Article by: Brian Halsey ‡ Edited by: Leanne Ridgeway
The last time Devin Townsend and I spoke was in 2005 at Sounds of the Underground in Sayreville, New Jersey.
He pointed right at me and said, “FUCK YOU! BUY A T-SHIRT!!!” Then STRAPPING YOUNG LAD ripped into their closing song and DT walked off the stage in all of his dreadlocked mullet glory. While he may have been speaking to the crowd in general, I took the message personally.
Sadly, I didn’t have the fundage in ‘05 to buy a $20 black band t-shirt to put on top of the other $20 black band t-shirt I was already wearing (that money was reserved for a parking lot grilled sausage and $15 worth of Gatorade *aka 1 Gatorade*). So I effed up then, but now I have the opportunity to make amends.
As far as orchestral, epic, symphonic, heavy metal goes… NOBODY does it cooler than DEVIN TOWNSEND. ‘Empath‘ starts out with a Jimmy Buffett style (lol seriously) Caribbean intro that makes you literally laugh out loud and say, “Townsend… you sonuvabitch!”
Then it kicks into “Genesis” and the lines of fiction and reality become blurred. Parrots, T-rexes, frogs, pyramids, and all kinds of planets coming at you in a particle accelerator. The music video matches the spacey disassociation you encounter upon first listen.
This is the work of a dude who has been at the helm of madness for a long time and doesn’t care how unprepared you are to be completely eviscerated by the laser beam of his otherworldly compositions.
‘Empath‘ is fully loaded with triumphant choruses and explosions of futuristic experimentation. This is not some subtle nuanced approach to being different. The album is assuredly meant for fans of metal but resides in an alternate dimension.
It wouldn’t be fair to compare it to the work of his peers. Since every other site has rightfully bestowed a “10” upon the album, I’ll just leave you with the awestruck reaction of a baby when presented with Hevy Devy’s greatest concoction.