Canadian singer-songwriter, musician and producer, Devin Townsend, recently released a reimagined live version of his 1998 song “War” off Townsend’s third full-length studio album, Infinity. Townsend known for his eclectic amalgamation of heavy metal, progressive rock, ambient and new-age music lends his live performances to be a free-flowing collaborative orchestral experience. Playing with sound, Townsend explores the space on stage to propel his music, giving it that vibrant, kinetic energy.
According to a press release, “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.” Watch Townsend’s reimagined “War” performance stream below, via YouTube.
Townsend and his accompaniment are dressed in Hawaiian fashion with bright, colorful floral designed shirts, for the 2019 live performance of “War.” Still retaining the song’s aggressive tone, the approach in which Townsend performs the track is straight-foward, with no-frills. Not relying solely on his own energy, he allows backup vocalists, especially guitarist/vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval the chance to shine on her own bridge section of the song.
With the song’s messages of the struggles to associate religion by means of war, that implores to promote peace and non-violence, this version is more subtle than the theatrics that were displayed back when Townsend performed the track live back in 2013, off the CD/DVD/BluRay box set, The Retinal Circus. The showcasing of performance art to help aid in depicting the song’s messages, back when Townsend performed “War” back in 2013 with Anneke van Giersbergen, gives the reimagined 2019 version a more organic, soulful feel.
As previously reported, here on mxdwn, “Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1 is the title of his upcoming Blu- Ray release that will be out October 23.” In an in-depth statement, Townsend speaks on the live 2019 version of “War” and his approach to it, according to the aforementioned press release, saying:
Hello folks, here’s another song from the Order Of Magnitude Blu Ray. Amidst the chaos of recent times, I look back at this concert as being another world in a lot of ways, and although the DVD has many different feels throughout the concert, this song, ‘War’ is indicative of the beginning vibes of the show. The whole idea with this concert was to experiment with playing songs from my catalog that didn’t rely on backing tracks or clicks, so assembling 10 people onstage to do this was no small feat. I wanted to create an experience for band and audience alike that was creative and without boundaries (to the best of our abilities), and I am very proud of it. The next song we will release will be a different vibe, but for now, please enjoy this take on a song of mine from the Infinity era. It was originally about fighting back against your own self destructive mechanisms and thoughts, so maybe that’s appropriate for what has been going on recently. Again; Thank you for the support and I hope you are finding the strength to get through this chaotic year.
Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1 track listing:
9.Ain’t Never Gonna Win
14.Spirits Will Collide
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat