CAPTAIN BEYOND — Captain Beyond

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CAPTAIN BEYOND - Captain Beyond cover
4.25 | 21 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1972

Tracklist

1. Dancing madly backwards (on a sea of air) (4:02)
2. Armworth (1:48)
3. Myopic void (3:30)
4. Mesmerization eclipse (3:48)
5. Raging river of fear (3:51)
6. Thousand days of yesterday (intro) (1:19)
7. Frozen over (3:46)
8. Thousand days of yesterday (time since come and gone) (3:56)
9. I can't feel nothing (part 1) (3:06)
10. As the moon sparks (to the waves of the sea) (2:25)
11. Astral lady (0:16)
12. As the moon sparks (return) (2:13)
13. I can't feel nothing (part 2) (1:13)

Total Time: 35:13

Line-up/Musicians

- Bobby Caldwell / drums, percussion, vibes, bells, piano, backing vocals
- Lee Dorman / bass, piano, backing vocals
- Rod Evans / lead vocals
- Larry Reinhardt / acoustic, electric & slide guitars

About this release

LP Capricorn CP0105 (1972)
1972 - WEA(UK): alternate cover
1972 - Warner(Japan): picture disc
1972 - Capricorn(US): 3D cover, limited edition
1990 - Polydor(Japan) CD
1997 - Capricorn(US) CD: remastered
2007 - Tapestry(UK) LP: 180 gram, limited edition

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition and cannon, adg211288 for the updates

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Modrigue
Stoning beyond our galaxy

Consider the musical universe of the 70's. If HAWKWIND was the stoner captain in our Milky Way, CAPTAIN BEYOND was another one, however clearly navigating through a different galaxy. Where do those space corsairs comes from? This obscure band is in fact a supergroup composed of former members of well-known prestigious formations: ex-DEEP PURPLE's vocalist Rod Evans, ex-IRON BUTTERFLY's guitarist Larry Reinhardt and bassist Lee Dorman and ex-Johnny WINTER's drummer Bobby Caldwell. So is this another hard-blues formation? A pale copy of the aforementioned bands? Not at all.

CAPTAIN BEYOND's eponymous debut really is an unique mixture of hard/heavy riffs with space/psychedelic/acid rock elements. Is it progressive? Yes, in a sense that this album is more a patchwork than a collection of songs. The music is unpredictable, evolving, moving, as if the CAPTAIN was constantly re-adapting the trajectory of his ship through the unexpected turbulences of the cosmic void. Furthermore, the record is catchy, accessible and avoids being repetitive or messy. The tracks are full of unusual changes and breaks, years before RUSH's proto-prog-metal. This is no touristic stationary cruising, prepare to be surprised. There are signs that do not lie: the original cover art was in 3D. Fasten your seatbelts, an epic journey through undiscovered stellar systems awaits you...

Rather than 13 tracks, the disc should been rather seen as composed of 3 mini-epics plus 2 songs. The first 3 tracks form the first mini-epic, lasting 9 minutes. The take-off is immediate with the heavy "Dancing Madly Backwards", its acceleration and solo will send you directly beyond our galaxy through a wormhole to an unknown destination. Mindblowing! The floating syncoped "Armworth" symbolizes the arrival, introducing the calm and ambient "Myopic Void". You can now rest and admire the stars. Don't relax too much though, the ship re-accelerates to speed of light for a boosted-up reprise of "Armworth"'s theme. The finale is a genuine sonic deflagration. Simply great! One of the best space heavy rocks from the 70's! The aggressive "Mesmerization Eclipse" is a very nice hard rock with many rhythm changes, while "Raging River Of Fear" sounds like DEEP PURPLE on serious acids. It even includes a small jazz-rock interlude.

The next 3 tracks are the second 9 minutes long mini-epic. Don't rely on the acoustic introduction "Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Intro)", "Frozen Over" is a evolving black hole that gets as thrilling as RUSH's "Cygnus X-1", years ahead! The surprising reprise is terrific! "Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Time since come and gone)" concludes on a lighter SANTANA-like tone. The last 5 tracks from the third 10 minutes suite. Starting as a cool hard rock, "I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 1)" turns out to be pretty ferocious, until "As The Moon Speaks (To The Waves Of The Sea)" arrives as a welcomed pause when you can peacefully admire star systems at the window... However, the journey is not over yet. The (very) short raging "Astral Lady" unveils a beautiful solo on "As The Moon Speaks (Return)" and prepares the reprise "I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part 2)". As you may now expect, the finale is once again worthy of its predecessors. Blimey!

