Perhaps it’s just me, but as of late I suffer from a slight Devin Townsend fatigue. It has nothing to do with the man himself, but it seems he’s always in the news and he’s releasing albums at such a rate it’s almost impossible to keep up. The guy is an incredible musician and composer, but I’m afraid that I find Epicloud quite underwhelming.
It’s not that Epicloud is such a bad album. In fact, it isn’t. It has all the hallmarks of a Devin Townsend solo album, namely top notch songwriting, Devin’s trademark vocals, bombastic arrangements and a lush production by the master himself. Tracks like “True North,” “Lucky Animals” and “More!” are some of the catchiest tunes he’s written in a long time.
The re-recording of “Kingdom” was indeed a smart move, because it sounds way better than the original recording on the Physicist album. The soothing vocals by Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) work as the perfect anti-venom to Devin’s abrasive vocal lines. So far, nothing wrong, it would seem.
However, my main gripe with this album is the total lack of new ideas. Epicloud comes across as a collection of leftover songs from the Ki, Ghost, Addicted and Deconstruction sessions, beefed up with some experimental ideas straight from Terria and Synchestra. The execution is flawless, but Epicloud is basically nothing more than an attempt to put the previous all the elements of the previous four albums together on one record.
As a stand alone product Epicloud isn’t half bad, but seen in the overall context of Devin Townsend’s previous output it’s a disappointing release in my eyes. It’s full of the typical Devy vigor, but completely devoid of new ideas and fresh angles. Perhaps it would be a good idea if he would pick up his career as a producer again, wait for a couple of years and return to the fold with a truly stunning masterpiece.
(released September 18, 2012 on InsideOut Music)