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Devin Townsend: Ziltoid Live At The Royal Albert Hall

Two sides of the Canadian enigma, plus a documentary.

Two sets, multiple personalities, one weird but very likeable metalhead-turned-new age maestro. Devin Townsend had long sought to upscale his coffee-guzzling alien puppet (Ziltoid The Omniscient), and this year he was able to do so – in the Albert Hall. “The Queen was here!” he exclaims in the documentary.

Now, conceptual Ziltoid LP Z2 is here, “immense shrieking ballbags”, fart cannons and all. Townsend’s’s chatter and musical virtuosity (and that of his band as well) are loveable, but the sub-primary school humour is wincingly stupid. Even the most devout fan must question it.

But then, post-interval, we get the dressed-down, puppet-free Devin Townsend Project half, with a heartfelt, chosen-by-fans set. It’s a truly original blend of metal, Danny Elfman theatre, new age and progressive rock – and it’s really rather wonderful.

So yes, Ziltoid is an annoying little bastard, but without Devin Townsend, the world would be much less colourful.

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.