Casualties of Cool
Casualties of Cool


5.0
classic

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
May 20th, 2014 | 556 replies


Release Date: 05/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Less a humble nature spirit, more a specter or dark phantasm.

When Devin Townsend told the world that Ghost was the type of music he felt he should be playing at this point in his life, I'm not sure if the world took him seriously. With Deconstruction coming out at the exact same time, it felt more like we were reverting to that polarizing point in HevyDevy's life where he could produce both Ocean Machine and City without complication. Could we ever see one without the other?

With Z2 (gloriously) on the way, I'd hazard the guess that we might not, but Casualties of Cool, hot on the heels of the subpar Epicloud, easily answers which of those two sides of the brain is dominant at this phase of Devin's life. Much as Devin has claimed the album to be reminiscent of "haunted Johnny Cash" songs, it feels more like a death knell hovering over the corporeal parts of Ki and Ghost; less a humble nature spirit and more a specter or a dark phantasm. Of course, the common denominator of moody, ephemeral ambiance persists, but Casualties is rife with a darkness derived from subtle musical creaks and moans that go bump in the dark of this space haunting.

Yet it's all secondary to the enticing echoes of Ki collaborator Che. The siren song her voice projects from the dares of opener "Daddy" to the driving encouragement of "The Code," utters saccharine lies to pull the dumbfounded listener deeper and deeper into her hypnotic web. Some may question the vocal imbalance favoring Che over Devin's equally formidable voice, but Casualties feels more like a solo journey through a sparse, yet dark corridor with only an introspective narrative represented by Che to guide the way. Maybe there's a touch of insanity here, but when you're all alone, isn't the company worth it?

After all, the landscape painted by the mixture of blues, country, and ambiance presented here seems anything but friendly. Devin's shaky tenor paints a picture of fear and apprehension counter to the wonder of the early twang and porchside creek bop reminiscent of "Blackberry" and "Trainfire" that run from "Daddy" through to "Flight." Yet that fear becomes real in the low rumbles of "Moon," capped by catastrophic sax that takes a page out of classic prog and, more recently, tracks like Tesseract's "Calabi-Yau." Things plateau between "Moon" and the motivational chanting of "Ether" before "Hejda" works away any optimism with an empty and open soundscape fueled by slowly rolling deep drums and wisps of flute.

The results range from bleak to fascinating, depending on what you see when you gaze at space both outer and inner. Do you choose to see the vast darkness, or the several microscopic glints of light that dot it? Do you take note of the agony of the journey or the courage it takes to keep walking? Casualties of Cool allows you to look at it the way you want to - to see the pain or the triumph you wish to believe in, all with a haunting, inspiring, and wildly catchy backing track. So strap up your boots and decide - will you answer Che's call? Or will you stay in the comfort of your own home, never to know the chilling bite of this world's air?



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4.1
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Will the rest of the world find this 5 worthy? I don't know, but this is perfect to me.

fallenbird
May 20th 2014


3833 Comments


Where can I get this?

Digging: Sugary Sweet Machines - Controlled Breathing

bloc
May 20th 2014


34848 Comments


No way this is a 5 damn

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

BigPleb
May 20th 2014


36637 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Needs more jams but yeah, this rules damn hard.

Digging: Arc Iris - Arc Iris

IronGiant
May 20th 2014


812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's so close to a 5.

TzarChasm
May 20th 2014


143 Comments


I bought the shit out of this within minutes of hearing "Moon" for the first time. Then, because I
could only find it in MP3s, I torrented it in FLAC. This is *awesome*.

@fallenbird: You can buy it in MP3 on Amazon or iTunes (which has the double CD special edition,
which contains 13 bonus tracks). I don't know about physical distribution.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

@bloc - it's more a personal 5 than an objective 5, really

But I love it.

Gmork89
May 20th 2014


5510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

DAMN this review is good.

Calc
May 20th 2014


12188 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dood I thought you died

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2014


3449 Comments


http://i.lvme.me/4eb45hd.jpg

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

@Calc - there is no Tom, only Zuul.

Green Baron
May 20th 2014


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to listen

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
May 20th 2014


50375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

Green Baron
May 20th 2014


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Flight is beautiful

emester
May 20th 2014


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As of now my AOTY

Digging: Aphex Twin - Syro

fallenbird
May 20th 2014


3833 Comments


Gonna jam this, expecting it to be top 5 at least.

Green Baron
May 20th 2014


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The sax on Moon oh god

yourgodisinferior
May 20th 2014


840 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review

Green Baron
May 20th 2014


20000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pier is god

scottpilgrim10
May 20th 2014


3457 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Moon was cool.

Digging: Wilco - Summerteeth



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