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Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond CD (album) cover


Captain Beyond


Heavy Prog

4.02 | 250 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Beyond good!

Here we have a great piece of Heavy Prog from the 'other' side of the Atlantic. There is a connection to the UK, however, with Rod Evans previously of Deep Purple handling the lead vocals here. This might lead you to suppose that the music of Captain Beyond is similar to Deep Purple Mk. I which it is not and neither can it be compared to Deep Purple Mk. II. This is a completely different beast and one of the very best I've heard of its kind!

The album is basically one complete piece of music with a handful of great riffs that come and go, and we are given several interesting variations on these riffs. The whole thing is a rather loud affair and a tour de force of good guitar riffs, fast and moderately complex drumming. The instrumentation is rather simple with electric guitars, acoustic guitars, bass, drums, lead and harmony vocals, and the occasional very discrete piano and some percussion instruments. There are many interesting tempo changes and mood changes keeping it interesting throughout. Some passages remind me of Black Sabbath others of Camel!

The second half of the album is the best one, with a bit more variation due to slower acoustic sections, and its great build up towards the finale. What I particularly like about this album, in addition to that is presented as a whole, is also how loaded and well structured it is. There are no mindless improvisations or long psychedelic jam sections, all too common in the psychedelic bands of the time. Captain Beyond might very well have come up with this music by doing long psychedelic jams, but what is left here for the final product is well arranged and they don't waste a minute on that stuff. There is a sense of urgency here lacking in the works of, say, Hawkwind or early Pink Floyd or American acts like Hendrix and The Doors for that matter.

What I also like is the fast and constantly changing rhythms, something that bands like Pink Floyd and Hawkwind really needed to learn. Hawkwind, for example, had a very strong tendency to settle into a constant grove and keep it throughout the whole song and let the guitars and keyboards do all the work on top. Captain Beyond, on the other hand, had all the instruments, including the drums, competing for attention. What is psychedelic about Captain Beyond is more in the overall space theme and the image of the band than in the actual music, I think.

By way of criticism I should say that this album is not perfectly recorded and produced, but it does not sound bad. There could also be more solos and instrumental sections (but well-structured ones as opposed to mindless jamming) and the sound could be fuller if they added some more keyboards to the mix. Still, this is a classic of Heavy Prog and no fan of the genre should do without a copy of this near-masterpiece album.

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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