Empath (album)

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Empath
Devin Townsend Empath cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 29, 2019 (2019-03-29)
Recorded2018
GenreProgressive metal
Length74:08
LabelInside Out, HevyDevy
ProducerDevin Townsend
Devin Townsend chronology
Transcendence
(2016)
Empath
(2019)
Devin Townsend solo chronology
Dark Matters
(2014)
Empath
(2019)
Singles from Empath
  1. "Genesis"
    Released: February 22, 2019
  2. "Evermore"
    Released: March 15, 2019
  3. "Spirits Will Collide"
    Released: March 29, 2019
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic84/100[1]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Consequence of SoundB+[3]
Exclaim!8/10[4]
Metal Injection9.5/10[5]
MetalSucks5/5 stars[6]
Sputnikmusic4.5/5[7]

Empath is the eighteenth studio album by Canadian metal musician Devin Townsend, released on his own label HevyDevy Records on March 29, 2019. It is his first solo album since Dark Matters, which was a part of the 2014 double album , and his first release to act solely as a solo album since 2007's Ziltoid the Omniscient.

Production[edit]

On January 31, 2018, Townsend announced on his Facebook page that he was taking a break from the Devin Townsend Project, which had been his main project since 2008, although 2014 saw the release of both , a dual release acting as both a solo album and a Devin Townsend Project album, and Casualties of Cool, by Townsend's eponymous country rock duo; this made Empath Townsend's first release to act solely as a solo album since Ziltoid the Omniscient in 2007, and the first not to be a concept album since his 2006 ambient album The Hummer.[8]

Townsend first mentioned Empath in a tweet from January 1, 2017.[9] Two years later, on January 15, 2019, Townsend officially announced the album, on which work had already been completed, with a March 29, 2019 release date.[10]

A statement on his official Facebook page stated about the origins of the album:

On this album Devin has decided to see what would happen if all the styles that make up his current interests were finally represented in one place. To finally shake the fear of expectation, and just do what it is he was meant to do creatively, EMPATH, true to the name, is about allowing the audience a feeling for a variety of musical emotions. The musical dynamics represented on this single album are broad, challenging, and immense. To approach this sort of work with a long history of what makes heavy music ‘heavy’, allows this to be done with a type of power rarely heard."[11][12]

It was also described as "A bold statement with massive production values and dynamic, uncompromised musicality. This is a statement about not only pursuing creative freedom in a conservative scene, but also trying to show that heavy music is truly a valid musical tool."[11] Guest performers include former Frank Zappa collaborators Mike Keneally, Morgan Ågren and Steve Vai, as well as Samus Paulicelli from Decrepit Birth, Anup Sastry, Chad Kroeger, Townsend's regular collaborator Anneke van Giersbergen, Ché Aimee Dorval (who had worked with Townsend on Casualties of Cool), Elliot Desgagnés from Beneath The Massacre, and Ryan Dahle.[11][12]

A series of documentary videos detailing the making of Empath has been released on YouTube.[13]

On February 22, 2019, the first single from the album, "Genesis", was released. A corresponding video was also debuted that complemented the song's intricate style.[14] On March 15, 2019, a second single titled "Evermore" was released; an accompanying music video was made for the single, which features a 2D animated cat flying through space.[15]

Release[edit]

Empath was released on March 29, 2019. Editions include a limited 2-CD digipak with a disc of bonus material, a gatefold 180g 2-LP vinyl + CD + LP booklet edition.[11][12]

Critical response[edit]

Wall of Sound gave the album a perfect score of 10/10, writing: "Devin's need for deeper creative expression has resulted in one of the year's most memorable works".[16]

Angry Metal Guy contributor GardensTale gave Empath a score of 4.0/5.0, calling it "...the most Devin album Devin ever recorded." [17]

MP3s and NPCs writer Terrance Pryor listed the album at number four on their Top Albums of 2019 list, stating, "With Empath, Devin Townsend pushed himself to the limits in terms of production, and the end result is a 74-minute tidal wave of sound." [18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Devin Townsend unless otherwise noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Castaway"2:28
2."Genesis"6:05
3."Spirits Will Collide"4:39
4."Evermore"5:30
5."Sprite"6:37
6."Hear Me"6:30
7."Why?"4:59
8."Borderlands"11:02
9."Requiem"2:46
10."Singularity"
  • "I. Adrift"
  • "II. I Am I"
  • "III. There Be Monsters"
  • "IV. Curious Gods" (co-written by Mike Keneally and Morgan Ågren)
  • "V. Silicon Scientists"
  • "VI. Here Comes the Sun!"
23:33
  • 5:00
  • 3:29
  • 4:37
  • 3:08
  • 2:55
  • 4:23
  • Total length:74:08

    Personnel[edit]

