CD review DEVIN TOWNSEND ‘Empath’

(10/10) Canadian guitar wizard Devin Townsend is an extremely creative mind. Musical ideas and thoughts manifests themselves in a lot of songs, spread out over many longplayers and it’s impossible to put a certain label on Townsend’s music.

The music is certainly rooted in heavy metal and progressive metal, but Townsend takes things much wider than this. Every new album surprises with new sounds and unexpected twists. These unforeseeable moments are the magic that comes with any record that has Devin Townsend’s name on the front cover.

End of March 2019 Townsend adds the next masterpiece to the impressive discography. ‘Empath’ is the name of the highly anticipated new longplayer, an album that comprises of ten new songs, actually being compositions more than simple songs.

Mentioning the artwork earlier, if you are familiar with Devin Townsend releases you recognize a dominant color theme attached to them. ‘Terria’ for example is kept in all kinds of blue while ‘Ziltoid’ was more done in purple. Now, if you have a glimpse on ‘Empath’ you will recognize that the artwork is kept quite simple and done with a white background. What stands out though is the title itself, which carries many colors. In two ways this artwork characterizes pretty well what can be expected of this longplayer. It feels like everything Devin Townsend created so far comes together on “Empath’. Secondly it’s the colors that can be seen as all kinds of musical genres being the palette of sounds Townsend uses to create terrific music.

‘Empath’ is more than must an album. It’s an emotional adventure with all different kinds of sounds. There is the intro entitled ‘Castaway’, which is a calm and peaceful opening that makes you feel like sitting at the beach on an island, watching the waves rolling in. The song seamlessly turns in ‘Genesis’. The multilayered songs picks up the calmer theme from the intro as well as it includes blast parts and heavy pounding beats. This songs brilliant, as all of the ten ones on this album.

A milestone on ‘Empath’ is called ‘Borderlands’. Here we’re talking about an eleven minutes composition with big soundscapes and unpredictable twists. Heavier sections interact with calmer ones like the middle part with its peaceful expression.

The real epos though comes at the end of this album. ‘Singularity’ is a 23 minutes masterpiece in six chapters that includes all the Canadian guitarist stands for. Loud and powerful moments are outbursts that are followed by big soundscapes, which are swiped away by raw death metal parts. Some samples are weaved in too, as well as there are orchestral moments present. All these contrasts reflect a bigger picture that’s wider than this album. It’s the contrasts in life that are set to music and it’s empathy that helps you to realize all these shades.

Devin Townsend manages as no other to create genre bridging music that’s as complex as it is melodic too. The amount of creativity that went into this album is more than what some other bands achieve in their entire musical career. ‘Empath’ shows that something big can result out of taking the freedom of following your heart more than outside expectation towards you. ‘Empath’ is big and it provides music that spreads its thrill for a long time. I can just recommend to take some time to dive into this musical and emotional longplayer that redefines the standards for rock and metal.


(10/10)

Tracklist:

1. Castaway
2. Genesis
3. Spirits Will Collide

4. Evermore
5. Sprite
6. Hear Me
7. Why?
8. Borderlands
9. Requiem
10. Singularity

a) Adrift
b) I Am I
c) There Be Monsters
d) Curious Gods
e) Silicon Scientists
f) Here Comes The Sun!


Label: Inside Out

Genre: Progressive Metal

Release Date EU: March 29th, 2019

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