In addition to serving as a relatively accessible first listen for Transcendence, this song includes some notable departures from the Devin Townsend Project's past releases. The track features an extended guitar solo from about 2:15 until about the 4 minute mark, when synths come to the fore. Mostly eschewing technical wankery, the solo is an exploration that complements the contemplative mood of "Failure." In a departure from the usual spotlighting of Anneke Van Giersbergen's gorgeous contributions, all backing vocals are folded into the big 'choir' effect on the chorus, leaving the focus squarely on Devin's soaring laments. Finally, the mix feels more airy and centered on keys and drums, as opposed to the denser guitar-dominated approach that Devin sometimes takes.
The DTP must have been feeling pretty cheeky to release "Failure" as the first single from the new album, as it clearly succeeds. It's a strong track in its own right, it includes many musical trademarks that longtime fans will expect (soaring vocals, heavy riffs, exploration of dark moods and textures), but it also distinguishes itself with the long guitar solo and lighter mixing. In interviews, Devin has talked up the significance of the collaborative writing approach for Transcendence, and it seems to have paid off with, ironically, a spectacular "Failure."
To follow up the new single, Devin Townsend will participate in a Facebook Live Q&A on August 10, at around Noon his time (Vancouver time?).