Epicloud
DEVIN TOWNSEND

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DEVIN TOWNSEND - Epicloud cover
4.28 | 26 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

Disc 1
1. Effervescent!
2. True North
3. Lucky Animals
4. Liberation
5. Where We Belong
6. Save Our Now
7. Kingdom
8. Divine
9. Grace
10. More!
11. Lessons
12. Hold On
13. Angel

Disc 2
1. Believe (demo)
2. Happy Birthday(demo)
3. Quietus (demo)
4. Heatwave (demo)
5. Love Tonight (demo)
6. The Mind WASP (demo)
7. Woah No! (demo)
8. Love And Marriage (demo)
9. Socialization (demo)
10. Little Pig (demo)

Line-up/Musicians

- Devin Townsend / Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Programming, Vocals
- Brian Waddell / Bass
- Ryan van Poederooyen / Drums
- Dave Young / Keyboards
- Anneke van Giersbergen / Vocals

About this release

Released by InsideOut Music, September 18th, 2012.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

DEVIN TOWNSEND MP3, Free Download/Stream

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DEVIN TOWNSEND EPICLOUD reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

arcane-beautiful
This album basically came out of nowhere for me. I remember hearing him talk about this album at one point, and all of a sudden, it appears from nowhere out of the blue.

I have to admit, even though this album is insanely different from anything he has ever done, I really love this album. I usually get into bands and artists through personality. If someone I enjoy genuinely is making something happy and positive, I'll feed off those feelings.

In many ways, you could say this is the second part of “Addicted!”, but in many ways is taken a step forward. While “Addicted!” was very much an album full of joy and happiness, Epicloud almost takes this idea of joy and happiness to an almost religious sense. Yea. Being not religious at all, this album is pretty much as religious I'll ever get. In fact, anytime I'm forced to do any religious stuff due to my family, I'll just be like to myself 'I could be listening to Epicloud.'

The opener “Effervescent!” is a brilliant start to the album and is pretty much the occurring theme of the album. Nothing beats like a big gospel sounding choir.

The first real track “True North” I have a slight problem with. Now when I first heard this song, and the intro came on...I nearly cried. I admit it, this intro really is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard and anytime I hear it, it touches me very much so emotionally. As the intro goes on it builds up amazingly, but the song takes some rather interesting turns, and all I can think of is...'where's the intros.' I do love this song, but I do have a tiny grudge against it. Still an amazing composition though.

The album's single “Lucky Animals” is just an incredibly catchy song. This song was made to be a sing along song, and it works perfectly. You can't listen to this song with a sad look on your face. Cheer up and listen to this song.

“Liberation” has a very Kiss vibe to it. A very upbeat song I could totally see people rocking out to during a live set. Total cheese, but kick ass.

“Save Our Now” reminds me a lot of Dream Theater's “I Walk Beside You.” A very upbeat pop song...but doesn't sound fake. Rather beautiful with some great catchy moments.

One of my personal favourites on the album has to be the re recording of “Kingdom.” Definitly one of Devin's best vocal performances ever and the newer arrangements work so well. Probably one of my favourite songs ever.

Out of all the slower songs Devin has made, “Divine” has to be one of Devin's best ballads. A really simple and beautiful arrangement with some of Devin's softest vocals ever. The hidden ambience also is the perfect atmosphere for the song.

The ultimate pinnacle of the album comes in the form of “Grace.” Very much, this is the religious moment on the album. With some heart achingly vocals from Anneke, the song is backed up with some incredibly heavy and joyous guitar riffs. Mixing metal with gospel really does work a treat and this has to be one of my all time favourite songs.

“More!” has to be one of the more joyous songs on the album. The lyrics make me laugh a lot, and to me are rather smart.

“Hold On” could easily have been a Britney Spears or Myley Cyrus song. A very beautiful song with one great pop chorus.

The ending track “Angel” is a brilliant ending. A beautiful composition mainly built around vocals, the song has a very uplifting and. The ending in particular I love, which bring back the album's main theme.

In conclusion, this is just a beautiful uplifting and fun album. Pretty much, this album has a bit of everything for everyone. I would recommend this to anyone, because it is pretty much a joyous album and always puts me in a good mood. But, it is also a very emotional album at times and can really bring a tear to your eye. Definitely one of Devin's greatest achievement. In fact you don't need to be a music fan to like this. Just buy it so Devin doesn't starve of artistic hunger.

