The Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
HevyDevy Records
Grandiose Ambient/Rock/Metal
13 songs (49:52)
Release year: 2012
Devin Townsend , HevyDevy Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Album of the month
The original quadrilogy of Devin Townsend Project presented a versatile as all hell picture, even if to me the results overall were mixed. Ki was a nice proggish mix of moody pieces that really worked well as a prelude to something bigger. Addicted, hands down the album of the year circa 2009 (and as I recall, many that followed it were still awesome as hell, possible winners if not for Addicted). Devin went pop metal and did a record of just pure fun. By gawd did it work well. Deconstruction, to me, was a victim of expectations above all else but even taken at face value, I’d still call it a disappointment. All in all, our own Meister Goat said it perfectly in his review: According to everything I read, this would be the heaviest thing Devin has ever made, and I duly went in expecting to hear Strapping Young Lad’s Shitstorm extended to album length, a dizzyingly brutal sonic scream with all the weight of human insecurities and neuroses behind it. Instead, I heard a silly album about cheeseburgers set to Meshuggah riffage with a full backing orchestra. There is nothing I would add in terms of an encapsulation. To wrap the foursome up, Ghost was an alright set of new agey tunes custom made for relaxation but not much else.

Considering the factors above, the first spinning of Epicloud was enough to make me smile widely. It can easily be seen as a continuation of the über-melodic and relatively straightforward stylings of Addicted (sprinkled in with some of Ghost’s serenity), just with more of…everything. More bombast, more blasting choirs in the choruses for catchiness, more versatility, more sound…everything! It’s like the grandiose, heavier and fierier big brother of Addicted.

What brings the epic here are not any orchestrations or elongated, multi-part song structures, but the vocals. Layers and layers of everloving vocals. Devin soothing, crooning and screaming alongside trusted counterparts such as Anneke van Giersbergen, who provides the beautiful tones that compliment Devin’s devilry as nicely as ever. Musically, we have elements going all over the place from pop melodies to hard rock, driving flames of metal, ambient and other subtle electronic bits, a lil’ bit of jazz, even a motherloving gospel choir, just a treasure trove of different musical modes that work very well together. The awesome choral melodies that start on Effervescent and reprise on the final tune Angel wrap the whole album up almost conceptually, even though I can’t see any kind of a direct storyline involved. The remake of Kingdom makes one of the best songs on Physicist even better, because Devin's singing is even better now. The sillynilly romp that is Lucky Animals may be the only cut here that falls notably below the general standard. I just find the neener-neener-vibed chorus annoying, may be just a personal thing. But when a band can still slap on a festive heavy-ass beatdown like More! and something as fragile and pretty as Divine on the same album and make them gel, we have a special release on our hands.

Production-wise, we’ve got the classic Devin-Wall-of-Sound that I’ve seen divide opinions quite sharply at times, but I love it. As is the case with the entire album, if it isn’t blatantly obvious by now. The slight dips in quality that were DTP’s two studio releases last year are blown away from my active memory bank by Epicloud. I can’t wait to hear what the Canadian wizard of metal has in store for us next.
Killing Songs :
Effervescent!, True North, Liberation, Where We Belong, Save Our Now, Kingdom, Divine, More!, Hold On & Angel
Aleksie quoted 91 / 100
Milan quoted 83 / 100
Koeppe quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by The Devin Townsend Project that we have reviewed:
The Devin Townsend Project - Z2 reviewed by Joel and quoted 93 / 100
The Devin Townsend Project - Ghost reviewed by Cory and quoted 72 / 100
The Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
The Devin Townsend Project - Addicted reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
The Devin Townsend Project - Ki reviewed by James and quoted 87 / 100
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