favourite Devin Townsend album. I happen to like Ocean Machine and Terria better, but from an objective point of view, Infinity is wider in scope and more eclectic in songwriting than both albums put together.
Infinity is a study in depression and mental stability. It depicts some of the hardest times in Devin's life. He wrote, produced, recorded and engineered it himself and he was institutionalized (at his own will) shortly after he finished the album due to bipolar disorder. If you truly immerse yourself in this record, you are bound to think a 'normal' person wouldn't have managed to create such compositions. The album reeks of madness from start to finish and this is particularly displayed in "War" and "Ants". You just have to listen to the creepy intro of "War" over and over again (with good headphones) and see how feelings of chaos are disguised under main guitar riffs. The chorus in this song is one of the most haunting lyric lines ever. Each time Devin screams "You can't feel love when you are not being loved!" gets more and more tragic with each second. "Ants" proves that Devin and the band behind him are capable of reaching the highest technical level possible if necessary. Devin performs an inhuman vocal performace in this track. The highly advanced interplay between the guitar, bass and keys (not to mention the godly drumming) could easily rival with some of the most technical bands in the world.
Devin's incredible production technique is heavily subtle through the entire album. The wall of sound that surrounds his songs heightens the compositions to unimaginable levels. Devin's ability to leap between growling rage and ethereal melodicism is successfully complemented by dynamic shifts ("White Colonnial Boy"). "Bad Devil" is perhaps many Devin fans' most favourite song. Its unique feel and overall eclectic vibe is otherworldly. I really love the jazzy piano in the middle and the 'catchy' chorus. Not catchy in the traditional sense though. It's just emphasis on melodicism in deeply focused and logical (yet unpredictable) songs.
If somebody has never heard of what Devin has done and picks up Infinity, it might spook them out or scare them off. Not that any of his albums are instantly accessible, but Devin's body of work on Infinity needs a lot of patience and perseverance on the listener's part. Otherwise it may be misjudged and misunderstood, and that would be a big loss. The bonus tracks on this album are worth checking out as well. Listening to those acoustic live versions (especially the version of "Sister") is like a religious experience to me. Infinity is a difficult album, but it is big. Bigger than the universe indeed.
- Bad Devil
- Soul Driven Cadillac
- Wild Colonial Boy
- Life Is All Dynamics
- Noisy Pink Bubbles
- Sister [Live Acoustic][*]
- Hide Nowhere [Live Acoustic][*]
- Man [*]
* bonus tracks