"The Retinal Circus" (HevyDevy; 2013)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Devin Townsend has done it once again: He has released another uber cool recording and this time it is a massive live recording called "The Retinal Circus," in both CD and DVD formats.

"The Retinal Circus" is a live collection of music from throughout Devin Townsend's career, but with a new storyline by Townsend threaded throughout. Legendary guitarist Steve Vai is. strangely enough, the narrator.

I have been a fan of Devin Townsend for years and there is a common theme in his music that I find fascinating. He really does not take himself too seriously and I find that refreshing. I would have to say they Devin Townsend is one of the most prolific songwriters of the day, second only perhaps to Les Claypool. The sheer mass and quantity of material that Townsend records and releases each year is simply staggering. It is rumored that there are three Townsend projects scheduled for next year, too, and you know I cannot wait to hear them all.

A new release from Townsend is like Christmas day, no matter what month it is. "The Retinal Circus" is an adventure, a delight to listen to, and a true work of genius.

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"Epicloud" (HevyDevy; 2012)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I first learned about Devin Townsend when he lent his vocal styling to Steve Vai's "Sex & Religion." Although I never got to see that tour take place, it did perk my ears up to Devin and his awesome vocal talents. Enter Strapping Young Lad and again he slapped me across the face. Devin left a mark on my brain. Now, we're at the Devin Townsend Project space opera show and I'm glad to have made the journey!

From the first note of the opening gospel choir (yeah, you read that right) and all the way through "Epicloud," you'll just be amazed. This is one Canuk who could rock Stonehenge into dust. The great thing about Devin Townsend is that he brings everything musical to "Epicloud" ... and I mean everything. It's jazzy, metal-laden and it even has some soft acoustics. There is only one man or machine that could pull this off and it's Devin Townsend.

Devin screams most of the cuts here but he also has Anneke Van Giersbergen singing like a angel on a few tracks. "Grace" is the song that she really shines on. Devin's guitar playing is out of this world, beyond space as we know it. His riffs are unlawful and his solos ... well, I'm typing this from the ER so you tell me! The acoustic track "Lessons" sounds very Led Zeppelin-ish, you'll dig it.

"Epicloud" is only 49:52 long but its enough to satisfy even the pickiest listener. I'm putting seeing Devin Townsend (in any form) on my Rock It List (that a list of bands I want to see before I'm gone from this marble).

The band: Devin Townsend - guitars, vocals, keyboards; Anneke Van Giersbergen - vocals; Ryan Van Poederooyen - drums; Brian Waddell - bass; Dave Young - guitars, additional keyboards.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2013 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 26 Sep 2022 12:18:30 -0400 .