Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond
Psychedelic/Progressive/Classic Hard Rock
13 songs (35:07)
Release year: 1971
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

Super-groups within the hard rock/early metal genre weren't quite as common in the early seventies as they are now even though the term was created back in the sixties. Bands such as Cream and Bad Company however, set the standard rather firmly, and the trend has carried onwards since then. Captain Beyond, while not an A-list super-group contains one of the forming members of Deep Purple, Johnny Winter's drummer as well as Iron Butterfly's bassist and guitarist. Together they formed this, maybe the early 70's best kept secrets when it comes to psychedelic, heavy and even doom-y hard rock. Captain Beyond definitely had the potential demanded for commercial success back in the day. Sadly however, like so many others, they remained but a small yet bright spot on the night-sky that weren't noticed by many. This is an absolute cult gem hidden away in the shadows, and I doubt that anyone who digs it up ever puts it back in the dark.

Captain Beyond sounds like a mixture of all the huge acts in the seventies. The apocalyptic doom-y hard rock of Black Sabbath, post-Shades... Deep Purple, Rush, Led Zeppelin and even some hints of the acid psychedelic master Jimi Hendrix. Even though I don't really know what it's about, this is supposed to be a concept album. The songs flow very naturally, and the first trio is basically the same track split up in three pieces. Upbeat and with slightly odd time-signatures Dancing Madly Backwards kicks off the rave, as warm, fizzling riffs gets things going while strange, space-y sounds floats around in between. This song particularly reminds me of later Machine Head-era Deep Purple with the solid, entertaining guitar-playing and the plain yet groovy riffs. Armworth and Myopic Void are, as I mentioned earlier, more or less a continuation of the opener, although the latter is drenched in purple haze and screaming LSD before it finishes of the nearly ten-minute opening triple threat with a blast. The shape-shifting Mesmerization Eclipse and slightly slower yet extremely cool River of Raging Fear are a bit more geared towards the acid riffs of Hendrix as well as a hint of Black Sabbath come Paranoid yet maybe a little more lively and sparkling. The guitar-work is outstanding, and takes you flying on pink clouds through narrow mountain-passes and deep valleys. After the acoustic passage Thousand Days of Yesterday (intro), the upbeat, metal-like Frozen Over gallops away into the sunset. Thousand Days of Yesterday (Times Since Come and Gone) continues the show with a happier approach before I Can't Feel Nothing (Part 1) takes over with a funky, bluesy groove, shattering drums and once again great-guitar playing. Too bad the ride ends way before its time with a short ending quintet that clocks in for just over six minutes.

The musical picture is well-rounded, and the sound is fat and juicy. The songs pulsates like the healthiest of hearts and will give you a bunch of psychedelic, sometimes proggy, sometimes straight-forward hard rock with hints of early early metal to digest. The only low-point about this album is that it's way to short. Even though it contains 13 songs, it doesn't clock in for more than about 35 minutes. However, you should be more than able to enjoy this for what it is, and just hit the repeat-button whenever your CD-player stops buzzing. This is definitely one of the coolest albums of the seventies, and it's a damn shame that so few have looked it up and added it to their collection. If you're a fan of 70's hard rock and the mandatory bundle of bands it includes (who isn't?), you should get off your ass and listen to this at once. Go get it, it's a truly great album, highly recommended.

Killing Songs :
Album as a whole
Thomas quoted 92 / 100
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