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I’m not going to go on about how great 2012 was for music, because everyone of my co-writers has already done that and then some. There’s no denying it was great, so let’s just move on. I’m writing this list pretty last minute, as I’ve had my choices locked in for some time, and I thought, “Hey, I’m not confused about anything, so I can push it back as far as possible”, and that was a terrible idea, as I’m now scrambling to get this thing finished, and having a hard time really talking about why I like these albums. However, I was the one who reviewed a lot of these, so if you find what I have to say on each individual one lacking, just go read  my review or the reviews of the other albums written by my fellow contributors.

Honestly though, I did not love 2012 as much as everyone else. Maybe it was the events in my personal life that caused me to have such a poor outlook on a lot of the earlier releases of the year, but it’s hard to deny the fact that I just did not connect with nearly as many metal releases this year as I did last year. It’s a shame, but not something I’ve overly thought about, because I’ve found other music to enjoy throughout the year. That being said, I did happen to find a good handful of great albums that I anticipate listening to for many years. Like I said, I’ve had my choices for my list picked out for some time, and that’s because I knew which albums I loved, and which albums I wanted to continually listen to for many years to come. I wasn’t wowed by a lot of the big name bands; I found Meshuggah and Gojira lacking a bit, which were two of my my anticipated albums of this year, but that’s okay. Sometimes you just can’t connect with certain albums. And even  though metal wasn’t all that great for me this year, I still love the genre, and it’s still my favorite type of music to listen to. Anyways, that’s why I listen to metal, and that’s really all I have to say on the matter, so here’s my top ten albums of the year.

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Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud

Devin Townsend Project

Epicloud

01. Effervescent!
02. True North
03. Lucky Animals
04. Liberation
05. Where We Belong
06. Save Our Now
07. Kingdom
08. Divine
09. Grace
10. More!
11. Lessons
12. Hold On
13. Angel

[09/18/12]
[InsideOut Music]

Devin Townsend has returned with the fifth album under his current solo moniker; the Devin Townsend Project. Over the past three years Devy has expanded into a wide array of musical soundscapes, pushing his repertoire into unexplored territories, as well as expanding on the styles and sounds that have made him a hit. While it will be startling for some, Epicloud should not be taken as an indication of where Townsend is going in his career. It is just another passing whim of his; a bombastic and catchy record, filled to the brim with some of the best pop metal you will ever find.

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Good news, British readers! You’re the first to take part in the Epicloud preorder bananza. Devin Townsend Project‘s upcoming pop metal record is now available for pre-order through O-Merch and Bandstores.co.uk. There’s the standard CD and shirt orders, but there is vinyl available (in both black and colored) as well as a digipak bundle that comes with a compass. Pretty cool stuff. Go check it out.

Century Media’s proprietary storefront CM Distro will likely have North American pre-order bundles available soon. We’ll be sure to point you that way when you can throw your money their way. Epicloud is due out September 25th on Inside Out Music! As a reminder, you have til the end of the month to enter to be in Devin’s new video for ‘Lucky Animals.’ Check out the details here.

- JR

Epicloud has been teased endlessly over the last few months and finally, today, we get our first real insight into the album as a whole in the form of the above teaser video which contains snippets of every track. Dev was right when he compared this outing to Queen, it’s definitely got that majestic and orchestral grandiose feel to it, but also in tracks like ‘More!‘, ‘Grace‘ and the re-recording of ‘Kingdom‘ there’s allusions to his heavier material. Just based on these short snippets, it’s looking like this may be the most general and broad Townsend release in quite a while as the ‘theme’ sounds a little more accepting of both bombastic crunch and introspective calm, but regardless of overarching themes, it naturally sounds great. Roll on September.

- DL

This news is a bit old, but I was away at a thing, so it’s time to play catch-up. As always, Devin Townsend‘s #1 update spot has been Twitter. You would know that if you had a Twitter account and followed him. I keep telling you man; it’s worth it! Here are the highlights from last week:

In the tail end of a challenging record. My brain hurts. Epicloud: Initially an ‘in between’ idea to bridge the 4 last albums and Z2…a way to satisfy my recent craving for melodic hard rock. It became an epic experiment. Way more intense and demanding than I expected. Experiments in all ways of making records. Democracy, mix… It’s beautiful, [melancholic], loud, and ‘detached’ in an experimental way… wanted to make something ‘larger than life.’ Any way you slice it, it’s beautiful… and even as an ‘interim’ idea, it stands unique among things I’ve done, and as something very special. Oh, and…it’s freaking Epic!! I’d say mixture of melodic parts of Ocean Machine, Rocking bits like Addicted, simplicity in parts like Accelerated, but more dynamic…and I tried to mix it so you could crank it up.

My Dev’s own account, the record should be fantastic. Needless to say, we can’t wait. Shouldn’t be too long of a wait though, as he gave us this update at the beginning of the week:

Last round with Epicloud before leaving on tour. It’s beat my ass, but I have every intention of showing it the door today. Delivery weds!

So by now, the fully mixed record should be in the hands of the label. We should get some more updates once the release publicity cycle kicks in over the next month or so. Get excited! Devin estimates that the record will be out this September on InsideOut/Hevy Devy Records.

