Devin the Omniscient

Devin Townsend @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney

(11 October 2013)



Reverb Magazine’s Lilen Pautasso reports on the uniquely entertaining and somewhat comedic return of prog metal master, Devin Townsend.

As seen on

It was an opening that could only be described as “true Devin style” – a compilation of ridiculous YouTube videos portraying hilarious moments of human embarrassment. From looping videos of models falling over in high heels to random collages of overturning cars, the start of Devin Townsend’s highly anticipated show set the bar high in terms of amusement and entertainment.

Walking onstage in his dressy suit and one quirky grin, heavy metal icon Devin Townsend set the crowd into a deafening roar. Complete with a narrated entry from his trusty ‘companion’ Ziltoid, Devin and his fellow bandmates erupted into ‘Truth’ from the 1998 album Infinity, visibly heightening the euphoria in the overly packed out theatre. As the song drew to an epic close, Devin stood motionless in front of the crowd absorbing the love from the crowd. After a few minutes he steps forward, thanks the crowd and shouts “I’ve learned there is no such thing as jet lag when you’re a heavy metal warrior. On to the next song!” Wasting no time at all, the band moved into ‘Regulator’ and ‘Christeen’ without a pause or even a sign of slowing things down.

With soring orchestral backing and some phenomenal musical support from his bandmates, Devin performed with an infectious energy and dynamism that has made him a respectable and admirable figure in heavy metal. As one of the first artists to truly capture the power of symphonic soundscapes, Devin made sure to increase the momentum of the show – every time taking the energy levels higher and higher. It was during songs such as ‘Regulator’, ‘Kingdom’ and (most notably) ‘Grace’ that the ecstasy and jubilation of the crowd was at its most evident.

But it wasn’t just the music that was the highlight of this show. When not engrossed in his adrenaline-charged music, Devin is somewhat of a comedic genius. In the past he proudly proclaimed the title as ‘the ugliest man in metal’ and even went so far as to create a Muppet alter ego named Ziltoid the Omniscient. His between song banter was classic ‘Townsend’ – regular references to heavy metal clichés, parts of the male ‘anatomy’ and “the bitch of the human spirit called ‘love’”. Perhaps one of the most memorable parts of the show was his classic guitar solo showdown with Ziltoid himself. Portrayed on the big screen, the two would take turns in showing off their skills – often accompanied by a myriad of insults and profanity towards each other. This hilarious duo was just a sample of the humorous nature of the showman himself and one that is genuinely adored by his many supporters.

Backed up by kaleidoscopic images and hilarious visual collages of Ziltoid and friends, some of the best comedic moments came during ‘Lucky Animals’ and ‘Vampira’. Never one to leave the crowd out of the action, Devin even managed to involve everyone in ‘Lucky Animals’ when he asked that they show their best ‘jazz hands’ in between song breaks. ‘Vampira’ was much the same with Devin asking the crowd to sing the words on his behalf. This energy and high spirit was truly infectious and the entire band managed to really leave their mark, even during their last few songs.

Ending with ‘Deep Peace’, the band gave it all during their last few minutes and rounded up one of the most energetic and entertaining metal performances ever in Sydney. A masterful performance that was backed up by endless clapping, chanting and proclamation of devil horns by fans. It’s no wonder Aussies flock to see this man again and again.

(c) Lilen Pautasso


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