9.3/10
AtomicCrimsonRush
"I love you, I need you, I've always been around you" - get out of my head!

Devin Townsend has some curious albums that include music ranging from breakneck thrash metal blasts to balladic serenity, and his vocals are incredibly diverse, moving from screamo growls to beautiful soft tones and melodies. On this latest album there are moments of Heavy Devy of course but it is mainly permeated with very melodic infectious soft rock songs. Some of these songs jam into the brain and are maddeningly infectious such as 'True North' that haunted me for days; 'I love you, I need you, I've always been around you.' The female vocals are absolutely angelic on this album from the golden tones of Anneke Van Giersbergen she is in fact one of the best things about this album; as she was so on Devin's 'Addicted' album. When she begins singing it is heavenly, and she balances the vocals of Devin masterfully. This is one of Devin's most accessible and enjoyable albums, as he refrains from growls and thrashy music on most songs. There are thrashy numbers though to keep us in touch with his SYL background.

'Effervescent!' opens proceedings with an a cappela harmonised vocals that have a strange religious atmosphere. 'True North' has Annneke jammoing that melody into our heads and then joined by Devin and the heavy distorted guitars; it is definitely one of my favourite tracks. The hypnotic melody and beat is perfect for the album after that odd start. It features repeated phrases such as 'where do we go from here' and some sounds that remind me of past DT albums, especially with that wall of sound generated, a bit like 'Terria' or 'Ziltoid'. It has a majestic soundscape that builds into a variety of melodies, ending with more a cappella.

This is followed by another catchy tune with the heavy guitars and vox of 'Lucky Animals'.
'Animals, animals and we're lucky hanging all around us all'. The hypno melody and rhythms are again guaranteed to lock into the brain. It took me a while to like this but now I look forward to it appearing on each listen.

'Liberation' has a powerhouse riff that grinds along with some odd Bowie like vox and then the aggressive Devy voice drives it along with more repeated phrases, 'one minute away from you.' This is as heavy as the album gets and it absolutely cranks with pounding drums and mega distortion, along with atmospherics.

So far the album is perfect and it moves to 'Where We Belong', an acoustic intro and very soft vocals from Devy, as beautiful as anything on 'Ghost'. The gentle delivery is something that Devy has become known for on his albums, ever since the softer side displayed on 'Synchestra' or songs on 'Ziltoid' such as 'Hyperdrive' or 'The Grays'. The melody is excellent and really grabs hold of the emotions, along with a blazing guitar outro.

'Save Our Now' begins with wonderful guitar chords and drums before the AOR style rhythm locks in and Devy's quieter mood continues to pervade. The sound is pleasant and when Anneke joins in the augmentation of harmonies is absolutely lovely. It is such a pleasant listening experience and a real surprise as I am used to a lot more heaviness from DT.


As if on cue there is a grinding distorted blastbeat on the intro of 'Kingdom', then a thrashy rhythm with some nice keyboard motifs. Devy goes for a high register vibrato on some of his more powerful vocals. This is a diverse detour into heavy rock, and Anneke adds her classy tones overlayed; they are a real force on this album that works with admirable proficiency. The song builds into speedy double kick drums and fiery guitar work, in signature thrash style as heard on songs of the past such as 'Ziltoidia Attax' or 'Earth Day'.

'Kingdom'is raucous but still maintains a strong melody; 'stay with me or play with me' repeated so as to log into the cranium.


'Divine' follows, with dreamy guitars and keyboard ambience. The pretty melody is well executed by Devin in his most romantic mood, 'loving you is the best thing and the worst thing in my life'. The atmosphere is ethereal and haunting with those sweet melodies and ghostly key pads. It is definitely as gentle as Devin gets, and works well to balance out the mayhem previous.

'Grace' has Anneke's crystal vocals echoing across clean guitars and key pads. It has a spacey sound wth crystalline production; astoundingly dreamy, and then extreme metal blasts crash through for the chorus that is one word 'Grace!' I love how Devin screams over the jumpy rhythm and orchestra sections. This track is a mixture of metal and Symphonic nuances. It builds into fast complex riffing and Anneke sounds more like her work on The Gathering. 


'More!' is another very heavy track, belting along with manic guitars revved to the max. The riff is killer and just screams along with loud vocals sung on a high note. It reminds me of the sound on Alice Cooper's 'Brutal Planet'. I love the heaviness that balances out the next tracks so well.

