I came to Devin Townsend very late. The first album I heard was Epicloud. The track “True North” became an instant all time favourite. I then explored the rest of his catalogue. There was a lot of interesting music. He is not called the Mad Professor for nothing. I loved the way he layered guitar upon guitar to create a real bombastic sound. Although some of the real heavier stuff was a bit too heavy for me, there was plenty to enjoy and I became a fan. So it was with great pleasure that I heard there was a new album on the way. More of the same I thought.
NO! ( imagine the sound of a fast car screeching to a halt type effect). This is Devin Townsend with the ability to surprise. And what a surprise.
So what does it sound like. “It sounds like Johnny Cash songs. Late night music, completely isolated sounding and different than anything I’ve done,” Devin wrote on his blog. It is country…sort of, but on one track there are shades of Anathema. At times it sounds like K.D. Lang during her Ingénue period. There are chugging country rhythms and twang guitars but what makes this album stand out and away from your typical country album are the song structures and the way Devin uses reverb and delay. This album sounds amazing. This shouldn’t be a surprise because Devin knows how to record and achieve fantastic sounds but I think the production and engineering on this album is spectacular. The vocals are down in the mix but you can still hear them clearly and I must say that having never even heard of Ché Aimee Dorval before, she has a superb voice.
Whilst listening to the songs my thoughts drifted away and I felt I was sitting around a campfire and learning from the native americans. Each song merges into the next so the magic that is created is never disturbed by silence.Every song creates an image although I doubt if anyone would expect the kind of image that comes with the video for “Mountaintop”
Is this album Prog. No. Is this a great album for a Prog fan. Yes.Ché Aimee Dorval has added another string to Devins’ bow and he proves that he is a versatile and relevant artist in todays music world and just because you are metal doesn’t mean you have to stick with metal. This is a great album regardless of genre.