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Devin Townsend - Epicloud (Devin Townsend Project) CD (album) cover

EPICLOUD (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT)

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.95 | 226 ratings

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The Blue Ghost
4 stars I've always been amazed at just how far Devin Townsend can push the limits of the heavy metal genre. A lot of his musical genius seems in part derived from internal conflict; his need for tender being at war with his need for ferocious, so to speak. This originally manifested as the crushingly intense Strapping Young Lad albums set against his often vast-sounding and introspective solo work. Seemingly keen to break his own rules however, Devin Townsend occasionally released something truly oddball, such as the difficult 'Devlab', and the ambient album 'Hummer' (which is secretly just as heavy as most of his metal albums). And then of course, 'Ziltoid the Omniscient', which contained metal heavy enough for a SYL release. Recently, Townsend has sobered up, and his approach to creating has changed slightly. On the DTP albums, we still see the various fractured, conflicted personalities of his music, but in a much more concise format, with each particular aspect of his musical personality poured into four separate albums: the sparse-yet-dense 'Ki', the poppy, saturated 'Addicted', the technical, chaotic 'Deconstruction', and the lush, peaceful, decidedly un-metal 'Ghost'. On 'Epicloud', it seems that Townsend has combined the styles of each of those albums into something that at once recalls his earlier work and stands out as yet another unique endeavor.

What follows is a track-by-track review of 'Epicloud', in which comparisons are drawn between the album and previous Devin Townsend material.

The first two tracks 'Effervescent' and 'True North', seem to come close to sounding like 'Synchestra', but pack a unique punch. 'Lucky Animals' is a poppy metal song that wouldn't sound out of place on 'Addicted' or 'Deconstruction', and contains an interesting line cliche from the SYL song 'Monument'. 'Liberation' also sounds a bit like 'Addicted', but involves a "wall of sound" not-quite-typical of that album. 'Where We Belong', is another misleading song, at first sounding something like 'Ghost', but with a heavy chorus that recalls the finest moments of 'Terria'. 'Save Our Now' is another danceable 'Addicted'-esque track, and while not bad, is not really too remarkable. The next song, 'Kingdom', is probably my favorite on the album, and is a reworked version of a song from 'Physicist' that serves as an excellent centerpiece. After that we have 'Divine', which blends the styles of 'Ghost' and 'Ki', and then 'Grace', sort of an ingenious mashup of 'Stand' and 'Supercrush!'. 'More!' is another excellent song, and recalls both 'Deconstruction' and 'Accelerated Evolution' in awesome and unlikely ways. 'Lessons' is a brief, pleasant instumental that sounds a bit like 'Ki' and a bit like the opening of 'The Mighty Masturbator', but really just sounds like itself. It transitions into 'Hold On', which is tricky to call, and can be likened to 'Where We Belong' in that it has a soft verse that gives way to a massive chorus. The final song 'Angel' brings 'Epicloud' to a rousing close, and sounds distinctly like the album itself, and what's more, distinctly like Devin Townsend.

I give this album four stars (unless you're a Devin Townsend fan, in which case this album is as essential as the very air you breathe).

P.S. Anneke Van Giersbergen is awesome, but you already knew this.

The Blue Ghost | 4/5 |

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