'Lessons' returns to dreamy ambience with acoustics and is followed seamlessly by very gentle vocals that build to a crescendo in the chorus. The song 'Hold On' is a highlight even at this late point in the album; Devy has a magnificent timbre in his voice, such a surprise after the boisterous yelling on past albums. Anneke again adds her voice and it is a dramatic effect, hearing the high and low parts of the melody balancing each other.

'Angel' ends the album release (not counting the bonus CD), and it ends on a wonderful sweet melody, with a majestic soundscape. Anneke and Devy trade off over a killer lead riff. The lead guitar is some of the best on the album, and the ascending and descending notes actually sound like a guitar exercise but it works magnificently. It closes with a choir with religious nuances, and the positive theme of 'everyone into forever, everything a part of me' bookends the album.

Being such a brilliant album I had to get hold of the double disc Deluxe Edition. I was not disappointed as there are some fantastic tracks on the bonus. These are demos but they sound great. 'Believe' is a quiet ballad with Devin's quality vocals and gentle acoustics. 'Happy Birthday' has the gorgeous vox of Anneke over a steady beat; simply sumptuous music. 'Quietus' is a pop song with odd quirky synth effects, sounding a bit like 80s Devo, right down to the twangy guitars. I like this one a lot as it is so different than any other Devin track. It builds to a heavy sound that is abrasive and feels like a new song.

'Heatwave' is just a fun exploration of country rock; not too bad but very much a curio with a truckie theme and some out of place choruses that have a spacey quality. 'Love Tonight' has a bouncy tune and bombastic musicianship and very good vocals. 'The Mind WASP' sounds like an Arabian melody with a tinge of psychedelica and is one of the heaviest demos on offer here. 'Woah No!' has an odd title and is basically a metal blaster with some great keyboards. The harmonised vocals are dreamy balanced over the distortion and some Devin screamo. It is great to hear some more metal in the vein of 'Ziltoid'. 


'Love And Marriage'
is an odd beast that throws in all styles including the kitchen sink of Sepultura growls and a smattering of burps and Anneke reacting to her imaginary husband with that's what she would have expected; it is a lot of fun really to hear them spar off. The odd mixture of pop synth and brash vocals over distorted riffs is Devin at his most experimental. Perhaps this would have worked on the 'Ziltoid' sequel better. 'Socialization' clocks 7:18 and its length flashes by with very heavy fast drums and guitars. The operatic vocals are weird over all this metal sounding more like Galahad or such gladiator metal. The frantic guitar riffs are incredible, as well as a Slayeresque lead break, and a smattering of Mortification style growls, making this definitely the heaviest song on the whole album.
'Little Pig' is last on the slab, and the worst for me meandering along a dull musical scape and over produced vocal layers. With silly bloated lyrics 'I need a Friend'; but that is Townsend having fun in the studio and he will try anything.

If this had been the anticipated 'Ziltoidia 2' it would have been a masterful followup but of course it was not to be and this is still one of the top 3 Townsend albums I have heard. Anneke is a revelation on this album and works well with Devin's screaming and gentler moods. She is always an augmentation to every track and makes this such a compelling experience. Devin is at his best in his structuring and composition of each song. The lyrics hit home perfectly that are positive and have an optimistic edge, and the catchy tunes are surely some of the best he has created over his grand tenure. Some of these songs are unforgettable and it is an absolute stand out album, far superior to his last few, and absolutely buries 'Deconstruction' and 'Ghost'for innovation and diversity. The Phil Spectorish production is crystal clear with a commercial friendly sound, and every musician is clear, especially Devin's Keys, and guitars. It has been a delight to hear such a wonderful uplifting album. It is epic, it is loud, it is one of the great albums of 2012; treat yourself to 'Epicloud'.
adg211288
Seemingly not content with releasing two albums the previous year, Canadian musician Devin Townsend quickly followed up the 2011 duo of Deconstruction and Ghost by his Devin Townsend Project with 2012’s Epicloud, the fifth album under the Devin Townsend Project moniker. Epicloud is the first album however released on its own. Previously DTP always put out two albums in the same year starting with 2009’s Ki and Addicted then with the aforementioned Deconstruction and Ghost, the latter pair of which were simultaneous releases. Epicloud is however available in a special edition which contains the bonus disc Epiclouder, a collection of demo takes. Epicloud is also near enough a reunion of the line-up of Addicted, including female vocals performed by Anneke van Giersbergen.

