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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

3.84 | 170 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars With Casualties of Cool, Devin Townsend's experimentation with ambient grooves, ghostly beauty, mellow compositions, and mature instrumental performances has reached a grand new height. We heard it as a diversion on Ki, in the empty spaces on Ghost, and sprinkled through out other albums - but Casualties of Cool absolutely sends chills up the spine with elegant class. Not only is it Devin's best "quite" album, it's one of his best albums, period.

Casualties is a lengthy and evocative experience. The production and compositions are excellent, giving us lush, deep, and emotive sounds that slip between styles, dynamics, and tempos. Devin's skills as song writer are exceptionally strong here, perhaps because there aren't walls of devastatingly powerful electric guitar to rely on. Instead, every whisper, strum, vibrato, dreamy pulse, sampled effect, and sung word is exposed and wonderfully emotive. The album builds very well, beginning playfully and then taking the listener to places dark and fragile and lovely, ending with a more typical Devin Townsend song - a might crescendo over layers and layers of guitar and vocals. The experience is meditative.

The overall vibe of the album is sort of a faux-Western, but this shouldn't scare away anyone wondering if there are traces of country music in this album. The rare traces of twang are hidden within a dreamy soundscape that shuffles and drifts along to places so beautiful and weird that "real" western fans might feel lost and annoyed. There are few identifiable verses, and no choruses, so be prepared to be taken on a journey rather then be given moments to sing along to.

Speaking of singing, the vocals of the album, while not prevalent, are exceptional. Devin's voice drifts into the background, except for a few moments, while guest vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval takes the lead. Her voice is a warm, pure, and melancholic. She smoothly delivers some of the most memorable moments of the album, and practically steals the show; for listeners not as interested in exploring the music depths of the compositions, she definitely will.

Overall, a highly recommended release from one of modern prog's most dynamic and versatile artists. A great listen for those seeking something quite and spacey without becoming ambient background music. Outstanding.

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Prog Leviathan | 5/5 |

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