Devin Townsend is a music extraordinaire who is well-known for his many different and successful projects that he has participated in over the last 25 years or so. Whether it be Strapping Young Lad or Devin Townsend Project the man has always thrown his heart into it. He is a Canadian machine that expertly and consistently generates epic-scale music in many diverse forms. Last year he released his latest solo album, Empath (InsideOut Music). He took his essence to a new level of eccentricity with a masterful embodiment of bonkers meets serene. Many cling to the wilds that is Dev for his honest presentation, whether that be in Jazz, Metal, or whatever genre he chooses to express himself with. His devotees gather in the masses at his shows for a guaranteed excellent and entertaining performance. Last December he brought his uncommon magic to England and much like his actual works, the presentation was a little unconventional. Dev is about to release his new live album, Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 (InsideOut Music) documenting that European tour. It will be released as a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-Ray/DVD artbook package, a limited 2CD+DVD digipak, gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box set, and more.
New York City’s Netherlands may have yet to come across the average metalhead’s dashboard but with the release of their third fuzzed out LP (making their début on Prosthetic Records), they won’t be foreign for much longer. Founder and multi-instrumentalist, Timo Ellis, already has an impressive repertoire with having created and produced music for over 2 decades, releasing work under his own name as well as working with artists like The Melvins and Ween. But now, with the help of Zach Eichenhorn (drums) and Ava Farver (synth bass) since 2010, he’s channeling his heavier side…and it sounds oddly familiar. Not the ‘I’ve heard it before’ familiar but the ‘I totally know what your influences are’ familiar. It’s without a doubt enough to call your ears to attention.
This 9-track journey through distorted astronomy and psychedelia clocks in at a bittersweet 28 minutes. And I guarantee that you’ll feel the emptiness of a trip cut too short. From the Black Sabbath-y falsetto vocals combined with the foundationally Sleep-like wall of guitar riffage and just enough Ty Segall-approved fuzz to tickle one’s fancy, the track ‘Elephuck’ is enough to generate genuine excitement. Especially with the attractively dark lyrical theme of a dying sense of self as a result of religious mind control. What’s there not to like? The fellow slow-tempoed sludgey track ‘Bottom of the Ocean’ is the definite sweet spot of the record for the vocal variety alone. From the preachy chanting to the layered angelic whispers of world disasters and oncoming death (all over top of the gloomiest guitar riff of Audubon), Netherlands has more than honed in on a signature style.
Timo’s talent for intelligently hypnotizing guitar riffs and intriguing vocal organization is apparent in the fact that there is something attractive about each track on the record. Even the weakest track (and regrettably the opening track which is surely to throw some patrons off the scent) ‘L.M.M’ doesn’t get interesting until past the 1-minute mark when chaos and fuzz ensue to better fit Timo’s airy vocals.
Overall, Audubon is a solid release. Netherlands would surely benefit though in moving towards lengthier progressions to develop their tracks from being simply ‘a ride around the block’ to a fully dark and psychedelic experience.
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