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


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

3.92 | 387 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Whenever one of my favorite bands puts out something that doesn't live up to expectations, or worse yet, just plain stinks, I take solace knowing that somewhere in the world (OK, Canada), Devin Townsend is continuing his winning streak of powerful, energetic, artistic, and purely awesome albums. Epicloud makes his record 12-0, and things are just getting better.

As a whole, Epicloud demonstrates the trademark Devin feel: big songs layered with diverse vocals, guitar effects, heavy beats, atmosphere, memorability, cathartic power, and a touch of snarkiness, all bundled together in an exceptionally well-produced package. Epicloud begins with a faux hymn that gives way to a driving, uplifting anthem of an opener in "True North". Soaring vocals and heavy chords complemented by the well-performed guest vocals of Anneke Van Giersbergen start things off right. Welcome to the Church of Devin.

"Lucky Animals" is an unfortunate low-point in the mix, but it passes quickly enough into the jaunty (and heavy) "Liberation". Fun stuff, but light-weight. For me, Epicloud really begins at the 1:06 mark of "Where We Belong", where the tone of the album explodes into a mature, sensitive, and powerful series of songs that elevate, crush, renew, shatter, tranquilize, and uplift-- usually within the same song. "Save Our Now" might be Devin's most purely optimistic and beautiful song to date, while the follow-up "Kingdom" and "Grace" are hugely successful examples of Devin's amazing voice and walls of guitar sound. Fine work by drummer Poederooyen is also noteworthy, delivering complex pedal work that highly compliments the tone of these songs. Anneke delivers fine back-up vocals as well, her steady feminine tone filling a space which Townsend fans might not have noticed missing before.

Epicloud's closing trio, the etheric "Lessons", and suitably epic "Hold On" and "Angel" wrap things up in a very satisfyingly. This album makes a great starting place for Townsend's excellent music, and I highly encourage fans of heavy-prog, art rock, metal, or just about any other genre of rock to check it out. For fans of Townsend's work already-- be prepared to be rewarded once again.

As if this wasn't enough, we're given an accompanying disc of B-Sides, which, honestly, is good enough to be a stand-alone purchase in their own right. While not as heavily produced as the other material on Epicloud, the B-Sides are excellently diverse, showcasing Devin's evolving sound over the past several albums. In some ways it's more experimental than Townsend's standard sound, giving us lots of fun diversions-- light, heavy, hot, cold, crazy, sane-- it's gotten more play than all of my other "bonus" discs combined.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Prog Leviathan | 5/5 |


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