Album Review: Devin Townsend – Empath

Emapth was one of the most anticipated albums of the year for me. The drama that went down before the release, and the vision that Devin had laid down for this album made me realize that this album is going to be very special. Then came the documentaries. As it turns out, This album had so many talented and amazing people contributing.

what can I say? Let’s start with the fact that this album definitely lives up to the hype. This could very well be album of the year. It’s been a while since I listened to a new album that got me this hooked. After I listened to it for the first time, it was so much to take in. I had to listen to it again immediately. And then again. There’s definitely a lot to unpack with this one. It’s busy with so many things, that just when you think you got your head wrapped around it surprises again. This album is groundbreaking. It’s Devin Townsend meets Frank Zappa.

With endless experimentation, this album takes you to an adventure. It’s unlike anything that Devin has ever done. The way he mixes different styles throughout songs creates a unique chaotic feeling you just can’t shake off. As I’m writing this review, I keep thinking that it’s probably not for everyone. I think that this album reinvents Devin Townsend in a whole new way. I mean it’s still Devin Townsend. The trademark sound is definitely there. But you can forget about any sense of predictability. There are no predictable moments with this one. Devin really challenged himself with every song written.

Heavy metal moments along with jazzy moments, orchestral moments, and proggy moments are all mixed in. They transition into each other in a way that maybe sounds weird the first time, but after a few listens you realize it’s perfect. It’s unusually perfect. I can’t think of any album that reminds me of this one. It’s truly one of a kind. Emotionally, this album brings forward a sense of optimism. It’s really able to lift the listener up. I’ve been listening to it non stop since I got it for review, and I can’t remember the last time I was this drawn to a new album.

For the second time ever, I decided to give this album a 10/10. Nothing less can do it justice.

So let’s get into the songs:

  1. Castaway: a short opener to get the atmosphere right for Genesis. You all probably already heard it, with the release of the “Genesis” video.
  2. “Genesis”: Wow. This song packs so much energy and amazing moments. It’s unlike any Devin Townsend song I’ve ever heard and it’s a great introduction for the whole album. It’s really special. Obviously, it got mixed reviews. It’s hard for people who like Devin for one aspect of his music to love a song that’s trying to combine all aspects. First time I heard it, it sounded so weird. The arrangement of different themes in the song was meant to be chaotic and that’s probably why not all fans were able to relate to it.
  3. “Spirits Will Collide”: this is the only song on the album that can maybe called classic Devin Townsend. It’s a solid song. Very catchy and optimistic. Has a very epic feel to it.
  4. “Evermore”: you probably heard this song already. I love it! it has various twists and turns that are very unusual and unique. The song takes you to many different places, with crazy and aggressive choruses, to nice calm verses.
  5. “Sprite”: can’t get enough of this song. It’s so great at creating an atmosphere for the listener. So many amazing and intriguing parts. This song throws you off from the very beginning. You can’t tell where it’s going to go.
  6. “Hear Me: pure aggression. This one is definitely going to please all the death metal fans. It’s one of the most insane metal songs I’ve ever heard.
  7. “Why”: After a crazy Metal song, The album leads us to this song. This is Devin Townsend- Disney style. The song is mainly played by the orchestra, with great vocals and a great happy melody. If you ask me, it’s one of the best songs on the album.
  8. “Borderlands”: if Singularity wasn’t on the record. this would be the epic of the album. It’s an amazing song, one of the best songs Devin has ever written. It’s able to pack in every style on the album. It starts off with a calm verse, and the chorus, features a playful heavy riff. It’s aggressive and optimistic at the same time. The middle of the song goes into a more atmospheric vibe, bringing a very cool energy. Adds a lot of depth to the song. The song builds up again to the chorus. Not unlike “Singularity”, Devin is not afraid taking the song to all these different directions in order to explore his creative landscape in full, and that’s exactly what makes this song so great. I can really picture myself listening to this song on a beach in a tropical island.
  9. “Requiem”: It’s a great, and short atmospheric piece leading up to the mammoth of the album- “Singularity”. Devin does an amazing job here, combining the orchestra with the choir, creating such a deep song in less than 3 minutes. It shows Devin’s potential in writing epic soundtracks for movies.
  10. “Singularity”: this song is really in no way predictable. After seeing the track list, I thought that a 20 minute Epic will be this crazy prog metal masterpiece. Well this is a masterpiece, but in a very different way. It focuses on building up all these different moods. It starts off with the main melody. The orchestra and choir fits in perfectly with Devin singing and playing the melody. The song goes through so many different styles, but remains consistent in it’s identity and in the feelings it tries to bring forward. Even though it’s made up of many different parts, you can really feel why it’s one giant song. The parts flow into each other in a very natural way. The song is really unique, and it explores many different musical ideas with many unusual sounds and creative choices. It goes by so fast that you really need to listen to it a few times before you really understand It’s role on the album and what this song is really about.

To sum things up, this album definitely lived up to the hype. I had a feeling this was going to be crazy but I had no idea how much. It really is unlike anything Devin has ever done.

Grade: 10/10.