Considering Townsend’s prog metal background and the new song’s eerie title, “Call of the Void” is a surprisingly mellow six-minute journey. The lush guitars and calming instrumentation follow the laid back tone of lead single “Moonpeople,” as the singer-guitarist dials back the more adventurous prog elements found on his previous albums.
“The concept of the song is based around the ‘call of the void’ as an analogy for intrusive thoughts,” Devin explained in a press release. “I first heard the term describing ‘the temptation to hurl yourself over the cliff when you’re driving a car’… or to ‘put your hand in the fire when you know you’ll get burned’ etc… thoughts that you know are wrong, but you fear that you won’t be able to control the impulses to deny it. The point being: often I feel we have a choice and trying not to lose sight of that was very important to me during recent difficult times.”
The video for “Call of the Void” also serves as a spiritual successor to the self-shot travel clip for “Moonpeople.” Filmed from the first-person perspective by YouTuber Railroad Cowgirl, the new video takes us on a train ride through the mountains — an appropriately soothing visual compliment that inspired the compositions on Lightwork.
“All through lockdown, I really fell in love with ‘cabview train journeys’ that ‘Railway Cowgirl’ and others were posting on YouTube,” Devin said. “Essentially, they are often full, first-person journeys to cold and distant places, far from the chaos of the world, with a sense of constant momentum that really calmed me. Maybe being on tour for so many years is what made it a comfort to watch during lockdown, but in any event, I started writing with the videos playing in the background in the studio and so I thought it would be appropriate for this video.”
Added Townsend: “In regards to the ’story’ of these three videos, the character is now on the train headed to where the Lighthouse is located. So, there you go… song two. It’s about not letting the chaos of the world shake you. Trying to stay calm at our center to try and get through it all.”
In addition to the core Lightwork album, Townsend is also releasing a companion collection of B-sides and demos appropriately entitled Nightwork. In a rare move, the singer and multi-instrumentalist enlisted an outside producer to “guide this selection of material,” tapping longtime friend GGGarth Richardson.
You can pre-order Devin Townsend’s new album here. Stream the video for “Call of the Void” below.