I don’t know what post-rock means. Noted music historian Wikipedia tells me that it’s an umbrella term for music that uses rock instruments in a decidedly not rock way, relying on a number of varied and seemingly unrelated influences. But to me that seems like a long-winded way of saying “non-conventional” or “experimental.”
Still, the definitions provided by both myself and Dr. Wiki don’t directly apply to Capture the Sun, an instrumental band out of Orono. On the surface their songs are prog-metal epics, the sort of things you’d play at your next Dungeons and Dragons game to set the mood of monster slaying or ye flask getting. All the right pieces are there: the machine-gun beats, the squealing guitars, the smothering bass. However, those familiarities are applied to structures that have all the consistency of a high-speed car crash. These songs shift their tempos and tones at the drop of a hat to create their own narratives within themselves. And with six of the songs pushing beyond the five minute mark, this happens a lot.
What I find most striking about Capture the Sun is the how they execute the transitions between peaceful and chaotic. “War Is Coming to This Island” gives you just a few seconds to enjoy the serenity of a far-flung tropic shore before these guys come in and smash it all to hell. “Oceans of Glass” may very well be an attempt at something upbeat or celebratory, but the glistening guitar solos still have an edge of violence thanks to the never-ending war drums that carry them.
It’s hard to call this a collection of songs since each one tends to bleed into the next, but Capture the Sun shows how to construct an album that way and get away with it: never get comfortable, and stay two steps ahead of the listener.
A while ago, some loyal Dispatch reader commented on one of our reviews saying that I shouldn’t point out how long songs are because it makes it seem like I have the attention of a gnat. Well, newsflash, I have the attention span of a gnat. The test for the musicians I get to review is to keep things interesting and fresh for the length of the tune and not write ten-minute long songs just for the sake of doing it. If you have a long song, it better be worth it and there had better be a purpose. It had better be interesting.
So you can imagine the dread that my attention span felt when I hopped over to Capture the Sun’s Bandcamp site to check out their record and saw song lengths upwards of eight minutes and the word “instrumental”. Uh oh.
Luckily, Capture the Sun has an attention span as short, if not shorter, than mine given how much is going on here all the time, and how quickly they make it all happen. And I get carpal tunnel just thinking about the guitar work on this.
The record gets off to a shaky start with “Repeat” which has a few slight flubs instrumentally but, when that’s all you’re offering, precision is key. As the record moves along though, it is amazingly tight and energetic and hard to not get swept up in. Plus, it’s fun. By the time “Geothermal” and “Calculating…Remaining” start cutting off and blending into one another, “*Epic Pose*” arrives to completely melt faces, mixing blistering playing with some slower, defined melodies.
The final four tracks of the record are all quite lengthy but offer a quartet of stretched out compositions with large doses of variety and melody. The selling point here is the playing which, aside from a hit here and a note dropped there, is tops. If you are already a fan of instrumental prog-metal, Capture the Sun is well worth hearing, if not, you could do a whole lot worse.
Take a listen below!