Epicloud Is Another Successful Experiment From Rock’s Musical Mad Scientist

Courtesy: Inside Out Music USA/Century Media

The musical mad scientist himself, Devin Townsend, is back again with a brand new album.  Townsend wasted little time with this album, as it comes barely a year after the release of his previous two albums under the DTP moniker, “Deconstructed” and “Ghost.”  And just as those two albums (and the pair that preceded it) were amazingly original opuses, so is “Epicloud.”

Devin Townsend is hard rock’s answer to Dave Stewart.  Just as Stewart does, Townsend has re-invented himself on every one of his albums.  “Epicloud” is no exception to that rule.  The album’s opener, ‘Effervescent!’ is quite the interesting piece.  It’s a short choir style piece that clocks in at just under a minute long.  The “choir” that Townsend uses here also carries through a good portion of the album including a couple of the album’s best songs, ‘Lucky Animals’ and ‘Liberation.’  The subtle addition of a sax part in ‘Lucky Animals’ makes it that much more enjoyable.  The hard driving ‘Liberation’ is a great track in its own right.  In comparison to ‘Lucky Animals’ it’s still a good hard rock song.  But its style is different from that one.  And it’s just as different from ‘True North.’ 

The album’s first trio of actual full length songs is different from one another.  Each song is just as different from one another as the rest of this album’s songs are from each other, too.  What’s more, not only are they different from each other, they’re so entirely creative.  ‘Epicloud’ is such a creative work as it seems to have a touch of Euro-metal mixed in with speed metal, and Townsend’s own mad scientist mixture of ingredients.  Just as with every previous release from this musical genius, every track on this disc is a brand new experiment.  And every experiment is one that will keep listeners’ ears from start to finish.  It proves that just as from album to album, fans never know what to expect from one song to the next even on this brand new release.  It goes without saying that Townsend has impressed yet again with this new release.  He may very well have with this release, one of the year’s best hard rock/metal albums of 2012.

Devin Townsend will be touring across Europe this Fall and Winter in support of ‘Epicloud.’  He will kick off the European leg of his tour October 23rd at Northampton University in Newcastle, UK.  Fans can get a full list of tour dates and all the latest DTP news online at http://www.hevydevy.com.

To keep p with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Beardfish’s New LP Another Sleeper Hit Of 2012

Inside Out Music USA/Century Media

Most music fans generally think of either Abba or extreme metal when thinking of Sweden.  However, Sweden has become increasingly associated with another sub genre of rock in recent years thanks to the likes of The Flower Kings.  The Flower Kings is just one band that is beginning to change audiences’ perception of music from Sweden.  On the heavier end of the prog spectrum is a band by the name of Beardfish.  Fans of Dream theater or its former drummer Mike Portnoy might recognize the name of Beardfish as he actually recently gave the band a shout out on his personal Facebook page.  He had quite the positive things to say of Beardfish.  And it’s no wonder why he had such good things to say.

Beardfish’s new album, “The Void” is an extensive prog-metal experience.  It opens somewhat abruptly with the narrator led ‘Introduction.’  But once it launches into ‘Voluntary Slavery’ listeners know they’re in for quite the hard rock experience.  The best comparison one can make with Beardfish on this album is to Tool. Vocalist Richard Sjoblom’s vocals are just as powerful as those of Tool front man Maynard James Kenan.  When the band launches into ‘Turn To Gravel’, audiences really get a taste of that vocal ability.  Strangely enough, there’s even a touch of Glen Danzig and James LaBrie in his voice here, too.  Sjoblom’s band mates get their chance to shine here, too. Guitarist David Zackrisson, drummer Magnus Ostgren and bassist Robert Hansen play like a well oiled machine throughout the song’s five and a half minute run time.    

Fans of Dream Theater will enjoy ‘This Matter of Mine.’  Zackrisson’s guitar work is similar to that of Dream Theater’s John Petrucci here.  And Ostgren’s work behind the kit is as strong as former DT drummer Mike Portnoy.  That being noted, it’s no wonder why Portnoy himself recently sang the praises of this band on his own Facebook page.  For all the intensity of the band’s new album, there is a lighter moment.  ‘Seventeed Again’ is an interesting little piano based prog/jazz hybrid that will keep any listener’s ear despite its near eight minute run time.

Fans of really classic rock and classic prog rock will also find themselves jamming out to ‘He Already Lives In You.’  There are hints of so many classic prog acts in this song that it will leave listeners’ heads spinning.  Whether for this song or any of the others on this album, it goes without saying that Beardfish may very well have another of this year’s sleeper hits.  “The Void” is available now in stores and online.  The band is currently slated to perform in Tallinn, Estonia on October 7th.  To keep up with the latest tour dates and news from Beardfish, fans can go online to http://www.beardfishband.com, http://www.facebook.com/beardfish, http://twitter.com/beardfishband, http://www.myspace.com/beardfishband, and http://www.youtube.com/user/beardfishband.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.