– JR

This past weekend, good ol’ Devin Townsend played a special acoustic set in Ottawa. According to YouTube user TheMsxc, he closed the show with a new song called ‘Back Where We Belong.’ Luckily, the dude had enough sense to grab his phone and share it with the world! You can watch the video above.

Obviously, we can’t wait to hear the studio version. This makes us that much more excited for Epicloud, which is expected out around September on HevyDevy Records/InsideOut Music.

– JR

The prospect of new Devin Townsend material is always welcome here at Heavy Blog, but in particular, I’m really excited to hear to Epicloud. Mostly because… Well I’ll let the man himself tell you:

If I was to equate it to anything: A touch of Queen, a bit of the movie ‘Titanic’, some Def Leppard, with crushing guitars and drums through.

Yeah, exactly. The sheer prospect of Devin taking on a sound akin to Queen and Def Leppard suggests a classic in the making and now we finally have a release date of September following a back and forth over Twitter. Whilst we’ve kept you abreast (stop laughing) of all the details including the fact that it takes place under the Devin Townsend Project moniker, the addition of strings and horns and even the tracklisting — you can bet that this won’t be the last you’ll hear of it. Dev seems to have got this build up of excitement towards release dates down to a tee, by slowly releasing information through Twitter directly to the fans and it certainly works for me. Here’s to hoping the next piece of info will be a new track stream!

– DL

I keep saying it, but it bears repeating: Devin Townsend is the reason you guys need to be on Twitter! He’s dropping news like change over there, which is great, because that direct accessibility means a lot more than press releases (not that there’s anything wrong with press releases). Just yesterday, we posted that Devin had given us a quick update on how the fifth Devin Townsend Project record Epicloud was coming along. Now we’ve been given a tracklist!

Taurus
Animals
Liberation
Back Where We Belong
Save Our Now
Kingdom
Divine
Grace
More!
Heatwave
Hold On
Angels

It looks like the standard edition will include the 12 tracks listed above. Devin had mentioned previously that 14 had been recorded, so it’s assumed that these other tracks will be possible bonus tracks on certain editions, or something along those lines. As you may have noticed, Devin did follow through and a new re-recorded version of ‘Kingdom‘ will be on Epicloud, much like ‘Hyperdrive’ was re-done for Addicted. Here’s what Devin had to say about it:

Yeah, we re-did Kingdom because it’s a live set staple, and so much better now [than] the Physicist recording, imo.

Exciting news! As always, we’ll be your Devy middle-men if you’re too stubborn to get a twitter account!

– JR

Let’s do away with all the needless buildup of trying to wax eloquent and get to the point: Devin Townsend took to Twitter earlier this week to give us all an update on his new pop metal record, Epicloud:

Drums for Epicloud DONE! The bionic RVP strikes again!!!! 14 songs for this monster! An epic selection of songs, really inspired and pure. Epicloud is the ‘in-between’ DTP and Z2, While writing Z2, I purged 20 epic, poppy, [proggy], ‘Dev Leppard’ type things…I love it. Been holding in my love of melody in lieu of being ‘metal’, but decided to ‘let ‘er rip’ before the next Ziltoid… so liberating.

Excellent! Perhaps we’ll be able to hear it later this year if things are already coming along so quickly. The group took promotional photos recently as well, so perhaps Epicloud is just around the corner. The super poppy sound of Epicloud as Devin described are exactly how I expected it to go, and with Anneke van Giersbergen on board again, it should be a nice follow-up of Addicted!

But the most exciting part for me is that Epicloud will be a Devin Townsend Project release! DTP was thought (and intended) to be concluded with the four already released albums, but…

oh yeah, fwiw… it’s still under the DTP moniker. The logo is way too cool to ditch :)

I’m so beyond excited for this that it can’t be healthy. :3

As always, we’ll keep a sharp eye on our favorite Canuck and pass on any news that comes out.

– JR

I think I’ve sung the praises of Townsend enough for you guys, so instead this time I’m just going to direct your attention to a recent interview the man underwent with Noisecreep.  In it the man discusses the upcoming By A Thread release, Epicloud, Ziltoid, and his current touring plans. For those too lazy to read the full thing, I’ve taken it upon myself to give you all the rundown on the things discussed:

- He’s submitted the audio mixes for By A Thread.
– The cover art for By A Thread is done.
– The shows will be released on 10 discs; 4 DVDs and 4 audio discs (one for each night), a disc of bonus footage, and a disc for the encores.
– The encores will feature songs from Ghost 2, Devin’s back catalog, and songs from Punky Brüster.
– Devin Townsend Project has five dates from February 25th to March 5th in Australia coming up during the Soundwave Festival.
– After the final Australian date, Townsend will began recording drums for the upcoming Epicloud release.
– Describes Epicloud as new agey, jazzy stuff.
– First record he feels comfortable featuring a wide array of emotions on.
– Will feature a gospel choir, string section, and a horn section.
– Townsend’s October 27th concert at the London Roundhouse, The Retinal Circus: The Devil Townsend Project is already sold out.
– The concert will feature a full orchestra and circus performers.
– The DTP are set to headline the sidestage at this years Download festival
– Devin plans to do the Ziltoid musical in London, like the aforementioned Retinal Circus, and By A Thread release.

Welp, that’s all for now. As always, we’ll keep you updated if anything else is announced. Cheers!

– EC

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