In choosing the inaugural post for the Inspiration of the Day, I felt like I had a lot I could do; however, I decided to focus solely on my easiest muse from which to draw: music. In this case, my selection was even easier: The Devin Townsend Project’s newest studio release, “Epicloud.”
A far more accessible album than its four predecessors, Epicloud offers an intense emotional journey that goes against the grain of the majority of hard rock/heavy metal releases. Its sound is without question joyful, epic, and loud. Though Townsend has maintained that the album has no overarching concept, the consistent use of the word “love” and talk of letting “fears” go lead me to view this album as a concept at least in lyrical theme. Each song transitions fully into the next, easily extending the theme and its frantic pace that is only accentuated by the constant use of the “wall of sound.”
The kernel of the album’s sound is established in the chorus of joy, “Effervescent!,” before bounding off into the next ten minutes of repetitive, rapid-fire rock-n-roll riffs and lyrics (“True North,” “Lucky Animals,” and “Liberation”), peaking exactly in the middle of “Liberation” with the line: “the time has come to forget all this bullshit and rock!” Carrying through the chorus, the album slows and warms proudly into “Where We Belong” (quite probably one of the best rock ballads since the early 1990s) before kicking back up with the impossibly EuroPop “Save Our Now” serving as juxtaposition to the undeniably charming heavy metal “Kingdom,” that declares “Ok I know I missed it./ The point I mean… I missed it good.” “Divine” brings the album back down into a valley of near sappy calm before hitting into the burners of “Grace,” “More,” “Lessons,” and “Hold On.” “Angel” drives the point home after the guitars fade and the choir returns, ending where the album began.
Generally, the album seems a sort of music for music’s sake approach, where being considered heavy, troubled, or genius matter very little except for self expression. Townsend never seems to take Epicloud, or himself, very seriously; it does not appear to be anything less than a snapshot of his current mental state and seems to come across as unmitigated mirth. Nothing in this album comes across as forced, though Townsend’s use of Anneke Von Giersberegen quieted the cheesiest moments of this work. Its sound feels effortless (though MetalSucks’ twitter compilation from DT’s feed verifies otherwise), free, and fun. The lesson I’ve found in listening to this album are that sometimes just relaxing and enjoying the moment allow for someone to make something truly intense, pleasurable, and worthy of praise. Ultimately, this is one of the best albums of the year and a great insight into how beneficial the feeling of peace can truly be.
Here’s the stream: