Album Review: Capsize – “The Angst In My Veins”

Capsize are a band out of San Diego, CA releasing their debut full length album ‘The Angst In My Veins’ through Equal Vision on September 30 (US) and Impericon Records in October (EU/UK).

Capsize deliver a pretty standard take on the modern melodic punk-hardcore sound and do it with confidence. The opening track ‘Linger’ does well to sum up the record based on the various styles and methods employed across the 10 tracks on offer: you get fast bits that break into half time grooves. Those in turn step up the pace into mid-paced melodic rock sections plus or minus a riff..and then it repeats the formula. Tracks range from 2-4 minutes long and maintain the furious energy of depressed/angry hardcore most of the way through.

There’s no re-inventing the wheel here, it will straight up appeal to fans of the genre/scene and is unlikely to bring new followers over the fence. What has been achieved here, if nothing new, is a very solid level of production courtesy of Jay Maas. Not all of his work is this shiny, so hats off to the band and the engineer for bringing some big sounds to the game. It sounds great up loud!

Guitars are huge, thick and very cool to begin with but… they’re the same sound almost the whole time. Bass is typically buried and only really audible when performing runs that differ from the tidal wave of high-gain guitars. Drumming is hella tight, be it due to the performance or the editing, the energy is really high on account of the performance and of course the sounds are spot-on perfect. Vocals are delivered in the as-per-usual hoarse/screamed manner familiar to fans of other bands in this genre i.e. Shai Hulud, Burning Bright, Napoleon etc Without a lyric sheet it’s hard to determine just what the songs are about and the message behind them but the overall sentiment of hurt/reflection/passion comes across just fine. There’s no clean singing or auto-tuned harmonies like many others in the genre play with, this is much more aggressive and true to form.

Highlight of the album (for me) occurs halfway through title track #3 ‘The Angst In My Veins’ where there’s a great example of the bands use of dynamics. The guitars pull back the gain after a really punchy and intense mid section, the drums get a more roomy sound and the tom-fills thump away and suddenly there’s some space. Vocals are a little more reverby and distant before the song explodes back into its fuller aggressive self and ends on a real high. The feedback and guitar noise at the end is also a nice touch. This principal of ‘build & release’ really works well and is not used enough on the record but it’s fair to say that when it is done right, these are the standout moments.

Such is the case on track 6 ‘Tension’ after a blistering first half the band really pull it back for a bit of ambiance and mood to build up with a slow and heavy post-hardcore-ish outro featuring guest vocals from Andreas Malm of Sweden’s ‘No Omega’. Its very dramatic and from that point on.. I feel like it cant improve much beyond this! The blend of melodic and aggressive hardcore on display here ..whether slower paced or a high octane speed.. has hit the peak!

From this point on however .. listener fatigue sets in and the second half of the record sounds too similar to what’s come before. It may simply be that this material, for all there is to enjoy about it, might be best served in bite sized chunks rather than all in one helping.

Overall it’s worth a look in if you are a fan of this style and I can imagine the real impact of these songs would be felt in a live setting. Capsize definitely come across as confident musicians and mature writers armed with one tough sounding record. This album wont set them apart to the average listener but will probably find a welcome spot on many iPods right along with Comeback Kid, Counterparts, and other bands starting with ‘C’.

3.5/5 Stars

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