What a pretty impressive journey beyond the stars! "Captain Beyond" is a little spatial treasure containing lots of gems. The quality is constant and the interest maintained intact through the many unexpected changes and the surprise factor is always there, even after several listens. Gorgeous riffs, spacey moments, Rod Evans' rock'n'roll crooner accents and Bobby Caldwell's original rhythms bring the final touches making this album quite special.

CAPTAIN BEYOND's self-titled debut is typically what astrophysicists call a singularity: unique and uncategorizeable. A sonic meteorite or a comet only visible once per century, carrying the listener among several musical stellar systems. The band already exposes innovative ideas and their own identity here. An essential trip for 70's hard/heavy/stoner/space rock lovers! Don't miss the spaceship!

The singularity notion also has its drawbacks: the next albums will unfortunately not be as inspired and breathtaking, the musicians themselves looking like they've lost the coordinates of this extraterrestrial music...
voila_la_scorie
Following the paths of the various members of Deep Purple lead me to Captain Beyond. DP Mk I vocalist Rod Evans took up the mic for Captain Beyond. But what thrilled me was that Iron Butterfly's guitarist Larry (Rhino) Rienhardt and bassist Lee Dorman were also part of this outfit. Rhino appeared on the final Butterfly studio effort Metamorphosis before the band split up for a while (restarted later for two albums by "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"/"Ball" guitarist Erik Brann). Metamorphosis is my favourite Iron Butterfly album because of the guitar sound and variety of riffs, rhythms and time signatures.

Captain Beyond's first album does not disappoint. It starts off a rock album with no gimmicks or tricks. Rhino's innovative guitar playing is backed by a heavy rhythm section provided by Dorman's bass and the splintering drums of Bobby Caldwell (Who? Well, you know him now!). The man has a full arsenal of drumming skill and he doesn't hold back. Rod Evans was never much of a hard rock vocalist but he gives it a good effort, sometimes surprisingly on the edge, once or twice a little over the edge of his abilities. By the time the album reaches tracks four and five - "Mesmerization Eclipse" and "Raging River of Fear" respectively - you are starting to wonder if these guys plan to just rock away the whole album. In fact, there are only a couple of acoustic parts and no real ballads. Any track that starts slow doesn't stay that way for much more than a minute. Then it's back to the hard rock and roll machinegun attack. The final track "I Can't Feel Nothin' (Part II)" closes the album with a brief but rock out tune that should encourage fist pumping and head banging.

Like Iron Butterfly's "Metamorphosis", Captain Beyond's first album features ever changing guitar riffs, chord progressions, and time signatures. As my old guitar teacher said about Butterfly, "It's as if they are trying to put as many notes in the song as possible." The album has two song clusters, groups of related tracks with parts and intros. Sometimes it is hard to tell when one track has ended and the next has begun. The lyrics of "Myopic Void" close with the title for "Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air)". On the other hand, the 15- second instrumental "Astral Lady" is nothing more than a guitar solo joining "As the Moon Speaks (To the Waves of the Sea)" and "As the Moon Speaks (Return)". You might wonder why the guitar break was only 15 seconds. What was the point of giving it a name? Maybe it was a psychedelic thing.

The guitar sound never gets really heavy with distortion. A suitable comparison would be Oasis's "F**king in the Bushes". Nevertheless, the album rocks and Captain Beyond proves to have no shortage of ideas for the guitar. By the time the album has played through you'll be wondering what hit you.

As a proto-metal album it fits the bill nicely. Highly recommended to heavy prog and 70's hard rock fans.
Warthur
Captain Beyond's self-titled album combines hard rock heroics with prog-derived song suite structures to offer up a memorable trip. With Rod Evans adding a quintessentially hard rock voice to proceedings and Larry Reinhardt delivering a similarly muscular performance, this certainly isn't one of the more delicate or pretty prog albums of the 1970s, but it does deserve to sit alongside the early Queen albums as a good example of how prog song structures can rock with the best of them. The album was dedicated to the late Duane Allman, who had helped convince Capricorn Records to take on the supergroup, and there's definitely a certain bluesiness to the riffing here and there, so if you wanted to hear what the Allman Brothers or Cream would have sounded like had they turned their music in a proggier direction this album might just answer that question.
Sinkadotentree
CAPTAIN BEYOND released this album back in 1972. They were regarded as somewhat of a super-group with two members of IRON BUTTERFLY joining DEEP PURPLE's early vocalist Rod Evans, then add session drummer Bobby Caldwell who played with Johnny Winters and many others. Many of these tracks blend into each other as we are presented with a heavy brand of music that rocks pretty hard throughout but there is a psychedelic vibe thrown in as well. This doesn't remind of DEEP PURPLE though, probably because there is no organ on this one. Surprisingly i've never fallen in love with this album but it certainly is worth 4 stars.
AtomicCrimsonRush
Thanks to reviewers I was drawn to this album like a moth to a flame. Immediately I was dazzled by crunching riffs with heavy guitars and then amazing time changes locking into killer riffing with dirty guitar sounds and serious vocals. The time sigs changes so dramatically it is hard to keep up but it is such a delight to be treated to an obscurity like this hiding in the prog vaults. It begins with 'Dancing Madly Backwards (On a Sea of Air)' with all the time shifts and then blazes straight into 'Armworth' with Rod Evans' vocals, from Deep Purple, and hard rocking non stop rock rhythms.