For better or worse, you can never predict Devin Townsend and what direction/mood his music is going to take. His nature is eclectic, and there’s an understandable amount of excitement that comes when he has a new album due, regardless of the particular name he puts on it. He’s primarily made albums that fall under the progressive metal genre (with some, like Deconstruction, arguably even being avant-garde), industrial metal influenced stuff, alternative stuff, and even ambient stuff. The still recent Ghost was more or less a new age album. The Devin Townsend Project in particular has been known to stretch Devin’s boundaries hell of a lot, but on Epicloud the music is decidedly metal, at least as a base element. The end result is something that in typical Devin style pushes the boundaries of the genre, and anything goes.

And I really mean anything. Epicloud features a gospel choir, has bits of music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Ghost, heavy underlying riffs, but with an overall feeling of commercial intent. The songs typically have an air of anthemic pop/rock. I have difficulty identifying the sound of Epicloud as progressive metal though, despite the amount of influences going into the sound. The songs feel less complex than on Devin’s other heavy works I’ve heard, with shorter running times making the songs mostly ‘to the point’ style compositions. It somehow manages to have an epic quality that I wouldn’t have anticipated if I was reading the description I have just written, but to call this a progressive metal album would be a complete misuse of the term. An adventurous and brave album maybe, but not progressive. In fact there are many times throughout where I’d even question its overall status as a metal album, as many of the riffs sound more hard rock orientated to my ears, although honestly I’m not sure why I bother trying to put a genre tag on Devin’s music any more. He is Devin Townsend. Genre has become irrelevant in regard to him these days. I think I’m just going to call this album Devinism and be done with it before any more of this review is given over to trying to work out what it is opposed to whether it’s any good or not.

Well as to that I think objectively Epicloud is a good album. Possibly one of Devin’s more love/hate kind of releases for metal fans because of the sheer about of pop elements to be found within the music, but it does still have some of that quirky side that I’ve come to associate with Devin’s work ever since I first heard Ziltoid the Omniscient (2007). Some elements of the album work really well, others not so much. I can’t say I’m fond of the gospel influences for one, as I’ve never felt gospel merged with rock/metal music at all. But it is mostly decent although rarely showcases the genius of Devin’s best work.

Personally I don’t see this as an album I’d come back in a hurry (if at all), but out of Devin’s recent releases I would take Epicloud over Ghost in particular as I found that one quite the meandering release that didn’t really go anywhere, but I’d say Deconstruction is superior, although I never heard the masterpiece in that one that most people seemed to. For Epicloud though, a good album tier rating is deserved.

70/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org/devin-townsend-project-epicloud-t2808.html))
Conor Fynes
'Epicloud' - Devin Townsend Project (8/10)

Although I don’t think Devin Townsend’s Project series has ever come close to matching the jaw-dropping quality of his masterpiece “Terria”, it’s exciting to hear the man being so prolific with his art. With five studio albums released over the past three years, it’s clear that Devin is enjoying a sense of revitalized spirit and inspiration. Most importantly, Devin now seems to be at the point where he is most open and unrestricted with his musical expression. There’s no telling whether he might do a theatrical metal masterwork next, a soothing ambient record or, as is the case here on “Epicloud”, a peppy and melodic album to showcase his cheerier side. Although initial reactions may have left me yearning for something more creatively ambitious from the mad scientist of metal, Devin’s latest offering has a much longer lasting appeal and charm than the ‘pop’ label would suggest.

It’s obvious that Devin Townsend is picking up on “Epicloud” where he left off on “Addicted”, his pop-oriented and danceable chapter in the original four album Project. Although it didn’t leave as strong an impression as the atmospheric “Ki” or the balls-out mania of “Deconstruction”, I ended up listening to “Addicted” more than the others, if only because it allowed for the enjoyment of Devin’s unique style without having to invest the undivided attention necessary for his most adventurous albums. Although “Addicted” was about as poppy and commercial as I could have imagined Devin would go, he seems to up the ante here. The proggy arrangements and signature dense ‘wall of sound’ production are still here, but the songwriting is an unabashed celebration of everything catchy and fun. Townsend’s guitarwork still occasionally brings out the best of his talent, but the focus here is on the vocal side. “Epicloud” has fewer ‘standout’ tracks than “Addicted”, but an overall greater sense of consistency and flow to it. Overall, this is some of the cheeriest Devin’s music has ever sounded, possibly rivaled only by the hyperactivity on “Synchestra”.

