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Devin Townsend - Casualties Of Cool: Casualties Of Cool CD (album) cover

CASUALTIES OF COOL: CASUALTIES OF COOL

Devin Townsend

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.85 | 162 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Casualties of Cool" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by Canadian act Casualties of Cool. The album was released through HevyDevy Records in May 2014. Casualties of Cool is a project by prolific musician/producer Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend, Devin Townsend Project, The Devin Townsend Band), who handles Vocals, Guitars, bass, and Keyboards on the album, and Ché Aimee Dorval who handles Vocals, and Guitars. The duo is helped out by a varity of session musicians including Morgan Ågren (Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects, Kaipa...) on drums, Jørgen Munkeby (Altaar, Shining, Jaga Jazzist) on saxophone. Townsend partially funded the recording of the album through a crowdfunding campaign on the PledgeMusic website.

"Casualties of Cool" is a concept album and all 15 tracks on the 73:52 minutes long album seque into each other to form one long piece of music. The story tells of a traveller who comes to a planet that feeds on itīs visitorīs fears, and he is eventually forced to contront his fears to find peace (this is the simple version of the story).

The music on the album is a combination of several stylistic elements. The basis in the music is predominantly country/roots/folk rock, but there are also traces of blues (great short guitar solos) and a dominant ambient element in the music too (even a psychadelic element in "The Bridge" which features citar and flute). Devin Townsend and Ché Aimee Dorval compliment each other well and the vocal parts on the album are both pleasant and delivered with conviction and passion.

While the music is predominantly vers/chorus structured and might seem pretty simple upon initial listens, there are quite a lot going on in the background of each track. Atmospheric keyboards, sound effects, backing vocals, saxophone, and all sorts of other little details that make "Casualties of Cool" an interesting listen throughout. Devin Townsend is known for his multi-layered sound productions, but most of his productions are for metal-related material and as a consequence loud and massive. The sound production on this album is a lot more subtle as the layers of sound are mostly placed in the background, while vocals, guitar, bass, and drums are usually placed higher in the mix. So this project has probably proven to be a challenge both when it comes to the music but also when it comes to the production job.

"Casualties of Cool" is overall a quality release performed by skilled musicians. Itīs well written, arranged, and very well produced, but I canīt help feel that itīs a bit too long and that not all tracks are equally interesting. Some of the more ambient sections work as a sedative on me, and while they donīt disturb the flow of the album, I prefer the more rock oriented tracks on the album. Itīs an album that is hard to rate fairly, because on one hand itīs relatively original and it features a pleasant laid back atmosphere, but on the other hand it does have some flaws, that make it a less than perfect release. When listened to in moderate bits, itīs absolutely brilliant though, and even with a few reservations Iīve come to the conclusion that I enjoy it quite a bit. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is fair.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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