The riffs are always prevalent and driving headlong to new half time feels and awesome instrumental breaks with the mind bending guitars of Rhino, from Iron Butterfly. His slide guitar work is absolutely psychedelic and atmospheric. Bobby Caldwell was a brilliant drummer and has a field day on percussion injecting timpani triplets and odd beats throughout. The bass of Lee Dorman is a constant pulse. 'Mesmerization Eclipse' is the first break into a different feel after the non stop opening suite of songs. There is another heavy riff and Deep Purple style vocals. They are much more progressive though, and once again the song reaks into several signatures, the band are brimming over with creativity and one never knows where they will go next, fast to slow to downright out of place, each meter is a pattern that locks on with that ever present heavy guitar. I didn't like the way this faded out slowly but immediately the next riff settles in on 'Raging River Of Fear'. This has a heavy bluesy feel, aggressive vocals and accomplished rhythm changes. The drums on this are incredible, constantly providing new tempos and fast paced beats and fills.

'Thousand Days Of Yesterday (Intro)' settles down the fury with quiet acoustic picking and gentle vocals. The harmonies are nice and the overall feel is melancholy to break away from the heaviness before and after. It doesn't last long as the next moment guitars crunch in and a fast tempo with forced vocals on 'Frozen Over'. The half time feel on this is astonishing injecting new metrics and it then changes completely in the next section. Nobody changes time sigs like Captain Beyond; so rapid and always appropriate. It fades into an accelerated acoustic rhythm on 'Thousand Days Of Yesterdays (Time Since Come & Gone)'.

A fantastic rhythm locks in and Rhino is dynamic in the lead break. It fades and hammering chords intro 'I Cant Feel Nothin (Part 1)'. The drums are dazzling along with another massive riff. The vocals are easy on the ears and close to the Bachman Turner Overdrive style. The music continues non stop with a suite of songs; 'As The Moon Speaks (To the Waves of the Sea)' a quiet acoustic piece of beauty with narrative vocals, 'Astral Lady', 'As The Moon Speaks (Return)' back to the pounding rock of 'I Cant Feel Nothin (Part 2)'.

What a fantastic heavy slice of heavy prog with an obscurity that should be unearthed and played often. A great find for any heavy prog fan and one to return to habitually.

Members reviews

Bmiler
One of those albums that just won't let up the whole way through. Usually I shy at the thought of a "supergroup", a collection of well-established musicians coming together, but then giving you something like Asia. Not with the case of Captain Beyond, with Rod Evans from Deep Purple Mk. I, Lee Dorman from Iron Butterfly (including In-a-Gadda-da-Vida), Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt from Iron Butterfly (on Metamorphosis), and Bobby Caldwell, a session musician who played for Johnny Winter, amongst others.

Apparently Duane Allman recommended the band to Capricorn Records. The album was released with a lenticular cover, kinda like the Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request, or the special edition version of Opeth's Heritage. Not like the Southern Rock you might associate this label with. What you have is just some really unbelievable hard rock, lots of great guitar playing, the occasional psychedelic and space rock overtones, even a touch of Southern Rock (more of the bluesy variety than the country-influenced variety). The music segues into each other, so there is no interruption (aside from flipping over sides if you own the LP). Oh yeah, if you were put off by Rod Evans' "cabaret" singing in Purple Mk. I, you'll be shocked at the bluesy/hard rock approach he does here. You can guess that had he sung like that in Purple Mk. I, he would have received greater respect. It's hard for me to pick favorites, but "Raging River of Fear" has a bit of a Cream-like feel, because the vocals remind me of Jack Bruce. It's an album you gotta hear to believe!

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