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Devin Townsend ‘EMPATH’ Review

Released by: Inside Out / Sony Music

Release Date: 29th March 2019

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links:  https://www.facebook.com/dvntownsend/  – https://www.hevydevy.com/

Album Line-up:

Devin Townsend: Vocals, Guitars, Synths, Bass and Computer

Morgan Ågren: Drums

Anup Sastry: Drums

Samus Paulicelli: Drums

Nathan Navarro: Bass

Mike Keneally: Additional guitars and keyboards

Anneke Van Giersbergen: Additional vocals on “Hear Me”, “Here Comes The Sun” and King”

Che Aimee Dorval: Additional vocals on “Genesis”

Chad Kroeger: Additional vocals on “Hear Me”

Reyne Townsend: Additional Vocals

Steve Vai: Guitar Solo on “Hear Comes The Sun”

Shaun Verault: Pedal Steel

Josefa Torres: Additional Vocals on “Sprite”

Ron Getgood: Spoken intro on ’Sprite’

Elliot Desgagnés: additional death metal vocals

Callum Marinho: Whistles

Tracklist:

  1. Castaway
    2. Genesis
    3. Spirits Will Collide
    4. Evermore
    5. Sprite
    6. Hear Me
    7. Why
    8. Borderlands
    9. Requiem
    10. Singularity Part 1 – Adrift
    11. Singularity Part 2 – I Am I
    12. Singularity Part 3 – There Be Monsters
    13. Singularity Part 4 – Curious Gods
    14. Singularity Part 5 – Silicon Scientists
    15. Singularity Part 6 – Here Comes The Sun

Bonus Tracks:

  1. Methuselah
  2. King
  3. The Waiting Kind
  4. The Contrarian
  5. This Is Your Life
  6. Gulag
  7. Empath
  8. Call Of The Void
  9. Total Collapse
  10. Summer

Canada’s DEVIN TOWNSEND returns with his first solo album since Dark Matters, which was a part of the double album Z2 (2014), and his first release to act solely as a solo artist since Ziltoid the Omniscient (2007).

In EMPATH, Devin has decided to see what would happen if all of the styles from his current interests were to finally blend into one place. The title represents the feeling for a variety of musical emotions and musical dynamics represented throughout the release. With an impressive amount of renowned musicians from all musical backgrounds on board and even a rented cabin in the woods used for the recording process, we couldn’t wait to hear this latest edition to the masterminds extensive back catalogue.

 The album begins with the soothing sounds of water flowing, seagulls chirping and dreamy shoe gaze guitar echoes. Towards the end of the track a choir starts to sing and paves the way to Genesis. This is one of the most diverse tracks we’ve heard, there’s pretty much every genre imaginable in one track. This was also the first music video released so far in the promotional process for the release and it’s definitely worth checking out on Devin’s YouTube channel.

Spirits Will Collide has a real stadium, classic rock, ballad vibe with heavy riffs and female vocals leading the way and was actually our personal favourite on the album. This is a vocally driven track and continues on from Genesis keeping in with the cinematic vibe and wildlife sounds towards the end. Evermore has a real Frank Zappa-esque vibe and that’s no coincidence since Morgan Agren (Mats and Morgan, Frank Zappa, Fredrik Thordendal) provides the improvisational, quiet and jazz sections on the album. It features acoustic guitar playing at the beginning, a choir, double-kick drumming and some crazy jazz parts.

Sprite features a spoken word poem at the beginning and then progresses into one of the most technically progressive tracks of the album with loads of instrumental synth-work and island sound effects. This track makes a great gateway of blending the album together into Hear Me which is one of the heaviest songs we’ve ever heard from Devin. We got a real Deconstruction vibe on this one only on acid, with blast-beats from the beginning and crushing vocals from Devin which blew the dust off our speakers. Devin is also accompanied by Anneke Van Giersbergen and Chad Kroeger.

Why is a really different track that stands out due to its full orchestra and choir throughout. It’s an entirely vocal track with Devin backed by cinematic classical playing with his own technical improvisation which really raises the bar. Borderlands begins with a rooster crowing which doesn’t even surprise us at this stage as we’ve heard every genre and sound effect ever created already. This track blends mellow synth playing and relaxing sound-scapes with some heavy riffing.

Requiem is a mainly instrumental track fronted by a female choir and backed by an orchestra which flows into the final track on the album Singularity. This track is an album in itself or as a man once said a “Universe in a Ball”. It has a whopping 6 parts to it and lasts 23:32mins! We could write a book on this track alone, it’s cinematic throughout and leaves no genre unturned from death metal to soft acoustic guitar. It even features Devin’s old bandmate Steve Vai for a guest appearance on Part 6: Here Comes The Sun.

DEVIN TOWSEND  Empath is out March 29th through Sony Music.  I think that all old and new fans will enjoy picking up this album and attending the upcoming shows. For a full list of dates please see https://www.hevydevy.com/tourdates/

Ratings: 10/10

As you’re here, why not check out our recent editorial about ‘EMPATH’.

Written by: David Bell

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

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