Devin Townsend – Lightwork

Lightwork Album Cover Art

Devin Townsend – Lightwork
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 28/10/22
Running Time: 55:59
Review by Simon Black

First off, apologies on the lateness of this. We normally try and get reviews out in advance of release date and not look back, but we promised to do this one and when the planned reviewer ended up having to focus on a family emergency, yours truly stepped up. That would be a monstrous helping of serendipity, right there…

I have come to the Devin party somewhat late in general, having only really started listening to some of the recently released lockdown fillers in the Devolution series, but I am familiar enough now to know that whatever you are going to get from this prolific and creative powerhouse could pretty much go in any direction. This direction though, has a change here with Townsend actually working with a producer for a change (GGGarth Richardson). Now, they’re good friends anyway, but that doesn’t mean that Devin has not been challenged throughout this process, which to be honest every musician needs from time to time – musical genius or not. We’re also used to Townsend working on his own musically, but there’s an impressive array of guests too, and the overall feel of the record is expansive and epic as a consequence.

The just short of an hour’s runtime of this record positively flies by, with music that is more Prog Rock than Metal this time out, with the kind of huge mood and key change shifts that masters like Pink Floyd (snorting Frank Zappa) would pull off when at their peak. It’s moody, yes; it’s heavy, yes – but not in the crushingly down-tuned way that one would expect. Neither is it as aggressive vocally, and although Townsend does add more extreme vocal layers in there, the singing is nearly all in a much cleaner register, which being Devin Townsend he pulls off as effortlessly as everything else he touches. The subject matter feels dark and moody, but this ain’t the sequel to “Empath” (let’s face it, nothing could be), but neither does it go down the crazily experimental and somewhat unlistenable route of last years’ “The Puzzle / Snuggles”. But then when you are as prolific as this man and generally able to put out several releases of new or live material a year, then sticking to one direction or formula would quickly get stale, and that’s not gonna happen here.

Relaxed and melodic, but still roaringly and soaringly powerful when it needs to be, this is a positive triumph. 

‘Heartbreaker’ Official Promo Video

01. Moonpeople
02. Lightworker
03. Equinox
04. Call of the Void
05. Heartbreaker
06. Dimensions
07. Celestial Signals
08. Heavy Burden
09. Vacation
10. Children of God

Devin Townsend – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synth, Computer, Orchestrations, Co-Producer, Mixing
Anneke Van Giersbergen – Vocals
Ché Aimee Dorval – Vocals
Morgan Agren – Vocals, Drums & Percussion
Mike Keneally – Guitars
Steve Vai – Guitars
Darby Todd – Drums
Federico Paulovich – Drums
Diego Tejeida – Keyboards
Nathan Navarro – Bass
Jonas Hellborg – Bass
Elektra Women’s Choir – Choir


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #2 – Galactic Quarantine

Devolution Series #2 - Galactic Quarantine Album Cover Art

Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #2 – Galactic Quarantine
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 79:32
Review by Beth Jones

“Don’t let the bullshit get you down”…Never a truer word spoken, and we are surrounded by some monumental bullshit right now, aren’t we?! It’s with that phrase that we are launched into “Devolution Series #2 – Galactic Quarantine”, the latest release in Devin Townsend’s Lockdown project. This album is a recording of a greenscreen lockdown concert given by Devin and a series of other musicians, all broadcasting from their living rooms, in different locations, during the initial lockdown in 2020. Unlike the first Devolution Series album, this one is up tempo and in-your-face right from the start. It’s full of some classic Devin, and the energy and joy are palpable throughout.

The fact that Devin is one of my absolute heroes might be playing a role here, but this album is monumental. The stunning musicianship of every player, along with Devin’s super powerful voice make it the uplifting experience we all need. It never ceases to amaze me that such a mild mannered and humble person can explode with the power that Devin does.

Tune wise, among my favourites are ‘Juular’, ‘Hyperdrive’, ‘Love?’, and ‘Kingdom’, all of which are not only brilliantly intricate compositions, but are also performed perfectly on this album, which is no mean feat, given the constraints that all the musicians had to work within. From the crunching guitars, to thumping rhythms, close harmonies, and sweeping synths, everything is 100% bang on.

There are two tracks that stand out for me though. ‘Deadhead’ and ‘Spirits Will Collide’. ‘Deadhead’ is one of the more melancholy, slower paced tracks that really lets emotions speak through the instruments. The guitar work at the beginning is full of passion, as are Devin’s screams throughout the song.

