Devin Townsend Project
Ocean Machine:Live At The Ancient Roman Theatre, Plovdiv
Release Date: 06/07/2018
Running Time: 157:43
Review by Beth Jones
Before I start this review, I will let you all know that I am incredibly biased about DTP as I think that Devin Townsend is something of a god amongst men. I am a huge fan of anything and everything he creates.
Disclaimers aside, I was so looking forward to the release of this live album. The recording for this was carried out at a special performance on 22nd September 2017 at Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre, Bulgaria. A friend of mine was at this gig and had said that the whole thing, in the setting it was, had moved him to tears it was so mind blowing, and he is not a crier, so I knew it was going to be something pretty special.
I was not disappointed!
You know when Devin is involved, you are going to get a good show, and listening to this album I found myself imagining how magnificent it must have been to listen to all these spectacular tracks being played in such a dramatic setting. The first section of the album is a selection of classics, requested by the fans, and accompanied by the Orchestra and Choir of the Plovdiv State Opera, then the second section is the iconic “Ocean Machine” album, in its entirety, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its release! What’s not to like!
“Ocean Machine” is, for me, one of the best albums Devin has ever made, and this performance of it was something very special. Devin himself said about the performance:
“Plovdiv and this live package represents a lot to me, it signifies the end of one era, and the celebration of another. Amidst a gruelling touring year, this show came together with much blood, sweat, and tears, and the result is the culmination of many aspects of my work on one stage.
Ocean Machine was released 20 years ago, and though Marty (drums) is no longer with us, I was able to finally perform the album in its entirety with the original bassist John ‘Squid’ Harder on this night. On a cold evening in an old city in the ancient theatre, many lifelong milestones came to a conclusion on this night and I’m exceptionally proud of it.”
And so he should be. This album is epic in many ways, not least its length. The main thing that bowled me over is the sound – it is immense – so full of dynamics and power, it is amazing that the amphitheatre is still standing – but also so full of serenity, so rich and impeccably balanced that nothing sounded wrong or out of place. On a live album, this is masterful.
The passion and perfection that Devin brings to all his music transposes so well to a live setting that you sometimes forget that this is a live album. The artists he chooses to work with are also some of the finest musicians currently, and they really get Devin’s vision and help him interpret it stunningly, and the sustained energy throughout this epic performance was astonishing, invigorating and tangibly electric.
It totally blew my mind and all I could do was sit and listen in awe to this most beautiful and inspiring music. You cannot help but let it in to your soul – stunning track after stunning track executed with flawless magnificence. I would have given all my limbs to have been there and experienced that. Everything, even down to the album artwork, is exquisite. If you don’t listen to anything else ever, listen to this album. Trust me on this, you will not regret it.
It is very sad that DTP has come to an end, and that fact made this performance almost bittersweet, with an air of nostalgic melancholy, but as always with Devin, this is just the end of one chapter and the start of the next. Empath, Devin’s next solo project, is due for release at the end of March 2019 and will see him work with some more absolute greats. I have it pre-ordered already! I cannot wait to see where he takes things next. This man is my absolute idol.
I wanted to turn the scoring up to 11 on this, because this album is so worth more than a 10/10, but Rick is a hard man to bargain with, so I had to stick to the 10!
(This album is also available on DVD/Blu-Ray)
By Request Set with Orchestra
05. By Your Command
09. Bad Devil
11. A Simple Lullaby
12. Deep Peace
01. Seventh Wave
04. Hide Nowhere
06. 3 A.M.
07. Voices in the Fan
12. The Death of Music
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.