Episode 403: Spirit Adrift, Devin Townsend, Haunt 2019 Album Reviews + Zan Bandcamp Pick

Preemptive Strike

We decided to a get a jump on our regular January listening.  Instead of picking some random stuff to review, we looked at some year-end lists and picked some albums we missed from earlier this year.  Will any change our own pending year-end lists? Maybe…


Spirit Adrift – Divided by Darkness (20 Buck Spin)
Devin Townsend – Empath (Inside Out)
Haunt If Icarus Could Fly (Shadow Kingdom)

Z is for



  1. So you are 100% correct about Spirit Adrift but are 100% wrong about Devin Townsend. And I’m now going to spend 100% of my time defending Devin Townsend.

    You are certainly not wrong to have less than favorable opinions about Devin Townsend’s recent music, as I can agree that his style isn’t for everyone and I can understand how anyone could grow tired of his “schtick”. But I have to call out Nick for some of the specific things that were said about Empath because I get the impression that Nick listened to about one and a half songs on the album, looked ahead to see that there was a 11 minute and a 23 minute song and then just gave up. If you’d have listened past the second song (not counting the intro), you’d have discovered some of the most diverse, unique, and moving music that Hevy Devy has ever crafted.

    Empath has the atmospheric electronica of “Sprite”, the heaviest death metal song he’s written since Strapping Young Lad in “Hear Me”, the Broadway-esque nature of “Why?”, an incredibly catchy hook in “Borderlands”, and the summation of everything he’s done in “Singularity”. Are all those styles for everyone? Certainly not. But what I can’t agree with is that the whole album sounds like the song “Grace” from 2012’s Epicloud. Empath certainly doesn’t have a “big female chorus on every single song.” Are you sure you were listening to Empath and not Z2/Sky Blue from 2014 or Transcendence from 2016? Those previous two releases did in fact lean too much towards his signature “wall of sound” to the point where Transcendence grew a bit stale. But I think your impressions from those two previous albums colored your opinion of Empath, as further listening reveals those initial impressions to not be the case. I can understand how 74 minutes of Hevy Devy might be too much to take in a single listen, as Empath is one of those albums that rewards repeated listening and stands as one of Devin Townsend’s finest achievements.

    1. I’ll let Nick defend his specific points, but for me, it’s just too much, like, of everything. It is diverse, unique, and moving in the sense it is definitely personal. However, there was NO restraint and the writing was not fluid. The album was a chore to get through. “Hear Me” certainly channeled SYL and there was plenty of the great parts to the album but as a whole, it’s not something I can get into. I’d say it’s. 2.5 probably…there’s talent in there but the end product is not an album I’ll revisit. – Brian

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