CASUALTIES OF COOL

Non-Metal • Canada
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Casualties of Cool is a new project by Canadian musician Devin Townsend. The group is a duo of him and Ché Aimee Dorval, who performs lead vocals. The music of the projects moves away from Townsend's usual progressive rock/metal and consists of country/blues rock and ambient music. The project released its self-titled debut album in 2014.

Because of Devin Townsend's massive impact on the metal scene Casualties of Cool have been included on the MMA as a Metal Related artist.

- Biography by adg211288 (May 2014)
Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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CASUALTIES OF COOL Casualties of Cool album cover 4.53 | 4 ratings
Casualties of Cool
Non-Metal 2014

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CASUALTIES OF COOL Casualties of Cool

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"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 it´s visitor´s 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. It´s well written, arranged, and very well produced, but I can´t help feel that it´s 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 don´t disturb the flow of the album, I prefer the more rock oriented tracks on the album. It´s an album that is hard to rate fairly, because on one hand it´s 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, it´s absolutely brilliant though, and even with a few reservations I´ve come to the conclusion that I enjoy it quite a bit. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is fair.

CASUALTIES OF COOL Casualties of Cool

Album · 2014 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
arcane-beautiful
Devin Townsend is a genius. I don't need to say anymore. But is he going mad?

After a 5 album string which pretty much showed no weakness, Devin pretty much did whatever he wanted and received a lot of success. But this was backed by record companies who oddly enough had enough faith in his music. So on this album, why did Devin turn his back on financial backing? To be honest, it makes perfect sense.

Devin is a modern music cult hero. Taking secret audiences around the world he has been able to sell out a lot of big gigs and festivals. But, having strayed away from his metal roots and gone for a rather odd country and blues rock sound, this may have alienated fans, or as he stated himself “people who liked Epicloud are gonna be pissed.” So did it work?

Ha. Did it work? Let's just say Devin became a rich man in only a short amount of days. Now, being the artist he is, a good amount of money is funding his next project, the ever awaiting sequel to “Ziltoid The Omniscient”, but if their ever was a reaction from fans to show their love, this surely is.

Now lets get down to the meat of the album and that is the music. Now this isn't too much of a dramatic change for Devin musically, in fact Devin experimented with some of this older rock and blues sound on “Ki”, but decided to flesh it more out. The album is also a daring leap for Devin because this isn't a solo album. In fact the album is a collaboration with singer songwriter Ché Aimee Dorval who did vocals before on “Ki.” As much as I love Devin's songwriting I always found a lack of cohesion in his stuff at times, and I think Ché's vocals, songwriting and lyrics really fleshed out Devin's experimental songwriting style. The only negative I can have with this album is that it is so different musically that you have to kind of getting used to it and I think that this is an album that needs a few listens before you can really love it. I can't see anyone hating this album though.

Opener “Daddy” is a brilliant introduction to the album. Taking the blues rock sound and adding a lot of Devin's personal quirks, the song soon turns into a sonic hailstorm of sound. The same can be said with “Mountaintop” which continues the blues sound and mixes with some rather melancholic melodies, especially with Ché's vocals.

My favorite song on this album would have to be “Flight.” A very simple idea with some beautiful melodies and a few interesting changes throughout, the song is incredibly beautiful. Lyrically the song deals with suicide and is one of the best penned lyrics about the subject. A beautiful piece of music and definitely up there with some of my all time favorite tracks of all time.

A very interesting track can be seen in the form of “Moon.” Starting off very spacey and with a lot of limited space, the song then explodes into a mix of groaning vocals and some beautiful saxophone playing.

One of the albums strongest tracks has to be “Bones.” Lyrically the song is one of the most relating to the concept, with some very interesting words and images being presented. The music of the song adopts a rather baroque pop feeling and it works incredibly well, especially with Ché's vocals.

One of the oddest tracks on the album would have to be “Deathscope.” Supposed to be the angry side of the protagonist, the song shows off some of Devin's metal material from the past and the dynamic vocals he has.

The album closer “The Bridge” is very reminiscent to the track “Ki” for me. Starting off slow and calm before building up to a massive climax and pays off very well. Experimenting with choirs and flutes, the song is a very experimental move for Devin's work. Great ending to the album (not including “Pure” which is a bit silly and long).

Overall, this album impressed me and confused me. It confused me because I don't know whether I should love it or like it. At the moment I'm on the cusp of loving it. Devin has really been able to create something very unique in his catalogue and really step out of his comfort zone for this one.

8.5/10

Genres: Blues Rock, Country, Alternative Country, Country Rock, Ambient, Progressive Rock, Baroque Pop, Experimental Rock, Post Rock, Experimental Metal

Country of origin: Canada

Year of release: 2014

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