‘Spirits Will Collide’ is still my favourite song from the “Empath” album, and here it’s performed stunningly – I mean of course it is! This is Devin! Anything less than perfection isn’t within his vocabulary! The thing about this song is it’s full of hope. And its vast expansiveness, musically, always inspires me into somewhat of an existential crisis, but in a good way. What was it that Keanu Reeves said in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”? “We’re all just dust in the wind…” Something like that anyway – that’s the sort of higher plane of consciousness I end up on listening to ‘Spirits Will Collide’…

I digress, yet again. I don’t need to explain any more about this album. Just simply another smasher from a living legend. Not at all jealous that we’re not going to Bloodstock so won’t get the chance to see him this summer, honest…and I’m still not in the slightest bit upset that we didn’t get to see him in Manchester in 2019 for my 40th, because we were both ill…honest but, as advised by Dev, I will not let the bullshit get me down!

Buy this album. I promise you won’t regret it.

‘Kingdom’ (Virtually Live 2020 Audio)

01. Velvet Kevorkian
02. All Hail The New Flesh
03. By Your Command
04. Almost Again
05. Juular
06. March Of The Poozers
07. Supercrush!
08. Hyperdrive
09. Stormbending
10. Deadhead
11. Aftermath
12. Love?
13. Spirits Will Collide
14. Kingdom
15. Detox


Devin Townsend Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #1 – Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds

Devolution Series #1 - Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds Album Cover Art

Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #1 – Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 19/03/2021
Running Time: 60:56
Review by Beth Jones

The last year’s been pretty weird, right? I’ve felt it, in particular, in the last couple of months. And even though there is now a light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t think any one of us can say we’ve come out of these strange times completely unscathed. There’s going to be a lot of healing to do, and it’ll take a long time. But thankfully, as a community, we’re all connected by one thing. Music. And we should never underestimate the healing powers that it possesses. It calms the mind and soothes the soul. It doesn’t matter what sort of music you dig, if it connects to you, then it consumes you, and brings you back to a place of centring and peacefulness. If ever there was an artist that has that power over me, it is Devin Townsend. His spectacular voice, intricate composition, and flawless understanding of technique and musicianship make him, for me, one of the greatest composers of the modern age, who is in possession of a very special mind. He’s the type of creative who finds, and taps into, a euphoric Nirvana of music, to channel and challenge the woes of life. The last person to do this was Freddie Mercury.

So, it probably comes as no shock to you that I was ecstatically happy to receive his latest release to review. “Devolution Series #1 – Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds” is the first part in a series of recordings that Devin will be releasing, to exhibit a culmination of work, including the quarantine project, and live shows from the past few years. Devin describes these as “a grouping of oddities and interesting material that I would like people to hear, but don’t necessarily want to present as a major release.” The double bonus for me with this release is that it’s an acoustic album, and not only do I worship Devin Townsend as a god amongst men, I’m also a sucker for an acoustic album, because it strips everything back to focus on raw talent, rather than modern methodology.

This whole album is essentially a stripped back, acoustic whistle-stop tour of the history of Dev, interspersed with amusing anecdotes, like his dad’s view on life, and how Ziltoid became a thing. The album starts with a 6 minute ‘Intro’. The majority of this is talking – the opening banter of this intimate performance. Here, we see another reason why I hold Devin in such esteem. His jovial, light-hearted, but completely unassuming character is just joyful. He’s funny and quick, but also shy, and not afraid to admit his flaws. And crazily, he still finds it difficult to comprehend why audiences love him so much. He sees himself as just a guy playing some music. In a world full of egos, it’s refreshing. Anyway, I digress, again… So, the music. Well, that’s just as spectacular as the persona of Devin. Even in the intro, where he’s essentially just tuning up.

This sheer perfection continues without effort in ‘Let it Roll’. Stunning vocals, with strength but tenderness, and a ridiculous range, that most would give their eye teeth to possess. He even takes a brief pause, to have a chuckle with the audience after a top end note, then effortlessly drops into crunchier vocal tones. And this is essentially how the entire album continues. Faultless and flawless. Particular highlights for me are ‘Funeral,’ ‘Deadhead,’ ‘Love?’ and ‘Solar Winds.’ But in all honesty, there really are no weaknesses in this recording. Stunningly performed (and damn how I would have loved to see it live), and beautifully produced, mixed, and mastered. Another complete masterpiece from the mind of a genius. And, with every release that this magnificent human drops, my respect and admiration for him only grow further. Thank you Devin.

