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Capharnaum is a 5 piece technical death metal outfit with Trivium singer Matt Heafy on Vox, Jason Suecof and Dan Mongrain on Guitar duties, Mike Poggione on Bass and Jordan Suecof handling Drums.
Tech death musicians, take notes, this is how technical death metal should be done. The main highlight of the album itself is the guitar work done by both Suecof and Mongrain and it is in every essence of the term fantastic. The duo create winding 7 string guitar riffs that while being immensely technical, are also incredibly catchy, to the point that you feel that you can dance to them, which is more than I can say for alot of wanky tech death acts that exist today (Brain Drill anyone?). The solo sections do not fall short of the standards set by the incredible riffing on this album, both Jason and Dan create ear catching solos that are incredibly well thought-out and placed, and never resort to mindless shredding for the sake of shredding. Fucking incredible!
The drum work of Jordan Suecof also does an incredible job, and while once again incredibly technical, he never feels the need to mindlessly blast his way through the album, and instead creates great catchy beats that compliment the guitar work superbly. Another good point in my books.
While a bit hard to hear, at no point is Mike Poggione slacking behind bass duties. Not only can he match what the guitars are playing which is an incredible feat in itself, but his basswork is well done especially in the beginning bass solo to Refusal. Sadly there aren't any more examples of great bass solos in this album and I feel that this album would've greatly benefited from this as well as boosting the bass levels a little higher.
Now I move towards my one gripe with the album, the vocals. Matt Heafy is a pretty weak vocalist, and his hardcore yells do not compliment the music as well as the instruments have done do which is a big gripe. However his vocals aren't so bad that you have trouble listening to the album as I have felt with the latest Psycroptic offerings. Luckily on the songs Machines and Icons of Malice, Jason Suecof takes over for vocal duties and his are a significant improvement of the weak and incompetent Heafy. Suecof's voice sounds more akin to a death metal vocalist and does wonders fitting in with the bands music perfectly. However Machines is the shortest song on the album (1:59) and these are the only songs he takes over for vocal duties before Heafy gets behind the mic. The contrast of this is so great, its like going to a nice winery and getting a nice, 100 year aged bottle of Red Wine from a supermodel that compliments your medium rare Steak perfectly, and then going back next day and getting an ugly old witch that takes a warm bottle of Coors Light and jams it up your ass. Though luckily the horror and disappointment of the event is not enough to ruin your meal (where can I get a steak this good??) and I can say the same for the rest of the album.
Another Gripe I have is how short the album is, it only clocks at 29:36, which goes by really quickly and the album would've been benefited by more songs, as they are quite short (the average song on this album Is about 3:00) with the longest being 6:45.
Despite these minor gripes, this is an incredible example of technical death metal and I urge every fan of good quality metal to pick this one up, as you will not be disappointed with it.
I didn't enjoy this album the first time that I heard it in it's entirety. Sure, the musical elements and musicianship are indescribable, and the prog elements are outstanding, but the vocals offset me, to say the least. I'm not sure exactly why I was so disturbed by his voice and vocal pattern, but I could not get through the album. I set it down for a few months.
When I finally came back to this album, I realized what a beauty it is, musically, vocally, and conceptually. The progressive and technical elements of Fractured are irreplacable, and belong solely to Capharnaum. The composition of Suecof and Vieira's guitar work is brilliant. Poggione's bass work goes well with the guitars and the drumming on this album.
The first few songs on this album are extraordinary, and the guitar riffing suprised me based on technicality alone. Over time, I grew to love Heafy's voice. It fits the music exceptionally well and there is no longer any qualm in my mind as to why his voice is the way that it is.
A few highlight tracks are "Machines" and "Icon of Malice". Both songs are amazing, have brilliant musicianship, and flow very smoothly. The guitar solos are beautifully put together and definitely give the prog element a bit of a boost where it is needed. The drumming never fails to impress me. Comprised of trash beats, ridiculously long fills, and technical percussion pieces, Jordan Suecof is truly a drummer that can stand on his own two feet in this genre.
