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Captain Beyond - Dawn Explosion CD (album) cover


Captain Beyond


Heavy Prog

3.03 | 64 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars While the first Captain Beyond album was pretty thick with social and political themes, this last offering from the band is more of a last-hurrah for the bluesy hard rock that most of its members were known for both before and after their Captain Beyond days. The pedigree of all the members was top-notch, but overall this is a rather lackluster album that failed to take off creatively or commercially, and the band dissolved shortly after its release.

Vocalist Rod Evans (Deep Purple) is long gone, replaced by relative unknown Willie Daffern, formerly of Hunger and Truk, bands just as unknown as he was. Evans would briefly resurface fronting a sham Deep Purple touring group before disappearing forever. He’s probably living under an assumed name in some Caribbean resort town these days. Daffern has a decent enough voice, but he lacks any range or inflection to speak of, and as a result tends to detract from the excellent guitar work and pretty decent drums. Larry Reinhardt and Lee Dorman, formerly of brief Iron Butterfly fame are both back, as is former Johnny Winter session man Bobby Caldwell. There are no keyboards in this lineup, leaving the sound a bit more one-dimensional than their previous two efforts, and with inevitable comparisons to a dozen southern-fried bands of the same general era. It’s all guitars, all the time.

The songs here generally fall into two thematic categories: nebulous fantasy tales, and tight-jeaned frivolous numbers. The two seem to be about equally distributed. Those in the former category include “Fantasy” and “Icarus”, with “Icarus” being the better of the two in terms of energetic tempo, strong guitars, and a real attempt to reach beyond simple two-chord riffs and simple rhythms. In the latter category are “Do or Die” and both versions of “Oblivion”.

The most striking track is the two-part “Breath of Fire”, with its tantalizing tempo change mid-track and emphasis on both acoustic guitar and slide progressions. This is also southern-boogie in reality, but not so far removed from Wishbone Ash or the Allman Brothers to not be mildly appealing. It’s a far site better than .38 Special or most of what Bad Company did after their first two albums anyway.

“If You Please” uses a riff lifted from somewhere, I just can’t place where exactly. Someone clue me in, please.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with this album, it’s just that there’s nothing overly appealing about it either. For Captain Beyond fans (and I’m sure there are still some out there), this is probably worth having in their collection. For anyone else, you can probably pass on this and you won’t be missing much. Two stars.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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