"Epicloud", the next album from Canadian musician/producer Devin Townsend to be released under the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT banner, will be made available on September 18 in North America and September 24 in Europe via InsideOut Music. The CD features a guest appearance by former THE GATHERING frontwoman and previous Devin collaborator Anneke Van Giersbergen.
The first taste of "Epicloud", featuring the album's intro, "Effervescent!", is available in the YouTube clip below. Also available is the CD's cover artwork.
Commented Devin: "This record is unique to me in that I became interested in simpler, commercial structures based on (I suppose) a reaction to [the previous the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT albums] 'Deconstruction' and 'Ghost'. I admit, it's not too far removed, but far enough to take a few people off guard, I think.
"With 'Epicloud', I wanted something catchy as the flu, but with a sentiment that is romantic, positive and beautiful. Spiritual without religion and set to heavy music.
"Again, because some structures are 'common' (but new to me), this record is my take on what a big, epic, commercial sounding record that sings about nice stuff would sound like in Dev-land. Please don't take it as a 'sell-out' move, because it truly surprised me as well and is a 'transition' between the four DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT records and my upcoming musical, 'Z2'."
Townsend debuted a song from "Epicloud" called "Back Where We Belong" during an acoustic performance on March 31 at Club Saw in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada as part of this year's Junofest.
The idea for "Epicloud" came about while Devin was attempting to write material for the follow-up to his 2007 "Ziltoid The Omniscient" concept album about a fictional extraterrestrial being named Ziltoid from the planet Ziltoidia 9.
In a recent interview with Soundwave TV, Devin stated about how "Epicloud" was conceived, "In this sort of process of writing that I've discovered that I guess I'm capable of now, with a sober frame of mind, part of that is just not second-guessing it, so if I write something like that, I just do it, and just finish it."
He continued, "Over the past couple of years, I thought, 'OK, I've gotta write this next 'Ziltoid' thing; I'm inspired to make this epic space opera and, like, really overdo it, and [make it] really dark. And so I sat down to write, but every time I went to write, I'd write some poppy hard rock thing. And I was like, 'OK, we'll get that one out of the way and then I'll write 'Ziltoid'.' And I got it out of the way and I'd go write 'Ziltoid'. And I'd write another one. So I'm thinking, 'OK, it's pretty obvious to me that I've got this that wants to come out before that.'"
Regarding the musical direction of "Epicloud", Devin told Noisecreep, "Over the course of the full record, there's sort of new agey stuff, jazzy stuff, really heavy stuff. We basically cover the gamut. 'Epicloud' is the first record that I felt confident enough to include all those things on one record so it goes between melodic hard rock to schizophrenic heavy metal to country to really ambient stuff and it's all in one place. I'm using a gospel choir, a string section and a horn section for this one as well. On [the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT album] 'Deconstruction', I got to use the Prague Philharmonic [orchestra] and really go far into making an absurd album as over the top as possible and on 'Epicloud' I'm trying to take the same advantages to make some things musically very pleasing, as opposed to just claustrophobic."
On the topic of his decision to re-record "Kingdom", a song from his PHYSICIST album, which came out in 2000 on Townsend's label, HevyDevy Records, Devin said, "We re-did 'Kingdom' because it's a live set staple, and so much better now than the PHYSICIST recording."