To say the very least, Capharnaum takes a bold step in the genre of progressive technical metal. Their music is exceedingly different from other bands that attempt the same style as this band. They are a landmark on modern metal and this album is a staple on the metal "scene" that will always stay.
In conclusion, I would like to state that this album is not limited to a small number of fans. Anyone who enjoys music that is heavier than prog rock will enjoy this album and appreciate its technicality and intellect. I recommend this album to anyone willing to take a half an hour out of their lives to listen to some great musicianship and composition.
This band has brought the casual assumption of destruction and putrefaction into very well organized and assembled Death Metal with eloquence that clearly understands what it wants to achieve, a brutal work were only the truth remains dominant and good artistic quality.
The Guitar here is what would capture the casual listener, as the riffing disputes even the most technical of bands such as Nile, Necrophagist, Spawn of Possession and Martyr. Unlike the majority of those bands, Capharnaum distributes a vast array of imaginative and original riffing which avoids the usual monotonous laziness of most virtuosic instrumental ability such as Dream Theatre, Cryptopsy and Nile. How so? Simply by excellent phrasing and melody, with creative implementation and
introduction to the music..
The vocals here are what gives this material away, although sometimes brutal and entertaining, most of the time it is just continuous singing with interesting lyrics, which do serve importance as this material dabbles in philosophy quite a lot, with interesting observations and how to reject the "free" world.
Structure is excellent, although it is pure frenzy work, no real syncopations or any of the sort exist, although it simply doesn't matter since the contribution of the detailed ideology of this work is impeccable, added to that the fire of the drumming, bass and
guitar playing, you have Capharnaum.
I am awe-struck. I cannot believe that in this day and age, where any old crap gets accepted and passed off as music, in a time where two 15-year-olds can get a Myspace page, record three muted chords in drop D tuning and receive nothing but praise from their peers, that there are still some people out there with such amazing talent and creativity.
Hmmmm, now, where to begin. I do hate to begin reviews - especially when there is so much good to cover, like in a masterpiece such as this.
Wickedly technical riffing makes up about 90% of the music on "Fractured". What is it with disabled Americans named Jason? First Jason Becker, now Jason Suecof. In fact, I would compare the riffing capabilities of the latter, as the riffing equivalent of the shred sumptuousness of the former. The rhythms are pulled off flawlessly, and have a most ideal blend of catchiness, technicality, listenability, and sheer - as much as I dislike the word - brutality.
The solos are impeccable and supremely excellent. The leads, performed by both Mongrain and Suecof, manage to straddle the line of perfect technicality, whilst avoiding the irritating wankery displayed by bands like Necrophagist. Perhaps it's because with Capharnaum, like many other death metal bands, you can actually tell the difference between the solos and the riffs. To compliment the resplendent solos, the riffs played underneath the leads are very simple. This may not sound like a good thing, but it is. Icon of Malice is a great example of this, only a couple of power chords are played, but it makes perfect sense and you wouldn't wish to have anything else played underneath the leads.
Indefectable drums. Jordan Suecof is every bit as good a part of Capharnaum as his brother. Not only the speed of aforementioned instruments - which defy description, and are like participating in drag racing, 0kmh - 400kmh in a matter of seconds - but the precision and exactitude with which he plays them is purely incommunicable. Even his slower beats are not just a backbeat, they contribute positively to the overall sound of the band and contain all sorts of complicated little fills and the like. They may have only released two records and Jordan may only be very young in comparison, but this guy is already up there with the Mouniers, Roddys, Barkers and Kollias'.
Now, I haven't gotten around to mentioning the vocals yet. And yes, you're probably skeptical because Matt Heafy sings in Trivium, and that's understandable. But, Matt's vocals are not the least bit gutteral, or mumbly farts, but they are stronger than your average hardcore growl - I don't really know how to describe it, they aren't the best part of the band, but they are on par and do not sound the least bit out of place. But if it turns out you don't like Matt Heavy's vocal efforts, vocals don't play a huge part in Capharnaum's repertoire, so it should be tolerable, and even then, Jason Suecof does all vocals on "Icon of Malice" and "Machines".
