By now, most fans of prog know not only who Devin Townsend is but that he redefined what is possible with pledge campaigns. Casualties of Cool was a project that he didn’t feel it should ask his record company to fund, so he asked fans to support him. This project hit 544% of its goal! Now his label, InsideOut Music, has embraced the album and is releasing it as well.
Part of the motivation for fans was that anything above the target goal would go toward his Ziltoid sequel project, including the videos and live production. He even was able to donate to animal charities as well. Financially, Casualties of Cool was beyond a success but what about musically?
Devin told me in an interview I did with him that he considered this album his “art movie” and “Z²” to be his “action film.” This was an album he really wanted to do. Soundwise, it is most like his “Ki” album and feels like a natural extension of the country/prog direction that he explored some on that album.
Casualties of Cool is made up of Devin and singer Ché Aimee Dorval, who was also on the “Ki” album. The music is a merge of country rhythms with a space rock vibe. The concept on this album involves a traveler who winds up on a sentient planet that feeds on his fears until he finds an old radio and then frees a woman held captive in the planet. Yeah, weird huh? But how much different is that from Ziltoid? Not as funny but just as odd.
The music is mellow and soothing. Dorval has a beautiful voice with an amazing tone. Devin uses his powers for good on this album and even reigns in his own vocals to fit perfectly with the music and Dorval. That said, this album is NOT for everyone. Those expecting any sort of Devin’s usual bombast will be very disappointed.
“Casualties of Cool,” the album, is a mood album. It’s not something you blare as you are driving down the highway. Rather, you sit in a darkened room with headphones and take in all the subtlety. Even the very few moments of an increased pulse like on “The Code” are still quite calm. Casualties of Cool is added proof that Devin Townsend is the rarest of musical geniuses that are appropriately lauded by fans around the globe.
Tracklist (Standard Edition):
4. The Code
9. Forgive Me
13. The Field
14. The Bridge
Label: InsideOut Music