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Captain Beyond - Sufficiently Breathless CD (album) cover


Captain Beyond


Heavy Prog

3.17 | 107 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quit looking over this one!

Captain Beyond (led by ex-Deep Purpler Rod Evans) exploded onto the prog scene in the early 70s with an amazing self titled debut that really set the standards for the music that would later be known as Heavy Prog. While the album itself never really became overly successful it still stands as a landmark of the subgenre. This second album was going to have a tough time following up that self titled debut no matter how hard it tried. And try they did. The sound is much different from the first album. Instead of having a multitude of short songs tie into each other to form unofficial suites that were very progressive in themselves the band instead decided to write songs, none of which are over 5 minutes, but last long enough to develop a good idea before moving on. The album is therefor very varied, instead of sticking of one theme with recurring motifs.

Although it's not hard to see where this album was less successful than it's predecessor. The first time listening to this album (if you've heard the first album) you may never want to pick it up again - and the blame for this lies almost entirely with the opening title track. Sufficiently Breathless is not a bad song by any means - but it is very, very different and requires a lot of room to grow before anyone can appreciate it correctly. This song is mid paced and mellow - very unlike anything the band has done to this point. All the characteristics of the band are still around: A well constructed riff that supports the song, well placed vocals and skilled soloing - but the fact that it's a soft and mellow ''Heavy'' prog song is cause for concern when it's the opening of the album and the longest single track that the band ever did. That said, it's a very good song when you don't know what to expect, or you don't approach the album expecting to have your head blown off by a killer riff right off the bat.

Luckily the album picks up right afterwards. Though the rest of the album still won't be as heavy or raw as the debut album (actually, as a previous reviewer mentioned - a lot of the album sounds like Santana), it's more skillfully played and very technical. The songs are wonderfully melodic and have some killer hooks. The riffs are still a main focus of the music along with excellent solos and that driving voice, songs like Bright, Blue Tango and Drifting In Space press just as hard as you'd expect from the band.

This album really is not as chaotic as the debut. The boys are no longer Dancing Madly Backwards and making wonderful music while doing it - they're stepping forwards and carefully placing each foot as they do. Signs of maturity are throughout the album in melody and structure, although the chaos of the first album really did work for the band. Really, this is just a very different album as proven by excellent songs like Starglow Energy and the catchy Everything is a Circle.

If their first album was as good as it was going to get this one was just adding fuel to the fire. An excellent album that is all too often overlooked and has been missed way too many times. It's hard to stress just how good this album really is. 4 Distant Suns out of 5! Stunning!

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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