    • Devin Townsend – lead vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, programming, production
    • Nathan Navarro – bass ("Genesis", "Evermore", "Why?", "Borderlands")
    • Morgan Ågren – drums ("Genesis", "Sprite", "Why?", "Borderlands", "Curious Gods", "Empath", "Summer")
    • Samus "66Samus" Paulicelli – drums ("Genesis", "Hear Me", "There Be Monsters", "Gulag", "Middle Aged Man", "Total Collapse")
    • Anup Sastry – drums ("Genesis", "Spirits Will Collide", "Evermore", "Borderlands", "I Am I", "Silicon Scientists", "Here Comes the Sun!", "King", "The Waiting Kind", "Singularity")
    • Elliot Desgagnés – additional vocals ("Genesis", "Spirits Will Collide", "Evermore", "Sprite", "There Be Monsters")
    • Ché Aimee Dorval – additional vocals ("Genesis", "Borderlands", "Why?")
    • Anneke van Giersbergen – additional vocals ("Hear Me", "Here Comes the Sun!", "King")
    • Chad Kroeger – additional vocals ("Hear Me")
    • Josefa Torres - additional vocals ("Sprite")
    • Ron Getgood - additional vocals (spoken intro on "Sprite")
    • Reyne Townsend - additional vocals
    • Ryan Dahle – additional guitars ("Borderlands")
    • Steve Vai – additional guitars ("Here Comes the Sun!")
    • Shaun Verreault - pedal steel
    • Elektra Women's Choir – choir
    • Callum Marinho - whistles
    • Mike Keneally – additional guitars, keyboards, co-production
    • Adam "Nolly" Getgood – producer, engineering

    Charts[edit]

    Chart (2019) Peak
    position
    Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 10
    Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[20] 21
    Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[21] 39
    Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[22] 72
    Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[23] 21
    Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[24] 2
    French Albums (SNEP)[25] 60
    German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[26] 12
    Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[27] 40
    Scottish Albums (OCC)[28] 13
    Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[29] 60
    Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 9
    UK Albums (OCC)[31] 23
    US Billboard 200[32] 169

    References[edit]

    1. ^ "Empath by Devin Townsend".
    2. ^ "Empath - Devin Townsend". AllMusic. 2019.
    3. ^ "Devin Townsend's Glorious Sonically-Schizoid Journey Continues on Empath". Consequence of Sound. March 26, 2019.
    4. ^ "Devin Townsend: Empath". Exclaim!. March 29, 2019.
    5. ^ "Album Review: DEVIN TOWNSEND Empath".
    6. ^ "Album Review: Devin Townsend Achieves Enlightenment with Empath". MetalSucks. March 27, 2019.
    7. ^ "Devin Townsend - Empath (album review ) | Sputnikmusic". www.sputnikmusic.com.
    8. ^ "Devin Townsend". facebook.com. Archived from the original on May 6, 2018. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
    9. ^ Townsend, Devin (1 January 2017). "Seems like a bunch of ideas want to be together... I think I'll call whatever this ends up being 'Empath'". Twitter. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
    10. ^ "DEVIN TOWSEND Announces Empath Release Date, Announces Mini-Docuseries". Metal Injection. 2019-01-16. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
    11. ^ a b c d "DEVIN TOWNSEND announces new album 'Empath'". Retrieved 2019-01-16 – via Facebook.
    12. ^ a b c "DEVIN TOWNSEND To Release 'Empath' Album In March; Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
    13. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 2019-01-16 – via YouTube.
    14. ^ brownypaul (2019-02-23). "Watch Devin Townsend's bullshit good video for 'Genesis'". Wall of Sound. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
    15. ^ "Devin Townsend Releases Sweet N' Silly New Song + Video, "Evermore"". MetalSucks. March 15, 2019.
    16. ^ walladmin (2019-03-17). "Devin Townsend – Empath (Album Review)". Wall of Sound. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
    17. ^ GardensTale (2019-03-26). "Devin Townsend – Empath (Album Review)". Angry Metal Guy. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
    18. ^ Pryor, Terrance. "The top 10 albums of 2019". MP3s and NPCs. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
    19. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. April 8, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
    20. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Devin Townsend – Empath" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
    21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Devin Townsend – Empath" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
    22. ^ "Ultratop.be – Devin Townsend – Empath" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
    23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Devin Townsend – Empath" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
    24. ^ "Devin Townsend: Empath" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
    25. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes – SNEP (Week 14, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Archived from the original on April 22, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
    26. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Devin Townsend – Empathy" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
    27. ^ "VG-lista – Topp 40 Album uke 14, 2019". VG-lista. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
    28. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
    29. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 14: del 28.3.2019 al 4.4.2019" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
    30. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Devin Townsend – Empath". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
    31. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
    32. ^ "Devin Townsend Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 9, 2019.