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.
Months after they wowed us with their last video clip for ‘Borealis’, Open The Nile is back with another head smasher! The proggy, post-Djent metal technical style of the band comes through in the performance video for their new track “Hawking Radiation”! The brain-bending riffs and machine-gun beats of the track will have all the shred heads throwing their “Jazz hands to the sky, as well as the devil horns! Meridian is coming March 15th and you can pre-order the album and merch at the links below. Check out the video only at Ghost Cult! Continue reading
Early door times for gigs inevitably result in the first support being missed and that’s what happened to my viewing of Intervals, as I arrived to a venue looking surprisingly sparse in numbers. The Safety Fire was an interesting proposition adorned in white shirts and looking rather posh to me as they hit the knowledgeable audience with a progressive set of math structured rock and metal with songs like ‘Glass Crush’ and ‘Old Souls’ showcasing some versatile guitar playing and vocal adeptness. There was a pleasant charisma to this bands music though at times it felt like each member was playing something totally different to the rest of the band, though it still meshed nicely together.
Seemingly from nowhere people arrived and filled the front of the stage ready for Tesseract, this UK outfits’ reputation has garnered exponentially though this was my first time seeing the band live. Unfamiliarity with a bands material produces anticipation and an air of nervousness, making the adrenalin kick in, hoping for something special and Tesseract didn’t disappoint as their mammoth sound erupted from the venues PA like the sound of a freight train going past your window. The down-tuned aural thuggery whilst not fast was ultra heavy, creating an impenetrable wall of sonic thunder from the bass and drums. Very few song titles were announced during their 45 minute set which saw vocalist Ashe bellow his way through the riff infested djent swamp but also add some deft clean tones occasionally to the set. ‘Of Matter – Proxy’ was a beast as a shoeless Amos on bass strummed, plucked and gouged deep caverns of dense and rich bass work throughout this song and the set as a whole. The straight ahead death metal aspects of the bands set were enough to set the pit off randomly making ‘Of Energy – Singularity’ seem that much more violence even though their whole performance had an atmosphere of sophistication through the playing ability of all the guys on stage.
Arriving on stage five minutes earlier than planned, yes a headliner starting early, Protest The Hero must have had a premonition considering the bass issues Arif had about four songs in, but more on that later. I caught this Canadian band some years back on one of the ‘Never Say Die’ tours that also had Parkway Drive, Unearth, Architects, Despised Icon, Whitechapel and Carnifex on the bill. With everyone taking about four steps forward as they started the Canadians flew on stage and bombarded the listener with their unique brand of riff saturated rock and metal that opened with ‘Underbite’ from last year’s Volition (Razor & Tie) album. Immediately the energy was amplified on stage from this bunch of Canuck crazies as the riffs, hook and melodies honed in on the senses with surgical precision. ‘Hair-Trigger’ followed in similar fashion with Rody working the audience superbly. The guys voice is unbelievable, his tone and range were faultless throughout and added to that his stage charisma and banter make him the perfect front man and many would-be and so called established people fronting rock and metal bands could learn a lot from him. As the band went into ‘Clarity’ and ripped through it bass problems ensued though I think only the band realised, meaning that Rody had an extended period of banter with the crowd which he unduly did, with much laughter including a session called “Hunk Of The Day” where he picked some dude from the crowd he thought was a hunk, brought him on stage and gave him a beer. Bass problems resolved produced a round of applause and straight into ‘The Dissentience’ with some outlandish guitar work covering multiple genres flailing the audience and creating a small but reasonable pit for some energy to be expended. ‘Bury The Hatchet’ from the band’s debut was followed by ‘Mist’ from the last album and the seamless flow from each song to the next was excellent. With each between song break giving Rody more opportunity to demonstrate his stand up routine I was thrilled to get ‘C’est La Vie’, a tune steeped in death metal in places but no less absorbingly catchy with riffs being flung far and wide. Early doors means curfews for venues like this and the bands performance had soon hit its finale point with ‘Tilting Against Windmills’ being a demonstration in guitar wizardry and vocal acrobatics. The other acts were good on this tour, but no match for Protest The Hero, and I suspect massive things await this band very soon.
Words: Martin Harris
Photos: Adrian Wheeler