Empath by Devin Townsend/ Review

You will need to set aside ample time for this record. If you listen well the rewards are plentiful.

“Empath” has minimalist cover art. The colors within the stylish letters represent the shades of feeling in this kaleidoscopic vision.

Side One: Castaway/ Genesis/ Spirits Will Collide/ Evermore/ Sprite.

The beginning is quite mild at first with ocean sounds. Do not be fooled.

The intro, ‘Castaway’, builds up into a calypso like rhythm before tossing us into the cataclysm of ‘Genesis’.

Choral walls of sound, death metal wails and electro dance beats will blend seamlessly here.

“Let there be light/ Let there be monsters/ Let us remember why we live”. A world begins out of violence.

We must find a way to live. To exist in cooperative ways does not mean conflict is erased.

‘Spirits will Collide’ with immense power. Great energy is released. This will be the fuel of survival. The manic progression uses several musical styles here.

“Evermore” is large and choral. A stunning piece that brings us to the poetry of “Sprite”.

Fable like in its spoken word opening that drop kicks the listener into a power metal frenzy that is wondrous and existential.

Then it revs up with a speed metal race through time. A sonic statement like this is impossible to ignore.

Side 2: ‘Hear Me’/ ‘Why?’/ ‘Borderlands’/”Requiem’/ ‘Singularity’.

On ‘Hear Me’ we get the repeated refrain: ‘all the world is bleeding though our hearts are open wide’.

“Why?” offers a grand counterpoint with lush vocals against a classical backdrop of sound. Almost operatic with falsetto and choral back up voices.

In the face of seemingly imsurmountable odds we do not retreat from living.

The overall feel of the piece is uplifting. It manages to incorporate cowboy balladry with growls of metal bravado.

The epic ‘Borderlands’ follows with a blender’s worth of sounds. It works as well as all that went before it.

All are encouraged to simply ‘shine on’. Gorgeous ambient music attains full blossom here.

A Zappa like snap and pop runs through the entirety of the 11 minute piece. Electronic dance elements are applied over the top of the vocals too.

The brief ‘Requiem’ with immense choral production and dark classical instrumentation will give way to the finale of ‘Singularity’, a 23:32 minute song.

Blending the parallel worlds of conflict and bliss into a single world with a loving core.

At times operatic, with simple chords and choral backdrops that give way to heavy metal vocals. Pleading humanity’s case lends itself to a broad use of its musical underpinnings.

A wondrous album that is executed seamlessly.

The cover art for the digipak CD release.
Devin Townsend plays guitar, bass, and keyboards.

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