DEVIN TOWNSEND — Epicloud (review)

DEVIN TOWNSEND — Epicloud album cover Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

Review Index

Member Zone

Username:
Password:
Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Dirt Alternative Metal
ALICE IN CHAINS
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Hold Back the Dawn Death Metal
GRAVEYARD
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Waking Void Sludge Metal
UNFURL
Buy this album from MMA partners
Rhetoric Of The Image Sludge Metal
TORPOR
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Day I Became Us Deathcore
PRINCIPLES OF MERGER
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Apophis Solution Deathcore
BECOMING AKH
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Between Two Oceans - Nightmare (Studio Live)
BETWEEN TWO OCEANS
Ilhor· 8 hours ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online