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Devin Townsend Project Epicloud

Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
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
2012 InsideOut Music

Reviewed by: Daniel Marsicano   //   Published: 9/17/2012

Since 2009, Devin Townsend has been on a prolific streak with his Devin Townsend Project. The four albums (Ki, Addicted, Deconstruction, and Ghost) all showed a specific side of Townsend's eccentric musical personality. After this four-album saga was finished, the obvious thought was, "What is next for Devin Townsend?" Does he try for the over-the-top nature of Deconstruction? Does he bring back Ziltoid for another round? Does he go all mellow on us with another Ghost-like album? Epicloud answers these questions with "none of the above."

The cheap answer to the question is that it's a mashing of the previous four Devin Townsend Project albums, but that would be an insult to what Townsend accomplishes with Epicloud. There is no effort to appeal to crazed metal fans, or try to outdo the other Devin Townsend Project albums. There are songs that evoke an emotional response; songs that get the fist pumping in joy; songs that are reflective and stripped-down. The phrase "there's a little something for everyone" is tailor-made for an album like Epicloud.

Whether it's a super aggressive cut, or a melodic jam, it's not hard to be gripped by Townsend's songwriting. Single "Lucky Animals" is undeniably catchy, as is the follow-up track "Liberation." One of the many peaks of the album is "Where We Belong," which feels like a Ki track if there was more weight behind it. Townsend's vocals soar in the chorus, as he gives a subdued performance that feels vacant and dreamy. When a choir of voices enter near the track's conclusion, it's impossible not to react.

Townsend reunites with former The Gathering vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen, who was last heard on the Addicted album and the By A Thread box set. The two have a chemistry that could be recognized on Addicted, and continues to blossom on Epicloud. Giersbergen is not a backup singer, but a lead voice that acts as a smooth transition between heavier sections, or an angelic presence that signals what is to come. She's a perfect complement to Townsend, and hopefully this will continue a long-running partnership between the two.

If there was a sign of Townsend's maturity and development over the years, it'll be the re-recorded version of "Kingdom." Originally on 2000's Physicist album, this version is a marked improvement over the original. Townsend hits falsettos that were nowhere to be found before, Giersbergen finds a place to express herself, and the song sounds more productive than the mechanical, cold nature of the Physicist version.

There are several tracks that reaffirm just how far Townsend has come over the past few years. "Grace" and "Angel" are marked by a illustrious feeling of grandeur that instantly stands out. The former revolves around a standard chugging breakdown, the kind heard by any modern deathcore band, and supplements them with a choir and lush keyboards. The latter has the best ending sequence to any Townsend song to date, a piano-led choir that supremely elevates the track. The only fault with these songs, as well as much of the other material, is the lackluster lyrics, which get close to sappy territory (the acoustic-drenched "Divine" being a prime example).

Epicloud is easily Townsend's "mainstream" album, as it is one of his most digestible albums to date. That's not to say it's lacking in depth, as Townsend is a much better songwriter than that to let these songs come off as simple radio fluff. Free of the substances that clouded his writing during the Strapping Young Lad days, Townsend has come out determined and unwavering. Those who scoffed at Townsend in the past will have little reason to change their tune, but everyone else who stands in awe at his talent will find Epicloud to be a stellar twist to his atypical style.

Bottom Line: Devin Townsend continues to excel at being one of the noteworthy prolific musicians in metal today with the excellent Epicloud.

anonymous   posted 1/8/2013 7:29:11 PM
bru   posted 9/19/2012 11:22:24 PM
album is good. just saw him live. dude is out of his mind.
unvisitedgrave   posted 9/19/2012 4:04:46 PM
Dudes with ponytails are stoked.
MarginError   posted 9/19/2012 7:31:29 AM
I will definitely second the hope that Anneke and Devin continue on together. She's my favorite voice in music and both Addicted and Epicloud are rarely far from my playlist.
anonymous   posted 9/18/2012 4:54:34 PM
Meh...Devin Townsend is a talented musician and producer but I can't get into this album or really anything he's done since the days of SYL.

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