Year : 2012
Genre : experimental, space opera
Label : HevyDevy
Origin : Canada
Rating : 7.0 / 10
Buy it now
Epicloud is Devin Townsend's Jesus Christ Superstar from the verges of outer - and INNER - spaces that reject the views of Scientology, - please Google don't supply Scientology ads to this site or I will kill myself - regardless of how the cover art of this LP would be approved by the Knowing It All For Sure smile wielded by Tom Cruise. The music on the disc pretty much is the music I was expecting-, even better : HOPE - cheapest commodity - to get, as there is no doubt whatsoever that the flow is more focused and elegant this time around, then it was during Devin's most/least memorable psychotic episode to date, called Deconstruction. Read on to know more about this space opera spin.
The disc takes the fortunate liberty to resonate the music Devin Townsend happened to hear the most while he wasn't paying attention at all, and the character of this kind of stimuli is not necessarily conceived for the most favorite preferences of the avid/aggressive Devin fan. With a healthy amount of tracks, Townsend ventures into tasteful territories that seek out and find connections between a quasi-ambient spiritual disposition, which though is carried by an eloquent, steamy spacegoth 4/4 pummeling. The result emerges remotely reminiscent of a Rammstein with spaceopera rhetorics spicing it. The track called "Save Our Now" is a nice example of this particular direction, one which is quite prominent and well realized on the album.
After a puzzling gospel intro, the second track strikes up a build which reeks the spandex ethos of late '80s hard rock through the chorus work, and it is the galore of deliberately deviant experimental tendencies, unleashed in the nick of time, that manage to save some of the day - though the routine compositional wizardry Townsend relies on here, is coming from a bag of tricks that has little amount of true and delicious novelty to entertain the proper music snob in radical fashion.
Unfortunately, the third track, "Lucky Animal" summons the worst and most frightening of Dave Mustaine's cabaret cartoon thrash metal, and sports a particularly inept verse and chorus structure. Dramatic Phantom of the Opera, orchestrated to OH!, so hilarious clay figures. Reeeeeally? Not today, thank you. A rudimentary, magnificently uninspired swing vibe permeates the build, but its sophistication level is so cheap, bland, coarse indeed that it would be a shame getting caught tapping with your feet to it, so : don't. Don't let yourself paid out so cheaply, you embarrass me as my reader! All in all, this song is the spiritual equivalent of the Duck Tales soundtrack, only the Duck Tales soundtrack is much more heavy.
Luckily, "Liberation" is a muscular, sexy alternative metal song that strikes a Foo Fighters stance, shaped and taken from the same musical field Dave Grohl took his most serious songs to date from. The piece exhibits some hilarious, tame-yet-elegant sci-fi power metal overtones, that which is traded around skillfully for a blend of testosterone fixated hard rock and Foo Fighteresque - TUKK! - silence massacre. I must say I could find something to whine about in this song, too, and that is none other than the audio footage provided by the studio microphone that purposefully left turned on after the recording process, so you can hear the contributors loving themselves in self-congratulatory fashion upon song completion. As in : "daaayumm, we are rocking sooooo hard on this Devin Townsend LP, we are dayumm awesome!" No need for this, Devin.
Everyone knows you are awesome already.
The very next track, "Kingdom", takes the central ethos the release is gravitating around to its thrilling extremes with a tint of bombastic bigotry, though the build seemingly has a relatively hard time finding its tone at first. Nothing serious, in fact, this might only be a personal percept, - like any other - courtesy of the appalling opera singing that starts the song off. Give this fucking opera singer guy what he wants so he will shut the fuck up and leave the stage.
Track 8 and 9 are way too smarmy pieces to be taken too seriously, but they are doing their modest best to toll the listener for delicate inner sentiments which though are asked for with non-sufficient musical thrills and legitimate musical ideas of ultimate novelty value. Yes, these songs show a little more dignity than the recent android bliss-retardation music of Anathema. But not MUCH more. Granted, the track called "Grace" features a supposed-to-be-bombastic flow to it with guitars that do no reject the rumble, but the composition never goes Meshuggah on your awareness, - that would scare your mom - not even close. It sounds almost like a gospel, and, by the end, Devin put himself up on the cross, - secretly, of course - I'm sure. This is the epitome of the song that I don't mind I have listened to, but it sounds to have an obnoxious fixation on being bombastic for the mere sake of attempting to be bombastic, and it is homo. I'm not a homophobic, but this track is kind of homo and highly self-congratulatory, in my opinion.
Track 10, called "More!" is a Stone Sour song, and also a highlight of the spin. The flow is efficient and straightforward, the production is gritty and aggressive, and this also is a piece you have heard many many times before. By the middle, Devin emerges awesome - as usual - enough to realize this fact, and he offers a tasteful segment in the flow to deviate from the main structure. All in all, the track is pretty strong, and here is why : it accepts its efficient simplicity, and demands and gets the most out of it. "Give me more!" - and music submits, if you are serious about it. A definite highlight delivery, regardless of its sexy limitations.
With track 11, "Lessons", Devin once again finds himself in his private bliss universe, - OR, he never even left - and, though the place looks pretty cool, he decides to kick your ass out of it pretty soon, and I like that, for some reason. It is much more surprising and stimulating than having my soul massaged in laughably clumsy and awkward fashion by blissful androids like on the latest irritating, highly terrible and deceitful Anathema product which I don't like at all and remain pissed off relevantly at until further notice.
Track 12, "Hold on", is Townsend's solid routine variation on family friendly "Reach out and I'll be there" hair metal, and the build indeed shows capacity to rival the most frightening moments of Within Temptation, - comic book roses not included - and THIS is something to say, let alone hear. It is notable that Devin must have deliberately tried to refrain from using certain ultra-trite chord progressions a decent music composer denies the mere existence of, and, though his efforts are valiant, music eventually kicks Devin Townsend's ass and he MUST use the chord passage he desperately sought to evade all the while. Just listen, you will hear it happening. Hilarious. You just made the Epitome of the Filler Track, Devin. Congratulate yourself.
Track 13, "Angel" did not do anything to me at the first try, but it did not do anything to have a second try, either. So I guess I'm either a demon or the angel is fake.
Devin Townsend's latest contribution is an enjoyable, coherent, even relatively predictable - not always a "bad" thing - LP, with no notable major shortcomings to it other than that subjectively named as such in the form of the gospel-like elements, AND the bliss-fetish which sometimes is not elegantly flattered. The disc starts up in horrifying fashion, for example, but it gets worse than that, luckily. Just kidding. The album is not reluctant to reflect Devin Townsend's latest to date musical fixations, which now emerge to invade your receptors along a beefy-heavy almost poppish mood palette to fuel an image of spacegoth that cultivates a secretive and imaginative love for the ambient. Unfortunately, the sentence I just wrote sounds better than most of this disc does, but it is quite OK. A decent release, but don't expect the unexpected.
Rating : 7.0 / 10
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