This is Devin's catchiest, simplest and probably his most personal record. It is also epic as hell (the title is supposed to be a not-so-subtle hint of what the record is - epic & loud). There are some genuinely heartstring tugging & goosebump inducing moments on this record. If you don't get goosebumps at the beginning of 'True North' then please go get your pulse checked! Anneke is back for this one and her stunning voice adds to much to these songs.
I won't break it down by song but there aren't any that I would actively skip (though I am not too crazy about 'Liberations', 'Where We Belong' and 'Divine' at the moment). The entire gamut of song styles are covered here from acoustic ballads to fast paced catchy numbers to slow building epics. A special mention must go to 'Grace' & the re-recorded 'Kingdom' (check out the brilliant live version on 'By A Thread') which are my highlights of this record and an unbelievable showcase of heavy, epic, beautiful and soul piercing music. The songs in the end do tend to blur into each other which is a shame because there are some real gems here. I wish there were fewer but longer songs on this one but hey, I'm just nitpicking.
The bonus disc 'Epiclouder' also has some great songs that wouldn't be out of place on the main record (with 'Believe', 'The Mind WASP', 'Whoah No!' & 'Socialisation' being my picks). There is nothing really 'Demo' when it comes to the quality of these songs. I therefore urge you to get the deluxe 2-disc version as it is fantastic value for money. Devin's liner notes (in which he discusses these bonus songs and also talks about how 'true metal heads' will probably not like this record) are insightful and funny and give the whole package a very personal touch.
If you are new to Devin's music then this is probably the best place to start (along with Addicted!) in his rather large discography. If you are looking for uplifting, honest and melodic metal/rock music played with passion and integrity then you could do a lot worse than check this out. Certain not his best by a long shot but it is the easiest to digest and get accustomed to his unique brand of music that so many of us have come to appreciate and love.
He's come a long way since the chaotic days of 'Infinity' and 'City'. This is a happy, sober and settled down Devin and it shows. Personally I am glad he has moved on and is still making strong music this far into his career. I await his show (w/ Fear Factory) in December with bated breath!