‘Hyperdrive’ (Acoustic – Live in Leeds 2019) (Official Video)

01. Intro
02. Let It Roll
03. Funeral
04. Deadhead
05. Ih-Ah!
06. Love?
07. Hyperdrive
08. Terminal
09. Coast
10. Solar Winds
11. Thing Beyond Things


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Devin Townsend – Empath

Empath Cover Top

Devin Townsend – Empath
Hevy Devy Music / Inside Out Music
Release Date: 29/03/2019
Running Time: 74:08
Review by Beth Jones

Now, those of you who know me, will already know that I think Devin Townsend is some kind of astral being from a higher plane, so it will be little surprise to you to find out that I was like a child waiting for Christmas when it was announced that he was to release a new album, and I was intrigued by his documentary series that tantalised us with the promise of an album that he was both amazed and concerned by, as it was completely different from anything he had done before. I have to admit that I was a little nervous, in case I hated it, and it made him, this glorious example of a human, slip off the rather high pedestal I had positioned him on in my mind. I had purchased the album on pre-order and waited patiently for its arrival on 29th March, only to be dismayed for a whole week, when, alas every day the postman came, but with no vinyl shaped package (sad face).
However why let a little thing like an appalling postal service stand in the way of musical genius?! Rick pulled it up on Spotify on the evening of 29th March, and we had a listening party for two in our front room.
Looking at the list of collaborating musicians on this album tells you that it is going to be special. It reads like a who’s who of top current musical geniuses: Nathan Navarro, Morgan Ågren, Samus Paulicelli, Anup Sastry, Elliot Desgagnés, Ché Aimee Dorval, Anneke van Giersbergen, Chad Kroeger, Ryan Dahle, Steve Vai, The Elektra Women’s Choir, Mike Keneally and Adam “Nolly” Getgood. They all saw something special in what Devin was attempting! This was going to be exciting!!
As I lost myself in the world of ‘Empath’, two things quickly became clear; Firstly, I needn’t have worried about whether I would like this album – it is Devin duh! He’s not going to put out rubbish, because he is a god! And secondly, clearly, he is having some sort of mental crisis, and I am worried about him! That said, what he is producing in the throws of this crisis is quite simply mind-blowingly good! The Plovdiv live album he released last year was immense, and I didn’t think it could be topped in the sense of the emotionally electric pleasure it gave me, however ‘Empath’ has equalled and surpassed that. Whilst it is infinitely different from the Plovdiv release, and infinitely wilder in its soundscapes than Devin has attempted before, it is at its heart, still Devin and it is genius.
Starting with the calm, tranquillity of ‘Castaway’, the album takes us on a journey through creation, on a universal scale, with an entire toolbox of style, sounds and rhythms, making the whole thing every genre and no genre all at the same time. I am struggling to describe it’s brilliance without sounding like an utter pompous prat, but the best analogy I have come up with so far is this; When Mozart was composing, he had outlandish ideas, like attempting to write opera in languages never used in opera before, and writing a Requiem mass for his own death that was so ambitious, the people of the time thought he was completely insane. But now he is, without question, one of, if not THE greatest composer to have ever lived, and his operas, and the Requiem, are perfect examples of the most beautiful and revered pieces of classical music ever written. To me, Devin is that same crazy genius that Mozart was, and the music he is producing now is before its time, making it marmite for many, but he knows what he is doing. He sees the bigger picture, and this album shows that perfectly. You might hate it now, you might hate it for a good few years, but I guarantee that there will come a point where you listen back to it in the future and think, ‘Oh my god, why didn’t I pay more attention to this years ago?!’
Personally, I think the album is perfect, in every way, from the insane speed and precision of the drumming in ‘Hear Me’, to the beauty and pois of opera in ‘Why?’, and the sheer scale of the sound in ‘Genesis’. The vocal talents he possesses also never cease to amaze me, from his heavy to his serene classical operatic, his vocals are crystal clear, and beautifully powerful throughout, and combined with the unmistakable sound of his pal Anneke Van Giersbergen’s amazing vocals, along with other equally brilliant vocalists and choristers, it is just glorious. Devin has taken a whole bunch of musical ideas and combined them with some of the best musicians in the business, then interspersed them with sound effects, and possibly a touch of magic, and painstakingly layered together a complete work which takes you on a journey on so many levels of conscious thought that it will blow your socks off.
Or you might hate it, but if you do, whilst I respect other people’s opinions, in this instance I’m sorry but you are wrong! This is everything I could ever want in one album. THIS is the future my friends. Empath!
01. Castaway
02. Genesis
03. Spirits Will Collide
04. Evermore
05. Sprite
06. Hear Me
07. Why?
08. Borderlands
09. Requiem
10. Singularity
I. Adrift
II. I Am I
III. There Be Monsters
IV. Curious Gods
V. Silicon Scientists
VI. Here Comes the Sun!

