While buying recently an Arsis album from the Willowtip site I have also tried to see what other bands they got and promote heavily. My eye fell on Capharnaum, a young band from Florida. $10 bought me their second album Fractured and one display of some pretty good music.
For a band whose many members are in their late teens Capharnaum is impressive. I have no idea where their guitarists Jason Suecof and Daniel Mongrain studied music, but they must have paid attention in their classes. Throughout the album guitars provide one non-stop main attraction for the band. I noticed that in their “thank you” notes both guys recall James Murphy and late Chuck Schuldiner. Definitely some worthy players to get your ideas from …
On Fractured Capharnaum roll through eight tracks of dizzying technical death metal. All tracks are quick short fireballs set to fast and faster, but often shifting tempos. Unconventional quick riffery surrounds numerous sweeping and shredding solos, especially on the first half of the album (Perpetuate Catatonia). Icon of Malice has more typical death metal chord progression, but nevertheless sounds real vibrant and energetic. Reins of Humanity starts as a pure unadulterated thrash very reminiscent of The Haunted, but picks up more technicality as they swirl towards the pinnacle end. Capharnaum leaves no doubt that fretwork fireworks is their specialty, solos on Perpetuate Catatonia, title track and Icon of Malice causing the reaction of “how can they move their fingers so damn fast”.
Yet just like many other supertalented wunderkind kids Capharnaum jams too many musical ideas into one tight box. First off, they run through Fractured non-stop leaving no room in between tracks causing the whole album to feel like one 30 min long death metal song. Some of their cuts feel more like song sketches, started, but not fully developed (The Scourge Trial). Then, they also mix oil and water together combining most melodious album moments, the first half of Refusal, with what I can only call a death metal jam. Michael Amott-era Carcass and early Arch Enemy suddenly ends, only to be continued on the same track with the somewhat scatterbrained display of musicianship. It is if the guys have to almost step back, take a deep breath and sort out their compositions not to make the whole thing sound like a one big jambalaya.
My other gripe is Matt Heafy’s vocals. Did he sound that way on Trivium? What needs a Jeff Walker-type vocals instead looks to Marco Aro and Jamey Shasta for inspiration. To me, Death and Carcass styled death metal does not mix well with hardcore screams. In fact, lower growl by Jason Suecof on Machines and Icon of Malice seem to fit the music better. With Matt being the primary vocalist I question the choices.
Musicianship undeniable Capharnaum needs a little bit of seasoning. If this band puts it all together and upgrades their songwriting, they are capable of delivering another Heartwork. For now the mantle of the most promising American technical death metal band rests with Beyond the Flesh.
Killing Songs :
Fractured, Perpetuate Catatonia, first half of Refusal
|Alex quoted 68 / 100|
There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:09 pm
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