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Devin Townsend - Acoustically Inclined Live in Leeds Award winner

Devin Townsend
Acoustically Inclined Live In Leeds
by Chris Hawkins at 05 April 2021, 10:16 AM

The inimitable legacy of DEVIN TOWNSEND has been solidified as indisputable fact as the artist has released a slew of stunningly creative albums from his work with STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, his solo material, and even that first wild album he did with STEVE VAIDEVIN TOWNSEND paints music with the most unique of brushes drawing influence from a solid Heavy Metal upbringing and the adventurous spirit of musical giants such as FRANK ZAPPA. Totally unrivalled and original, there are no limits to his endeavors.  The new live album was recorded while touring for his most ambitious album to date, “Empath”.  It is an incredibly intimate performance sure to make any fan envious of those lucky to be in attendance.

The album opens with an “Intro” which is literally DEVIN joking with the audience while he tunes his guitar.  What immediately surprised me was that there is no background band, just DEVIN, his guitar, and a microphone.  This is all solidly set into motion with a rendition of “Let it Roll” from the “Terria” album.  “Terria” was such a powerful moment, the earth album dedicated to his beloved Canada.

Funeral” from the OCEAN MACHINE album follows.  This is a song that sounds made to be played in such an intimate acoustic setting.  Haunting would be the most fitting description for this rendition.  Next is the track “Deadhead” from “Accelerated Evolution,” another phenomenal album, and one that is nonetheless emotionally heavy.

To be perfectly honest, even as a huge DEVIN TOWNSEND fan, I was not super stoked about this record.  Yes, it was the acoustic label.  I cannot deny what I am, a true metalhead at heart so yes, my excitement wanted a bit initially.  That is, until I listened to the album.  This is a record to lose yourself in, be it over a steaming cup of coffee on a rainy afternoon or with whatever vice you care to indulge in.

The production is perhaps as crisp as I have yet heard in an acoustic recording.  From the steady pulse of “Ih-Ah” from the “Addicted” album, a compelling version of a track proving his Pop sensibilities, to the darkly daunting version of STRAPPING YOUNG LAD song “Love?” that follows, it is a wide, expansive sound with superb fidelity.  It is also distinctly DEVIN.

That last part ties it all together.  Only DEVIN could take such a breadth of material, strip it to its very essence, and yet uplift it to a new vaulted form.  Hearing acoustic versions of these songs are like a private window into how the songs were originally composed.  This is nothing short of a masterful performance: personal, funny, emotive, and everything in between.  If only we were able to give decimal scores, I would give this album a 9.5!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Let it Roll
3. Funeral
4. Deadhead
5. Ih-Ah
6. Love?
7. Terminal
8. Coast
9. Solar Winds
10. Things Beyond Things 
Devin Townsend - Vocals, Guitar
Record Label: Inside Out Music


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Edited 18 April 2021

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