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Townsend, Devin: Devolution Series - Acoustically Inclined - Live In Leeds

A true chameleon, Devin Townsend has been everything from extreme metal mayhem maker and progressive rock pioneer, right through to what he is here, an acoustic emotion revealer. Live In Leeds, which has been remastered from the version first available in the Ultimate Edition of Empath, is the first in a set of releases that Townsend describes as being “oddities and interesting material” that he’d like people to hear without them being considered full releases proper. And it would be fair to suggest that if they are all as intriguing and engaging as what he’s revealed here, then the Devolution Series is going to be a campaign to keep an eye on.

Recorded in 2019, this show was billed as ‘An Evening With Devin Townsend’, with the tour being a series of one-man events featuring the man himself in solo-acoustic mode, before going on to take a question and answer session that - thankfully if Townsend’s tongue in cheek comment about how awkward they were is anything to go by - isn’t included here. However, that doesn’t stop the intimate feel from coming over, the on stage chat heartfelt and humorous, while the banter between performer and audience is genuine and fun, even if it can become really rather tiresome after a few listens as it truly does break up the mood and flow of the show somewhat.

That, however, is a minor complaint, because the performance itself is pretty much spellbinding, with the honesty of the songs perfectly matching the introductory descriptions their writer gives them. Interestingly, given that these tracks weren’t originally envisioned in this style, Townsend makes little concession in terms of his vocal approach, where howls and near growls sit naturally alongside some spine-tingling clean vocals in a way that few live albums - or performers - would even attempt. “Deadhead” is arguably the best example of this attack but with material such as “Hyperdrive”, “Terminal” and “Coast” equally diverse, the scope of what Townsend achieves is clear and hugely rewarding - and that’s without mentioning the stunning guitar work on display throughout. Although it may be the marvellous “Ih-Ah!” which steals the show in this format.

It isn’t clear as to what comes next in the Devolution Series but with this release setting the standard it’s sure to be a hell of a ride. That said, you never quite know what to expect from Devin Townsend and in itself, that goes a long way to explaining why he’s such a respected performer - if you need proof as to why, you’ll find it right here.

Track Listing
1. Intro
2. Let it Roll
3. Funeral 
4. Deadhead
5. Ih-Ah!
6. Love?
7. Hyperdrive
8. Terminal
9. Coast
10. Solar Winds
11. Thing Beyond Things 

Added: May 9th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: HevyDevy online
Hits: 398
Language: english

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