After releasing what are bound to become four seminal albums in the space of just three years, knowing in which direction Devin Townsend would take his seemingly limitless musical voice is a rather thankless task. Emphatically creative and tirelessly profilic, Townsend‘s inventive abandon sees him in a position where either an entirely new sonic entity or simply a revisit of old ground are both equally plausable expectations of ‘Epicloud’. The reality of the record sees us somewhere in the middle, and is no less spectuacular for it.
Opening with the joyous ‘Effervescent!’, all orchestral strains and choral warbling, ‘Epicloud’ is quick to set the tone, and as we move onto the shimmering pop sensibilities of ‘True North’ with its majestic refrains and bombastic riffing, there’s an unmistakeable Hevy Devy flavour of stomping heaviosity and dazzling theatrics which is, at times, overwhelmingly sublime (thanks in no small part to the frequent contributions of the angelic voiced Anneke van Giersbergen, who turns out to be an invaluable weapon in Townsend‘s arsenal).
And so it continues; ‘Lucky Animals’ is a ridiculous impossibly infectious glam rocker, ‘Save Our Now’ is a stunningly resplendant number with an unfeasibly towering chorus hook and ‘Kingdom’ boots off with a welcome metal charge injected with not a small dose of light-hearted dramtics. Album highlight, however, is awarded to perhaps the most understated of tracks here with the dreamily soothing ‘Divine’, as Townsend tugs on the heartstrings with some affectingly open lyrical work and a bed of lush atmoshperics, which could get a rise out of even the most hardened of death metal elitists.
One quickly finds themselves running out of superlatives to describe Devin Townsend‘s work. ‘Epicloud’ acts as yet another reminder that the man is incapable of creating anything less than monumental music, and whether it be left field wanderings or an unabashed emotional outpouring, there’s few even close to on a par with metal’s mad genius.
Written by Tony Bliss