This album has the rare characteristic of having not just one, but TWO greatest songs ever written. These tracks are "Perpetuate Catatonia" and "Icon of Malice". I can sit here and mouth enough compliments as I want, but it still won't do these magnificent songs the justice they deserve. Seriously, you must hear them for yourself, because I cannot describe them adequately. Apart from this, I cannot really pick out any serious stand-out tracks because they are all brilliant in their own different ways - the great and the simple, the short and the epic.
Even the sound quality and production manages to be totally and utterly unblemished. The instruments have been mixed together without fault, and the guitar tone is very gritty and raw. This does not mean it is too raw, but neither is it overdone so it sounds farty and cuts away from the general intensity of the record.
Quite simply - this is the perfect technical death metal album.
As I said - this album is just flawless. Everything is perfect. This is probably the best technical death album I own - if not the best album I own. I think that even non-metalheads, and even passionate haters of metal, would enjoy this album, and trust me, it's hard to extract a statement like that from me. Death metal bands that I quite enjoy, such as Deicide and Cannibal Corpse, I am used to receiving sardonic comments about. But if you were to play this CD to someone who is a predominantly passionate fan of jazz, ambient, rock, avant-garde music, almost any style except for trendy little pop-bitches, I can picture any of the aforementioned musicians enjoying this CD, or at the very least appreciating it. (Minus, as I stated, the teeny-boppers, but they don't deserve to listen to good music anyway.) I cannot stress strongly enough that this album needs to be bought. Even if you spend your life savings on it, or if your country will make you "disappear" for owning it. This half an hour CD is worth it.
"Fractured" gets 100%. Undoubtedly no less.
This side project from new producer Jason Suecoff and friends is an interesting listen to say the least. With an allstar lineup including the likes of Daniel Mongrain from Martyr and Matthew Heavy of Trivium, this album shows a tremendous display of technicality and catchiness.
The guitar work on here is phenomenal. Suecoff and Mongrain exchange mind blowing riffs and solos throughout the entire record. These guys are pros. Apparently Mongrain would have spent about five days tabbing out and nailing his parts, which is amazing in itself. The drums are also quite spectacular. Jordan Suecoff, despite his young age, proves to have a playing sensibility that is beyond his years. The guy never stops adding little fills or intersting cymbal and high hat work while maintaining a steady yet complex rythm pattern. Time signatures fly around and notes flow like butter, yet it isn't too overwhealming for a casual listener.
The vocals may be the only sour point of the album. Matt Heafy is the singer of Trivium, and does a fair job at it, but his voice does not suit this sound very well. The two tracks where Suecoff sings are the best vocal tracks on the record. His voice is deep and more reminiscent of a death metal sound.
The guitar solos are out of this world, infusing jazzy patterns along with shredfests of sweep and alternate picking. The song structures are short and to the point, similar to that of Atheist's work. They don't go overboard on song length and it helps keep the listener interested.
Like I said keep in mind that the vocals are not that great and do not have a very important role in the sound.This record is a tremendous technical effort which musicians and attuned listeners are likely to pick up on.
I've read the first review here a couple of times and then listened to the album afterwards, and the two just don't seem to come together to these ears.
Yes, Capharnaum are technical, yes, they're pretty brutal and dayyum, can they play their instruments, but is there more to it than the sum of the parts? No, not really. For technical death metal, Capharnaum are quite catchy. Unlike a great many contemporaries, their song structures don't meander in a linear fashion, stopping and changing every 5 seconds for songs lasting up to five minutes at a time. In fact, Capharnaum's songs are quite short and to the point, and the riffing isn't so overly fast or changing so often as to throw the casual listener off track. Instead what you get are solid, thrash/death riffs that are intricate and bear stronge resemblance to Martyr (who they share a guitarist with) and Death. Backing it up is solid and competent drumming, but nothing spectacular or dazzling enough to compare to the likes of Proscriptor, Jordan Varela, Alex Erian, Brann Dailor, or, well, many others. The last assets Capharnaum have are remarkably melodic solos and a vocalist who stands out from the crowd, but being different doesn't necessarily mean being good.
