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Album Reviews : Caprycon – Dark Earth

By on October 24, 2011

One thing that I’ve noticed after listening to whatever ridiculous amount of albums I’ve received over the past few years is that I’ve become numb to music I dislike. Where some bands used to irritate me, they’re now just thrown aside as yet another uninspiring release. Dark Earth, on the other hand, irks me. And not because it’s terrible, but because it shows so much promise but is dragged down by a few key elements.

Musically, Perth’s Caprycon have hit all of the marks. Their brand of progressive metal is laden with prominent bass parts (always a nice surprise), interesting guitar melodies with a slight jazz influence here and there, and varied symphonic elements which, excluding a few small moments, don’t reek of epic cheese. There is no progressive-for-the-sake-of-progressive wank but instead a nice balance between simplicity and quirkiness, and a couple of fantastically groovy guitar solos (see “Sorrowchild” and “Symphony of Hope”). Things get particularly interesting in the final two tracks where some unexpected but surprisingly well-placed acoustic guitars rear their heads, as well as some sci-fi keys.

The problem is that it doesn’t quite all come together in the end, for two main reasons. The first is that so much of the complexity is buried in a somewhat unbalanced mix, where quite often nothing is really given priority, resulting in a messy, muddled overall sound. The guitars are lacking in the punch that the simpler riffs need to really pull through, and the vocals absolutely dominate everything else.

That, is the second problem. While female vocalist Gina Bafile does a solid job during the darker moments, her higher vocals waver unnecessarily, with a few notes that made me turn my head like a confused dog. There are moments in the latter part of “Sorrowchild” where she pushes herself too far, and other lines on the album where she doesn’t seem to quite have the control she needs.

With a bit of work on those areas, Caprycon could do great things. But in the end, Dark Earth is one of those releases that hints at good things without actually being one. Just as a final note, it’s interesting that the album has been professionally printed on decent quality digipacks, but with parts of the artwork being nothing but a pixelated blur, several lines of unreadable lyrics, and tracks listed in the wrong on the back. There was a bit of money wasted there… 6/10

Band: Caprycon
Album: Dark Earth
Year: 2011
Genre: Progressive metal/rock
Origin: Perth, Australia
Label: Independent
http://www.caprycon.com/

Track listing:
1. Ebony Shores
2. Dark Earth
3. Sorrowchild
4. Desert Song
5. Falling into Winter
6. Empty
7. Symphony of Hope

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.