Empath Full Art Bottom
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Devin Townsend Project – Ocean Machine: Live At The Ancient Roman Theatre, Plovdiv

ocean machine, live at the ancient roman theatre plovdiv cover

Devin Townsend Project
Ocean Machine:Live At The Ancient Roman Theatre, Plovdiv
InsideOut Music
Release Date: 06/07/2018
Running Time: 157:43
Review by Beth Jones

Before I start this review, I will let you all know that I am incredibly biased about DTP as I think that Devin Townsend is something of a god amongst men. I am a huge fan of anything and everything he creates.

Disclaimers aside, I was so looking forward to the release of this live album. The recording for this was carried out at a special performance on 22nd September 2017 at Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre, Bulgaria. A friend of mine was at this gig and had said that the whole thing, in the setting it was, had moved him to tears it was so mind blowing, and he is not a crier, so I knew it was going to be something pretty special.

I was not disappointed!

You know when Devin is involved, you are going to get a good show, and listening to this album I found myself imagining how magnificent it must have been to listen to all these spectacular tracks being played in such a dramatic setting. The first section of the album is a selection of classics, requested by the fans, and accompanied by the Orchestra and Choir of the Plovdiv State Opera, then the second section is the iconic “Ocean Machine” album, in its entirety, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release! What’s not to like!

“Ocean Machine” is, for me, one of the best albums Devin has ever made, and this performance of it was something very special. Devin himself said about the performance:

Plovdiv and this live package represents a lot to me, it signifies the end of one era, and the celebration of another. Amidst a gruelling touring year, this show came together with much blood, sweat, and tears, and the result is the culmination of many aspects of my work on one stage.

Ocean Machine was released 20 years ago, and though Marty (drums) is no longer with us, I was able to finally perform the album in its entirety with the original bassist John ‘Squid’ Harder on this night. On a cold evening in an old city in the ancient theatre, many lifelong milestones came to a conclusion on this night and I’m exceptionally proud of it.”

And so he should be. This album is epic in many ways, not least its length. The main thing that bowled me over is the sound – it is immense – so full of dynamics and power, it is amazing that the amphitheatre is still standing – but also so full of serenity, so rich and impeccably balanced that nothing sounded wrong or out of place. On a live album, this is masterful.

The passion and perfection that Devin brings to all his music transposes so well to a live setting that you sometimes forget that this is a live album. The artists he chooses to work with are also some of the finest musicians currently, and they really get Devin’s vision and help him interpret it stunningly, and the sustained energy throughout this epic performance was astonishing, invigorating and tangibly electric.

It totally blew my mind and all I could do was sit and listen in awe to this most beautiful and inspiring music. You cannot help but let it in to your soul – stunning track after stunning track executed with flawless magnificence. I would have given all my limbs to have been there and experienced that. Everything, even down to the album artwork, is exquisite. If you don’t listen to anything else ever, listen to this album. Trust me on this, you will not regret it.

It is very sad that DTP has come to an end, and that fact made this performance almost bittersweet, with an air of nostalgic melancholy, but as always with Devin, this is just the end of one chapter and the start of the next. Empath, Devin’s next solo project, is due for release at the end of March 2019 and will see him work with some more absolute greats. I have it pre-ordered already! I cannot wait to see where he takes things next. This man is my absolute idol.

I wanted to turn the scoring up to 11 on this, because this album is so worth more than a 10/10, but Rick is a hard man to bargain with, so I had to stick to the 10!

(This album is also available on DVD/Blu-Ray)

By Request Set with Orchestra
01. Truth
02. Stormbending
03. Om
04. Failure
05. By Your Command
06. Gaia
07. Deadhead
08. Canada
09. Bad Devil
10. Higher
11. A Simple Lullaby
12. Deep Peace

Ocean Machine
01. Seventh Wave
02. Life
03. Night
04. Hide Nowhere
05. Sister
06. 3 A.M.
07. Voices in the Fan
08. Greetings
09. Regulator
10. Funeral
11. Bastard
12. The Death of Music
13. Truth


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.