December 1, 2022

Devin Townsend – Light Work Critic

Label: Music Upside Down

Genre: Progressive Rock

EU release date: November 4, 2022

List of tracks:

people of the moon
call of the void
Heart Breaker
Celestial signals
Heavy burden
Children of God

Devin Townsend is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to music. The Canadian artist from British Columbia seems to be gifted with a never-ending flow of creativity. In this, the artist remains true to himself, which is the common thread of all of Townsend’s creations.

There’s the dark, wild side that came out with Slapping Young Lads. Additionally, Townsend created an unconventional metal puppet show called “Ziltoid the Omniscient,” and with “The Moth” he also managed to create a Broadway-like musical.

There is no immobility for the Canadian. Even during the pandemic, the busy musician was present with streaming shows, the “Quarantine Concert Series”, keeping in touch with his fans and also making additional music. No. 7 in this series was recorded at Farm Studios; in the middle of the endless forests of British Columbia. When I first listened to ‘Lightwork’, Townsend’s new album, I must have remembered this concert.

The songs on “Lightwork” conjure up an image similar to what was seen during the concert streaming. It’s the big sonic arcs, 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 can be experienced. ‘Lightwork’ is a very personal album and the title alludes to it. It’s about life, its dark sides and how music is light in the dark.

Hope is what resonates in many songs, and what’s also remarkable is that the music of “Lightwork” has a rather calm and atmospheric constancy, which is a successful counterpart to its chaotic and unpredictable from a pandemic.

The album begins with ‘Moonpeople’, a magnificent song which shines with very well-crafted melodies. And the fact that the first line is titled “Ode to the Unknown…” says a lot about the album and its context.

It continues with ‘Lightworker’. Townsend relies on a lot of feeling and although the verse is rather thoughtful, the power of the track is fully expressed in the chorus. ‘Equinox’ is a piece with a very dense atmosphere which leads the listener to ‘Call of the Wild’. This last song is anything but wild. On the contrary, the room has enormous depth.

Darker and more powerful is ‘Heartbreaker’. With ‘Dimensions’ follows a piece of music that offers electronic elements and creates a futuristic atmosphere. The song is the darkest on the whole album and it’s a dystopian groove that catches up with you. To maintain the tension of the album, “Celestial Signals” is a very harmonic track that comes out of the speakers with lightness. Via the haunting ‘Heavy Burden’ you arrive at the swinging ‘Vacation’, a short musical jaunt, and yet it’s a wistful vibe that subliminally pervades. With ‘Children of God’ Townsend put a ten minute song at the end of the album. Beautiful melodies and a very tight, full-bodied sound allow the listener to immerse themselves in magical soundscapes.

‘Lightwork’ is one of the standout albums of 2022. Devin Townsend manages to convey emotions with his music. In doing so, he allows the public to create his 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 are pointing up and there are nine well-deserved runs.

Written by: Markus Wiedenmann

Rating 9/10

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