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Devin Townsend - Empath CD (album) cover

EMPATH

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.94 | 279 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
4 stars I have to admit that I look forward to every Devin Townsend album despite the fact that I rarely come away wanting to hear them again. I just appreciate this guy's unique genius and unpredictable chameleonic eclecticism. What a talented guy!

1. "Castaway" (2:29) spacious echo guitar--to Hawaii and beyond! With the joinder of the angelic choir for the final minute, this must be suggesting that we have arrived at Heaven. (4.5/5)

2. "Genesis" (6:06) where this song begins and "Castaway" ends is unsure, but I'm filled with a kind of ecstatic religiosity as I listen to this (aren't I?). Weird timelessness to this: it has moments that seem to span all of my six decades. You sure you weren't channeling EDGE OF SANITY (Crimson) when you created this, Devy? (8.25/10)

3. "Spirits will Collide" (4:40) This is the first song I heard from Empath. My reaction was similar to the one I had when I first heard Kirk Franklin's "Stomp!" and The Nu Nation Project in the late 1990s: someone taking church/religious music into a (refreshing) new direction. A church choir! (Is Devvy a Christian rocker?) With hard-drivin' rock/metal. I'm also reminded of the Christian thrash metal song from the 1990s in which the lead singer screamed one word, "repent," the entire song. This is not those songs or artists, but the one-track, one-dimensionality of this song does remind me of songs like those. (7.75/10)

4. "Evermore" (5:30) contains some very interesting dynamics, styles, transitions, and messages but, to these ears/mind it's too disjointed and all-over the place; there's not enough coherence and directness here to make a point. (7.75/10)

5. "Sprite" (6:37) Devy's contribution to fairy tales (in the UTOPIA "Singring" tradition). Dull and one-dimensional for over half of the song, then, after it goes church-religious, too weird (though I do like the Tangerine Dream-like fairy-travels bit in sixth minute). Devy's really stretching himself with the Celtic sprite in the beginning to the Gollum finish. (8.25/10)

6. "Hear Me" (6:30) sounds like cartoon music. Until the women's choir joins in. Then Devy takes over and it really is loony toons. The chorus is decent. The group skill to keep in time is insane (unless it's all auto-synced.) The song actually works because of the contrast of extremes. (8.75/10)

7. "Why?" (4:59) opens like a BBC theme song. Boy, Devy has a gorgeous voice. I truly wish he would sing more like this--give Josh Grobin and Roy Orbison a run for their money. LOL! (9/10)

8. "Borderlands" (11:03) a wild hodge-podge of styles melded into "one" while, thankfully, staying away from the freneticism of thrash/doom styles. I LOVe the centre section (ending with "it's tragic, it's love"). (18/20)

9. "Requiem" (2:47) an interlude into heavenly clouds and eternal light. Again, this talented dude could compose music for any genre he likes! GORGEOUS cinematic choir piece! (5/5)

10. "Singularity" (23:33) an excellent song with great movement, great stylistic shifts and development, brilliant use of his choir and, believe it or not, less thrash metal walls of sound than I'm used to hearing on a Devin song. My one beef with this (and many of Devvy's songs) is that we get sensitive, angelic pre-pubescent- and Josh Grobin-like vocals alternated with Ziltoid growls, doom metal guitars, and machine gun bass drumming: Is Devy all tongue-in-cheek--is he's just laughing as he makes this music and laughing at us for taking it seriously? Nice to hear him shredding in refreshing ways in the "Silicon Scientists" section. Nice to hear the uplifting feel and message of the final "Here Comes the Sun" section. (45.5/50): - Part 1 - Adrift (4.75/5) - Part 2 - I Am I (5/5) - Part 3 - There Be Monsters (9/10) - Part 4 - Curious Gods (8/10) - Part 5 - Silicon Scientists (9.75/10) - Part 6 - Here Comes the Sun (9/10)

Total Time 74:08

Devin Townsend is a genius: he is uber-creative, mega-talented, warped, and totally unique. It this is an album that I'll want to revisit. I like it!

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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