Album review: CASUALTIES OF COOL

Casualties Of Cool

Inside Out www.insideout.de [Release date 16.01.16]

Casualties of Cool is the latest release by, well, Casualties of Cool! The ambient country rock album is the first album from Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Project etc…) and Che Aimee Dorval’s side project.

This wouldn’t be your first guess as to what new Devin Townsend material would sound like but however isn’t something new to Townsend who said ” “My childhood was full of that type of music, at Christmas my grandfather would insist on the whole family sitting around singing uncomfortably along to Johnny Cash songs and Irish stuff like the Clancy Brothers. It was a big part of my childhood, it’s not like I’m putting on a new hat here.”

This album is something completely different though, something that shocked me. This seems like an escape from Townsend from the constant heaviness of the genre he commands so well. This also demonstrates that Townsend has more in his catalogue than to just be limited to metal, he has shown proper ingenuity in moving out and broadening his discography.

The album throughout is an amazingly worked piece, it also took almost six year for it to come together. Devin Townsend truly has went back to his roots to reinvent himself musically with this release.

The album opens on the bluesy Daddy which sets the tone for the album, the smooth vocals of Dorval compliment the dainty guitar work. The album also contains Moon, an awe inspiring track which can just push you off into a dreamlike state. Moon is one of the picks of the album for me, midway through the guitar work is undeniably brilliant and the general tone of the song to just trail off and lose all sense of structure in this sense works amazingly well.

This isn’t your normal type of album in any sense, it has a sense of nature to it and a further sense of character. Townsend mentioned “There are coniferous trees, it’s really rugged. I find myself more and more just wanting to move north away from people. I like the rain, and the dichotomy of dark and quiet.

I like being near the water or the mountains. Spending time in hot, dusty Los Angeles – for instance – in a recording studio isn’t stimulating. Making Casualties I found more excuses to get in some kind of environment.”

This album proves after every listen that to fully consume the scope of it you have to shut off, lock yourself away from the fast, technologically orientated world outside and just lay back and lose yourself to the music.

The music itself will provide you with brilliant images to accompany it (if your imagination allows). It is this aspect which shines through in the album, song such as Pier, an instrumental piece which follows on from Moon excels in this field along with Hedja which includes a variety of instruments allows for you to become further lost in this album.

The themes of this album are perhaps most interesting about the album however, with concepts surrounding what he believes to be a bridge in his career. An acceptance of the artist he is today and embracing the fear of leaving behind what people know of him. “The song ‘The Bridge’ in particular is about transcending this period as opposed to succumbing to the fear and just reverting what I’ve done before. This whole album’s about fear; if you’re afraid of yourself or success it can be comforting to revel in that and let go – this record is like ‘go for it’”.

After a long career Devin Townsend yet again does not fail to deliver. This time especially with such a brilliant album. This allows fans to get another glimpse at yet another side to the well travelled musician in a way that he is able to explore and express himself in a way he has never before done. To hear this album comes as a relief for Townsend as it could have come off very differently. It has to be said this is just further proof that Townsend in fact is in many ways a musical genius.  *****

Review by Dillon Grant


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