the Real one


Devin Townsend has returned with the fifth album under his penultimate solo moniker; the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, a CD entitled “Epicloud” to be released at the end of September.

Over the past three years Devy has expanded into a wide array of musical soundscapes, pushing his repertoire into unexplored territories, as well as expanding on the styles and sounds that have made him recognized in the Prog Metal community.

While it will be startling for some, “Epicloud” should not be taken as an indication of where Townsend is going in his career. It is just another passing whim of his; a bombastic and catchy record filled to the brim with some of the best pop metal you will ever find made by a metal progster.

The themes of “Epicloud” are expressed right from the beginning with the title, as the name of the album is an amalgamation of the material on offer: ‘Epic’ and ‘Loud’, and “Epicloud” is definitely that kind of musical experience.

This effervescent experience is carried out by way of simple yet effective song structures more akin to the typical ‘verse – chorus – verse’ style rather than the off-kilter and crazy Prog that Townsend is most known for.

However, this is not new territory for Townsend, as he has made a wide array of simple and catchy rock n’ roll singles over the course of his career.

“Epicloud” is just an extension of that in a more complete package, an entire album focused around singular, isolated, yet familiar tunes that lodge themselves in the listeners consciousness.

Each song is contained within itself, sharing properties with the rest of the album, but insulated enough for each one to have its own unique identity.

Devin describes this is a deliberate take on songwriting that is meant to make the listening experience much easier and enjoyable to a wider audience, and that is exactly how it comes off.

As in Devin’s other commercial album (2009′s Addicted), “Epicloud” features the return of guest star vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen. While Devin still commands the bulk of the vocal duties and his voice spans the gamut of inflection and delivery, the most enjoyable moments on “Epicloud” are those that are accompanied by Anneke.

Although her performance is not as dominant in terms of quantity or volume as it was on ‘Addicted’, her voice is perfectly fitted to the music at hand and some of her best performances to date can be found on the pompous “Grace” and the great midtempo “Angel”.

It should also be noted that Devin’s use of choir is much more predominant and organic on “Epicloud”. The use of multitracked, heavily overdubbed vocals are still here, but there are also a lot of purer moments that are not so processed.

There are hardly any proggy tangents in this record with the exception of “True North”, or ‘curve-balls’ as Devin describes them. The songs are almost always instantly set-up and the premise is followed through over the course of three to four minutes, as there are no grandiose fifteen minute epics on this record.

Devin’s craziness can be found on “Lucky Animals” and “More!”, “Kingdom” and “Liberation” are overblown (but not always convincing), “Where We Belong” and “Divine” are fine slow atmospheric numbers, while “Save Our Now” is extremely poppy and commercial.

“Epicloud” is without a doubt the strongest collection of ‘regular songs’ on any Townsend record to date.

These are not the best Townsend songs, but rather the finest collection of songs. Each one is polished and precise in a way that no other musician could accomplish in this sub-genre.

In the past there were always a couple of wandering or meandering elements that found their way on Townsend’s albums, but none of that is present on “Epicloud”. Instead, the audience is treated to twelve highly focused songs and a wonderful a capella intro.

“Epicloud” is a commercial – catchy in its style – album, well arranged, played and produced. Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, but worth to be investigated by any Prog and Melodic Rock listener.

01 – Effervescent!

02 – True North

03 – Lucky Animals

04 – Liberation

05 – Where We Belong

06 – Save Our Now

07 – Kingdom

08 – Divine

09 – Grace

10 – More!

11 – Lessons

12 – Hold On

13 – Angel (bonus track)

Devin Townsend – vocals, guitars, keyboards

Dave Young – guitars

Mike Young – bass

Anneke Van Giersbergen – vocals

Ryan Van Poederooyen – drums


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1 Response

  1. jp says:

    Great collection of songs ! I will buy it (as the others DTP).

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