By this point in Townsend’s career, a killer, unique sense of production and bombastic atmosphere are pretty much granted. Indeed, “Epicloud” sounds incredibly vast, especially considering that most of these tracks revolve around a familiar verse-chorus structure. Although the mix can get a little overwhelming at the album’s loudest moments, it really fits the album’s ‘epic’ approach. Although the larger-than-life instrumentation is sure to impress (especially if you haven’t heard anything by Devin before), the real highlight are the vocal performances. Drawing upon his work on “Addicted” once again, Devin continues to enlist the talents of Anneke van Giersbergen (of The Gathering and Ayreon), whose unique and wonderful voice works really well with Devin’s quirk. Although Devin’s over-the-top and versatile voice has always been a highlight of his music, some of his vocal parts here are out of this world. The undeniable highlight “Kingdom” features possibly the greatest operatic vocals he has ever put to record.

Although the execution here is top-notch, “Epicloud” leaves the impression that only a few songs here really stand out. Among them, the epic “Kingdom” is the one that will stand the test of time, although the sugar-coated “True North” and atmospheric “Save Our Now” also distinguish themselves. Although I wouldn’t say it’s quite an inevitable by-product of Devin’s ‘accessible’ approach here, many of the songs lack the shock factor to create a memorable impression in their own right. Especially considering that some of the tunes here are jaw dropping, I would have loved to hear an album that manages to hold up that amazing level of quality throughout. Seeing how much Devin has improved the pop metal approach on “Epicloud” over “Addicted” however, it’s very possible that we’ll hear something even greater from this end of Devin’s music in the future. For the present, however, it’s doubtful progressive metal has ever been catchier than this.

Members reviews

Gallifrey
Devin Townsend Project - “Epicloud” 14/20

39th place album of the year 2012

“Epicloud” is the perfect name for this album. Epic and loud. And I still don’t know if it’s pronounced epic-loud or epi-cloud. But it doesn’t really matter. This is Devin’s 5th album under the Devin Townsend Project, and the first unplanned one. Devin was apparently trying to write an epic rock-opera sequel to “Ziltoid the Omniscient”, but suffered from writer’s block. Or, the Devin Townsend equivalent of writer’s block, which is writing pop music. And to be honest, I like this a lot better than “Ziltoid” (aside from the concept, that was brilliant), so I don’t mind how long he puts it off.

As with the other DTP album, “Epicloud” features Devy working with a bunch of guest musicians to create very individual sounding albums. Epicloud primarily showcases the very appropriate voice of Anneke Van Giersbergen, who has guest starred on thousands of song for thousands of bands, but this time gets a full album, singing as much as Devin, even more at times. Her voice really works with Devin’s common pattern of using vocal layers excessively, giving a full extra range to work with, specifically evident in “Save Our Now” and “Angel”.

Devin is well known for his ‘odd’ personality, and this album is one of his most ridiculous yet. “More!” is one of the most insane things I’ve ever heard, yet it’s completely exhilarating. This entire album is just fun through and through, even having that terrible cliché of people clapping after a song has ended. The album never really seems to pause either, each song flowing into the next in a seamless flow of vocal layers.

There isn’t really a distinct label for this sort of music, because it’s equally pop as it is metal, but far more fun than both. Devin’s softer material has often been labeled “atmospheric rock” or “atmospheric metal” due to his heavy use of layering, specifically with his voice. Epicloud has so many layers that even Wintersun’s sophomore release seems weak. Devin is shouting, screaming, singing and 100 other people doing the same at the same time and it just feels like euphoria.

My personal favourite songs on the album is “Save Our Now”, “Where We Belong” and “Hold On”, basically any time Devin pulls of the accelerator to create some truly beautiful music, but I cannot deny that “Liberation”, “More” and “Lucky Animals” aren’t insanely fun.

And that’s what Epicloud is. It’s fun. Fun Metal. This should be a genre now. I don’t think anyone can listen to this and feel bad. And in a world where 90% of metal is slow and depressing music, we need some fun here. I know Devin never really does the same thing twice, but I honestly hope he does. This is great.

Originally posted on my facebook page/blog http://www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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