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Devin Townsend "Epicloud" Album Review – The Modern Art Of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock Refined
Whacky ‘ol Dev huh? He disappears for a while after Strapping Young Lad releases “The New Black” in 2006 and tours to support it, with murmurs of discontent with life, his music and all.
Then an album called ‘Ki’ from the Devin Townsend project comes out in 2009. And another called ‘Addicted’… and another called ‘Deconstruction’ and finally one called ‘Ghost’. 4 albums in a span of 2 1/2 years, and all of them as different as you’d expect an album to be: from jarring technical expositions on the meaning of life as a cheeseburger (I kid you not) to highly ambient ethereal relaxation. music with flutes and acoustic guitars.
Ah Dev, welcome back.
And so, after such an intense period of activity and creative work, what kind of album follows this one in 2012?
Well, the answer is “Epicloud”. And it’s as natural a follow-up to these wild variant releases as you might expect as totally unexpected.
Dev aims to give you a glimpse into his mind from the first triumphant gospel choral notes – the aim of the game here is to elevate, transcend and simply bring a smile to your face with the sheer melody of it all. . Which, it must be said, this record hits in spades. I smile every time I hear it.
It’s not very metallic, is it? But very Devin.
Epicloud’s opening punch is hooky, chanty, and dare I say it: commercial. Running through the tracks “Lucky Animals,” “Liberation,” “Where We Belong” (anthem!) and the lighter chorus of “Save Our Now,” you can’t imagine a more commercial effort from a metal group since 1989. And I bet you this is better music without a doubt. Try not to bob your head to the chorus of “Save Our Now,” I dare you.
The production is very layered in the vocal realm and there is a mostly creative use of delay to build space. I’ve seen it written that this album is “scarce” – hmm, not so sure about that. There may be less layers of guitar and keys than some of Devin’s releases, but it sure makes up for it in places with heavy amounts of vocals. And, when you have the talent of Dev himself and the glorious Anneke Van Giersbergen, why the hell not pile on the vocal tracks?
Anneke has a more prominent role in this release than her previous partnership with Dev in “Addicted”, but she’s so good that you still wish she was used even more. But with such strong melodies, it stands to reason that vocals remain a high priority in the mix.
That’s not to say there aren’t moments when the hammer of the gods comes down — the “Kingdom” remake is nice and punchy, and an improvement on the “Physicist” version, giving us some metal in the mix. But as the album oozes relentlessly upbeat tones, keeping that lighter tone high through “Hold On” and “Angel,” while easing the listener into silence, you could be forgiven for wondering at times just how sincere it really is. the uplifting tone.
Is this Devin? Is it for real?
In this release, I think Devin is very real. Just enjoy it.
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