Capharnaum - _Fractured_
by: Brian Meloon (
Capharnaum's second full-length album is an improvement from their 1998
debut, _Reality Only Fantasized_ [CoC #31] and the _Plague of Spirits_
demo [CoC #44] (though "Icon of Malice" from that demo also appears
here). Their style of death metal hasn't changed much over the years;
they still play a thrashy version of death metal focusing more on speed
and dexterity than heaviness. Their riffs are mostly individual-note
lines, which they frequently harmonize, but they add a few chord-based
riffs here and there and mix up the tempos to keep things from being
too monotonous. The vocals are a shouted rather than growled style,
and fit the music pretty well. The guitar, bass and drum work are all
very good: the playing is precise, and they're very tight as a unit.
Unfortunately, this album has a few significant weaknesses in my eyes.
Most importantly, although the individual riffs are average to good,
very little of the album is really memorable. In fact, I can only think
of three memorable riffs throughout the whole album. To make matters
worse, the song structures don't do the memorability level any favors.
Most of the songs are interchangeable and there is very little to
differentiate them. For example, I have a difficult time telling the
first four songs apart. It's only when the opening riff to "Icon of
Malice" kicks in that I realize that I'm on the fifth track. As another
example, I don't understand why "Machines" is under two minutes long;
it doesn't indicate that it's going to be short, it just unceremoniously
ends, blending into the next song. At 26 minutes (technically almost 30
minutes, but the last three-and-a-half minutes are a pointless mathrock
exercise), this is a short album even by death metal standards, but it's
well-played and well-produced, and it shows significant development for
the band. However, to become one of the elite members of the genre,
they'll have to continue to work on their songwriting.
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