And so on to Capharnaum's failings. They are, overall, a band of mediocrities. The vocals have a hardcore-ish feel to them, and while i'm not in any way against such vocal stylings, (I actually consider good hardcore vocals more visceral and aggressive-sounding than most typical DM vocals) this vocalist is neither aggressive or powerful enough to seem convincing, or indeed to match the music he is meant to be fronting. The songs, while not being long enough to lose their way or become boring, are, on the flipside, far too short to feel like they've gone anywhere or done anything. The only element of closure in Capharnaum's music is the excellent soloing, and that alone isn't enough to justify the existence of these songs. Similarly, the whole pacing of the album is skewed as a result. The first somewhat lengthy song, Icon of Malice, is so composed as to sound like three short songs stitched together. The presence of a convincing, more guttural guest vocalist on this track makes it feel like another band's song stuck in the middle of the album; in all, a song that really shouldn't be here at all. The riffing, while competent, is in comparison to a band like Martyr, quite unspectacular, and to top it all off, the production lacks substance or energy. The drums have a dry and precise punch to them which I love, but the guitar tone is thin and trebly. This does of course make the fast picking nice and clear, but it isn't enough for what is meant to be a brutal death metal band. The bass doesn't back-up the guitars in the mix; it is thankfully clear and audible unlike many DM productions, but what is the point in that when is sounds like a loose rubber band being lightly twanged? There's as little depth and low-end in the bass as there is in the guitars, and it doesn't help Capharnaum's lacking case at all.
Although they do at least have the distinction of standing out from the crowd in a busy scene, the 'new big thing' in death metal they most definately are not. Bands like Neuraxis, Lykathe, Mithras and Psycroptic are doing a far more interesting job than Capharnaum.
I just got this CD mail ordered from Willowtip Records and I got it on the sole opinion of someone on a metal forum.
I'm glad that I listened to him, this is one of the best technical metal album since Death-Individual Thought Patterns and Human. Simple as that. You think that I'm over reacting. No, these guys could be the next big thing in DM.
The Floridian band Capharnaum is formed of the Suecof brothers on vox+guitars and drums, the singer from Trivium, bassist from Monstrosity and Dan Mongrain from Martyr on the other guitar. The quintet waste no time on this CD and you will be pulverised just like me within half an hour.
How comes? This is great, awe-inspiring, technical death metal, immensely complicated, but still containing chunky hooks and riffs that are actually memorable. The musicians here do not force things, they let flow great melodic riffs and harmonies that you can easily bang your head to.
The songs are extremely varied in style, ranging from chugging metal riffs to jazzy over the top extravaganza, to inhumane blastbeats and tempos, stop-on-a-dime time changes included. Inspired and great solos are inserted into the songs, actually forming a whole musical experience rather than feeling forced.
The vocals are equally great too, the lead singer screams his lungs out in a way similar to Dolving from the Haunted. Screamy and intense, certainly fitting with the songs. The other singer, emits a purely DM grunt, very brutal and quite undecipherable. Those two mixes very well throughout the album, although the screams are more used, like a 70/30 ratio.
Worth of mention, the drumming is absolutely superb, impossible and immensely technical. Jordan Suecoff is one of the most promising drummers out there, showing tremendous fills and technical over-the-top extravaganza like the best in the genre (Hoglan, Christy, Reinert etc). He can blast too, and that adds to the diversity. All the musicians are equally talented, great virtuosos, pulling out odd-time riffs and arpeggiated chords in a stunning way.
Only downside, it is only 29 minutes long and the songs are all conencted together, giving the feeling that the whole thing is over in a blink of an eye. Oh well, just press play again!!