This could probably be one of the best live albums of 2020, as Empath Live Volume 1, truly is an epic live album indeed, it contains two hours of metal/rock escapism of the highest standards. Devin Townsend is one of the greatest showman in the rock/metal business and “his” ten-piece band with a.o. Morgan Ågren (drums), Mike Keneally (guitars), Markus Reuter (guitars) and bass player Nathan Navarro, are at the top of their game.
Townsend plays songs from his entire discography with his unique sound, and from the first note you hear, knowing that it is DT, does the final trick. This amazing album opens joyously with the reggae-like Borderlands. Follow up and Yes-like prog song Evermore is even better, while the audience participation during Why? is simply stunning. Townsend's massive vocals are always very distinctive and truly amazing, especially during the Devin Townsend Band “classic” song Deadhead. Lucky Animals is an almost absurd song while Castaway/Genesis is utterly sprawling. The latter is followed by the heart-breaking and emotional piano ballad Spirits Will Collide. The first encore is a cover of The Tramps hit Disco Inferno, featuring very soulful vocals of Che Aimee Dorval, before the show ends with the bombastic song Kingdom.
Maybe this is the ultimate Townsend live performance, as the setlist is truly amazing, offering the listener a very diverse musical journey indeed. My personal advice: buy or die!!!
****+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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