Devin Townsend “Empath”

After the epic ride that was Transcendence, Townsend regroups and reimagines himself yet again, as the conductor of the mad world he‘s crafted since the onset of his solo career. And what a trip! Empath delivers in ways Ridley Scott delivers when releasing a new Alien film. As the album unveils layers and layers of orchestrated progressive rock, it becomes laced with futuristic anthems, and the signature cult metal tendencies woven in carry the record to a cohesive whole. Everything up to “Hear Me” is groundbreaking territory for music, and even then, the large vocal presence captured on the track is testing new ground. Afterwards, the fairytale continues with “Why?” going off the deep end like “Sprite” does in the first half of the record. Those two are just mind boggling to think about when reflecting on the album as a whole.

     Townsend’s genius speaks for itself to anyone willing to take a minute (in this case, almost an hour and a half), and listen to a masterpiece from start to finish. At times it seems that Townsend could use an editor, with runtimes lingering endlessly (“Borderlands” very easily could have been three separate tracks, and twenty minutes for “Singularity”?), leaving us to wonder perhaps there was a more effective or efficient way to represent the thought process captured here. But that will surely come with time. After Mr. Bungle, countless acts started to pop out like Radiation 4 and Look What I Did and a whole

new sub-genre of hardcore started to emerge.  Even Dillinger Escape Plan took a turn into the carnival at some point in their catalogue. 

     But the release gives us an opportunity to truly be engulfed in something special, a musical experience that’s been amiss from most releases in the modern era. Whether or not it’s an overwhelming unedited mass of content will be up to the listener to decide.

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