Release Date: July 23, 2021 Genre: Progressive Post-Hardcore Label: Fearless Records
The Florida-based progressive post-hardcore quintet Capstan has returned to the spotlight with their second full-length record, SEPARATE. The first inklings of their new album began when the entire world went into lockdown last year. The five members took the time to hunker down at home -like the rest of the population- and went into full writing mode. Capstan, made up of vocalist Anthony DeMario, guitarist Joe Mabry, guitarist Harrison Bormann, bassist and vocalist Andrew "Boz" Bozymowski, and drummer Scott Fisher, all hit the studio soon after to work with music producer Machine. Machine is best known for his work with bands such as Lamb of God, Clutch, Fall Out Boy, and As It Is, to name a select few.
The main goal Capstan wanted to achieve during the writing and recording of their second album was to create a collection of songs that were all bangers, no filler. This becomes evident as soon as SEPARATE opens up with "pretext." Additionally, Capstan has shifted gears since their debut album, Restless Heart, Keep Running, taking their music to new heights by incorporating new elements into their repertoire -more on that soon. The album-opening track "pretext" is an impressive number that provides bold down-tuned guitar riffs, and DeMario's powerful, emotive voice braces you with an emotional outcry while serving the overall theme that's prominent within the lyrics of the album's ten tracks. The majority of the tracks tackle Mabry's divorce and the severe depression he experienced during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
"shades of us" showcases some of the fascinating new sides of Capstan while serving one of the heaviest tracks on SEPARATE. The guitars on the track are out worldly and teeter between post-hardcore and metalcore, incorporating hip-hop drum beats and features a massive, memorable hook that digs deep and takes hold with a firm grip. Whereas, in the following track, "take my breath away // noose," the band displays the newfound funky side of themselves. A jazz-esque bassline plays out while DeMario delivers bold, haunting vocals overtop. The chorus on "take my breath away // noose" is one for the ages and makes you want to groove along. While the track blurs the line between their usual progressive post-hardcore sound, they deliver a matured, pop-rock/prog-rock track that's immense every which way you look at it. Capstan proves they no longer have to be heavy and can deliver some of their best work when they're adventurous with their sound. The album's fourth track, "alone," is a full-circle moment for the band. The track features Silverstein frontman Shane Told. The members of Capstan have been huge fans of Silverstein growing up, and their first half of the circle was started in late 2018 when Capstan was brought out on the road for three months in an opening spot on Silverstein's When Broken 15 Easily Fixed Tour. Now, the remainder of the circle comes with Told providing his vocal talents to one of Capstan's new tracks. "alone" is another massive hit on SEPARATE and features one of the most brilliant and unique breakdowns I've heard in quite some time. The breakdown features colossal, bassy down-tuned guitar riffs that rumble overtop hip-hop drum beats before the chorus rings out one final time. "blurred around the edges," the album's fifth track, takes a drastic shift in direction for Capstan. It's one of the most honest, emotional tracks on the entirety of the album. The lyrics on "blurred around the edges" take a defenceless look at Mabry's mental state at its lowest point. However, while the last several months he has written, recorded, and performing with the band, it helped Mabry immensely as a form of catharsis. "blurred around the edges" is a slow yet incredible number that emphasizes DeMario's impassioned vocals that seep through its soft instrumentation. At the track's end, a wave of unspoken anger becomes unleashed into the song. The song also features a beautiful saxophone performance from Saxl Rose that ties everything together in a nicely tied bow.
The ninth track, "sway," takes the band to their soft side one last time on their second album. This time the band slow it down with a full-on acoustic, folky adventure with indie-pop artist Charlene Joan. The song's sincere and close to the heart and blends Joan's sultry voice well with DeMario's for something even fresher on SEPARATE. Capstan's second effort closes out with the massive number "decline." The album-closing song features Capstan's untamed heaviness and blasts you in the face with a plethora of blistering guitar riffs that would have had me picking up a guitar to try to learn them by ear -but if only I had a seven-string guitar. Be sure to presave or preorder SEPARATE and grab tickets to their SEPARATE live stream event on July 27th, where you can see Capstan's first live performance in over a year. The band will perform some of these new songs, along with some fan favourites. All of this can be done here.