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


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

3.92 | 388 ratings

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4 stars Devin Townsend set out to record 'Ziltoid II', another dark and brooding story about an egomaniac alien running amuck through the universe. He failed. To paraphrase an interview, he went into the studio with something in mind and came out with something entirely different. Well lets all be glad that he did because "Epicloud" is many things throughout the course of the CD, none of which are Ziltoid (though there may be some slight similarities).

Right off the bat we know that something special is on the way by the a cappella leadoff track. "Effervescent" is all that the name suggests. While the choral arrangement of the song could easily and predictably smash into a heavy Devyesque wall of sound, he passes on the easy out and instead continues the uplifting vibe. Anneke Van Giersbergen's crystal clear voice leads the way for a moment into "True North", one of the highlights of the album chock full of riffs, beautiful melodies and a Devin sonic attack.

"Lucky Animals" is one of the more awkward songs on the album. I thought he was saying "Animal Malarkey" (thank you spell checker for the proper spelling of malarkey) the first few times I listened to the song . . . I long for those days. "Where We Belong" shows Devin's voice in a softer setting, and it works really well here. His gravelly tone is perfect for this acoustic ballad.

My song of the year is "Save Our Now". When I heard this song on Spotify, it inspired me to order the CD that night. While the song is not horribly progish, it shows how beautifully Ms. Van Gierbergen's pristine voice can combine with Devin's screams. When she sings "Happy now?" her voice cuts through the clatter demanding the listener's full attention. The keyboards and the vocals in the chorus are, in fact, perfect. The keyboards give all the majesty of a Nightwish epic without the cheese while Anke's voice holds a trancy top over Devin's multiple harmonies. This is a beautiful, dancy tune that could easily top any chart if it was given the chance. It would be a perfect song if only it didn't end so soon.

The downfall of the album though is the excessive clatter that pervades many of the tracks, "Kingdom" more so than the rest. This is a remake of an earlier song of his that I would classify as 'mostly noise'.

With all of that being said, there are some similarities to Ziltoid here, "Save Our Now" is somewhat analogous to "Hyperdrive" and many of the drum and noise sections sound like they'd fit right in with the java loving alien. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to the crazy of the planet smasher.

All in all, this is a pretty good CD, the high points soar while the low points aggravate. I gave this a solid three and a half star rating brought up to a four star on the merits of Annke. "Save Our Now" is truly a game changer in my book and the best song that Devin has recorded (in my not so humble opinion).

Roland113 | 4/5 |


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