The Devin Townsend Project - _Epicloud_
(Inside Out Music, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (8 out of 10)
Here's one you probably haven't heard yet: what kind of music does post-Strapping Devin Townsend play? No-hair metal! But seriously folks, I'll be here all... weak!

Townsend's current love affair with his rabid following of sex-starved geekoids has perhaps never before reached its current heights, and _Epicloud_ is heavy with the transcendental bodily fluids swapped in this unique relationship. It might be hyperbole to suggest that Townsend's appeal cannot be fully appreciated outside of the live setting, but suggest it I will. Rock bombast, sonic saturation, and a goofy/grateful Devy achieve the effect of lifting every willing soul in the club out of their bodily selves and into a sprightly dance among unknowable astral truths. (Again you scowl and spit at my apparent overstatement, but I've experienced it myself.) Do recorded versions of "Where We Belong" and "Grace" effect the same transubstantiated bliss in your comfortable home environment? Unlikely.

Reports of _Epicloud_ being _Addicted 2: Honey, I Blew Up Anneke_ are greatly exaggerated. These ears hear more in common with the compressed prog melodicism of the DT Band than with the endlessly hooky second DT Project release. Ms. van Giersbergen never takes the mike in as forward and naked a fashion as she did on _Addicted_ songs like "Supercrush!" and "Hyperdrive!", sticking mostly to background accents and intro lines produced to be shimmeringly alien rather than roundly immediate. There is no eargasmic "Numbered", though phenomenally heavy instrumentation lighting up lines like "Are We Happy Now?" and "Never Fear Love!" come damn close.

Townsend again nicks an older track, revitalizing _Physicist_'s "Kingdom" with glorious results. On "Divine", he provides a mid-album moment of quiet vulnerability which will be equally celebrated and disdained by devotees and skeptics, respectively. "Lucky Animals" and "More!" fulfill the expression of silly truthfulness required for the complete Devin Townsend experience, but mostly it feels like our formerly skulleted madman wrote the bulk of _Epicloud_ to be an emotive thank you letter to the fan base that embraced his own acceptance of age, family and metal as a means to beauty rather than an end of beauty.

The only question left: when do the copyright limitations expire so Townsend can Devify the whole Def Leppard back catalog? He's basically filched "Hysteria"'s rhythmic bed right here for "Save Our Now". Why beat around the bushy headband-framed mane?


(article published 7/10/2012)

8/22/2011 D Lake 8.5 The Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction
8/22/2011 D Lake 9 The Devin Townsend Project - Ghost
1/4/2010 J Smit 4 The Devin Townsend Project - Addicted
5/29/2009 D Cairns 9.5 The Devin Townsend Project - Ki
11/1/2011 D Lake The Devin Townsend Project / The Ocean / Rome Apart Ziltoid Invasion, Good Vibrations
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