Devin Townsend will release ‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ on the 23rd October 2020, a document of his Winter 2019 European tour that saw him taking on possibly his most ambitious live show to date.
Recorded in December 2019 in London, UK on the penultimate night of the tour in support of his latest album ‘Empath’, this run of shows saw Devin joined by an incredible line-up of musicians. The band was made up of guitarists Mike Kenneally (ex-Frank Zappa) and Markus Reuter (Stick Men, The Crimson Project), drummer Morgen Agren (Kaipa, Mats & Morgan, Frank Zappa), bassist Nathan Navarro, Haken keyboard player Diego Tejeida, and guitarist/vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval, as well as vocalists Samantha & Anne Preis and Arabella Packford.
Devin’s plan for the Empath touring cycle was to divide it up into three ‘Volumes’, and this was Volume 1. The idea behind the shows was a simple one: none of the backing tapes or click tracks that had long been necessary to bring the kaleidoscopic cacophony in his head and on his records to life in the flesh. This would just be Devin Townsend and a band of genius-level musicians getting up there and trying to keep it from spinning off into outer space. Or maybe just letting it spin-off into outer space for the sheer hell of it.
The whole objective was that I wanted to make that statement: This is by the seat our pants. Because it’s important to me to represent this hyper anal-retentive music that I’ve made over the years, but in a human way. Rather than it just being, ‘Well, here it is, perfectly done.’
I was overwhelmed by the fact that all these brilliant people that I have so much respect for were willing to come together and play this weird shit with me. I had these unique players and this interesting instrumentation that allowed us to interpret the music in different ways. It was clear to me that I could just have fun and be me and know that they would be effortlessly be able to follow that.
‘Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1’ will be released as a Limited Deluxe 2CD+Blu-Ray+DVD Artbook (including expanded artwork & photos), Limited 2CD+DVD Digipak, Standalone Blu-Ray, Gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box-set & as a Digital Album. The Blu-Ray disc includes a bonus behind the scenes documentary, and both DVD & Blu-Ray feature a 5.1 surround sound mix. Out on October 23rd via InsideOut Music.
Chances are, you’ll already know if you’re going to love this album or not. If you were one of the lucky ones in attendance at the Roundhouse (one of London’s best venues) or are just a sucker for the musical genius’ output.
Here, we get an unfiltered and very ‘real’ album of 16 songs from that night in December 2019. Recorded to give it that feeling of being there and something that sounds exhausting for both Devin, his guests and the audience.
Adding to that feel of ‘being there’ a lot of the tracks capture the banter and jam style that was so prominent. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound super-tight. That would be impossible considering who is involved.
Adding to the enjoyment is just how loud and willing to take part the live crowd is. Many big singalongs, a non-stop cacophony of cheers, a clear showing of how much fun they were having.
Personally, a lot of the track listing isn’t quite my Devin taste and I’m really not sure about the variation on Spirits Will Collide, even if it is still spectacularly sweet. However, there’s no denying the brilliance of this show and that’s just based off hearing this live recording. It’s hard to even let a negative thought enter the mind while listening.
As Devin announces in the opening track “by the end of the night we will be doing the macarena”. Such is the positivity that flows from this exceptional live release. Circumstances has meant Volume 2 of the Empath tour has been delayed but until then, at least we have the memories to enjoy.
Devin Townsend – Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1 Full Track Listing:
5. Gigpig Jam
8. Heavens End
9. Ain’t Never Gonna Win
12. Lucky Animals
14. Spirits Will Collide
15. Disco Inferno
Devin Townsend - Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1 (InsideOutMusic)
The Final Score - 8.5/10