DVD review DEVIN TOWNSEND ‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’

There is never a boring moment with a releases, coming from Canadian metal wizard Devin Townsend. It’s a sheer endless flow of ideas that led to releases under the moniker of Strapping Young Led, Devin Townsend Project and of course Devin Townsend himself.

One of his collaboration was with Ché Aimee Dorval as Casualties Of Cool and it is the singer/guitarist who was also on the road with Townsend on the ‘Empath’-tour in 2019. One of the shows of this tour took place at the venerable Roundhouse in London. The show, played on December 12th, was recorded and is now available to all fans as DVD/Blu-ray/CD.

What fans get, is the entire 15 songs comprising set, mainly built on the ‘Empath’ album with a strong addition of Devin Townsend Project songs. Just three songs came from other releases. ‘War’ was placed in the early part of the setlist, ‘Kingdom’, from the ‘Physisist’ album, was the grande finale that followed a cover version of The Trammps ‘Disco Inferno’. The latter shows, that the concert was full of surprises, as we are used to when joining a concert with Devin Townsend.

Already the start is different, with keyboarder Diego Tejeida, showing his talent as barkeeper with mixing drinks for his fellow band mates. It fits perfect into the Caribbean scenery on stage of The Roundhouse, a stage each of the band members enters one after the other.

With ten people, the stage was pretty packed when the band started with ‘Borderlands’ into the set. The crowd is immediately present when the cock-crow led things off. ‘War’ and ‘Sprite’ are great songs that also gave space for Ché Aimee Dorval and her great voice.

What follows is a section of five Devin Townsend Project songs, all highlights and supported by extra light and video projection, like the panther-eyes being the scenery for ‘Gato’. ‘Ain’t Never Gonna Win’ comes with a jazzy vibe and these are the moments that add the ultimate touch to concerts of the Canadian metal veteran. ‘Deadhead’ is done in a bombastic version, utilizing the entire power and filigree that can be generated by all the musical experts on stage. ‘Lucky Animals’ benefits from this density too before things get even heavier with ‘Castaway/Genesis’, one of Townsend cinematic metal anthems where bombast, craziness, chaos and structure unit to a unique fusion. After such an assault on your ears, the acoustic version of ‘Spirits Will Collide’, again with the great vocals by Ché Aimee Dorval, is a treat.

Furthermore it’s the master himself and his conversations with the audience that adds to the total. Philosophizing about the impact of ‘velvet sleeping pills’ and tour illness, passing by a drink to the sound-crew, initiating a growl contest with the crowd or holding the metal van for drummer Morgan Ågren to play on, all typical Devin Townsend moments, not the little plushy toys.

And if you decide to go for the Blu-ray format, there will be another 46 minutes documentary, providing even more Devin Townsend.

‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ contains a literally colorful Devin Townsend show. It’s the capturing of a concert you wish having been on site yourself. Great musicians play great music, being professional and at the same time having a lot of fun together. If you are in search for a good way to spend two hours on a lonely autumn evening, than ‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ is certainly a good choice.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Borderlands
  2. Evermore
  3. War
  4. Sprite
  5. Gigpig Jam
  6. Coast
  7. Gato
  8. Heavens End
  9. Ain’t Never Gonna Win
  10. Deadhead
  11. Why?
  12. Lucky Animals
  13. Castaway/Genesis
  14. Spirits Will Collide
  15. Disco Inferno
  16. Kingdom
  17. Empath Live Volume 1 (Blu-ray only)

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal

Release Date EU: October 23rd, 2020

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