I discovered Devin's work as a solo artist last year. I had heard a few tracks from Strapping Young Lad before and after rediscovering them, I bought The New Black. I then proceeded to listen to The Devin Townsend Project (as they were on the lineup for Download and the name was familiar). Over time I collected Deconstruction, Addiction, Ziltoid The Omniscient, Ki, Ocean Machine, Ghost and Epicloud. So I have missed out a few albums in the middle, but I have heard quite a few songs from them. I also ended up seeing Devin live at Download (good ol' day tickets!)
Now the review.
Epicloud starts out with Effervescent, a nice Acapella intro that fits Devin's objective of a powerful sounding album. This rolls seamlessly into True North, which starts out with soft female vocals and then Devin brings the power. Lucky Animals follows True North, a track which was released as a fun taster before the album was released. Liberation has a nice rolling pace. A soft song comes next with Where We Belong and so on. (I'm not going to go through every single track as I don't feel I have to)
Overall as an album, I find Epicloud to be good. That's right good, not amazing, not special, just good. I feel Devin succeeded in his mission to create an epic and loud album, but I find I do not get the same "THIS IS SOMETHING SPECIAL" feeling that I get from past albums. It feels a bit cold to me, the brain is there, but the soul isn't. There are a couple of tracks I enjoy (for example, Lucky Animals), but there are quite a few "meh" ones as well. I certainly applaud the fact that he re-recorded Kingdom.
Four stars in all, simply because Devin is a very clever artist and the album is not terribly written, it just didn't touch me in that special place I was hoping it would (which could just be a personal thing)