Album: A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me
Being human means living with your emotions—and establishing a coexistence with them that allows you to function without being overwhelmed, yet still being able to channel them such to avoid being labeled a “sociopath,” or “apathetic.” It’s a see-saw; a ship barely making its way across tumultuous seas, and much of it relies on our ability to cope with sudden emotional traumas. Most of the time, it’s easy enough—an unexpected twist or turn in our lives can be anticipated and corrected for with quickness. However, there are times where our emotional stability is more than strained or tested, but rather completely overturned—and the latest full-length record by the intensely emotional post-hardcore act Capsize is the soundtrack to such moments. A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me (A Reintroduction) is an energetic, barbaric display of no-holds-barred bitterness and brooding. Aligning themselves somewhere between an adolescent UnderOATH and the final album by Drop Dead, Gorgeous (The Hot’n’Heavy, if you forgot), Capsize overwhelm the listener with melody expertly blended with brutalizing aggression, breaking every bone in the listener’s ribcage just to cleanly tear out their exposed heart.
Not since The Hot’n’Heavy has an album blended catchiness and crushing heaviness as brilliantly as A Reintroduction. Capsize’s soundscape is bright, brilliant and poppy at times—see “Tear Me Apart” or “The Same Pain,” while still channeling dissonance and devastation at the end of barn-burners like “XX (Sew My Eyes).” Percussionist Andrew Tamayo assists heavily in facilitating this tasteful blend of post-hardcore and metalcore—with his more aggressive patterns in “XX” and “Favorite Secret” giving the tracks amplified boldness and aggression, while his more mellow patterns and flashy cymbals in “I Think It’s Best We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Tear Me Apart” allowing for bassist Joey Toarminaand guitarists Chris Darton and Ryan Knowles to harmonize and create melodies that stay caught in the listener’s mind for months. Toarmina holds down Capsize’s crushing low-end, amplifying Tamayo’s deep kick drum and coating his explosive, lingering toms with a gritty layer of dissonance. Meanwhile, Darton and Knowles are a dynamic duo that are just as adept at catchy, cleanly-played riffs (“Tear Me Apart” excels here, once more) as they are at distorted, downtuned grooves and chugs (“XX” and “One Day I Won’t Be So Easy to Forget” hold this aspect of the album down). The duo oscillate back and forth between fearsome, furious aggression—often popping up towards the end of otherwise catchy and innocent anthems like “One Day…” And “Split My Soul”—and dancy, upbeat harmonies, giving A Reintroduction plenty of styles as well as a spectrum of heaviness for listeners to experience during its moderate, full-bodied run-time.
Where A Reintroduction is solid instrumentally, it doesn’t gain any of its stand-out punch or scathing emotional content from the guitars or the drums—that all comes from the mind and throat of frontman Daniel Wand. Wand’s grating, shrill screams split open eardrums and peel flesh from bone—just so his cleanly sung choruses and catchy verses can invade the listener’s psyche unobstructed. Songs like “XX” and “The Same Pain” see him at his most bitter and betrayed, using more harsh vocals than clean ones to mirror his aggravated and intense lyrics. Meanwhile, “Split My Soul” and the mellow, moody “Safe Place” see him using his clean, crystalline singing voice to its full effect, crooning his way into the listener’s head with surreal ease. Wand’s vocal diversity and lyrical brilliance take a decent musical performance and make it more than memorable, as there is no question that anyone who has put their heart on the line for another will feel every syllable Wand spits down to the core of their existence—especially as he repeats “I want to be over you” during the heart-rending climax to“Over You.”
Where Capsize tell a tried-and-true, brilliantly nostalgic tale with A Reintroduction, the album is ever so slightly monotonous. For many, this is a non-issue—as they will find themselves so engrossed in the words Wand brays that the album will pass by in mere minutes. However, after repeated listens, the release—particularly the second half—will feel somewhat homogenous, with Capsize re-using similar tactics again and again as Wand’s lyrical content begins to overstay it’s welcome. On the whole though, Wand tells a tale of heartbreak for the heartbroken, meaning that those who relate (see: most fans of post-hardcore) will likely overlook the slightly repetitive nature of the album if they even notice—making A Reintroduction an album that listeners will find themselves playing on a loop, discovering and rediscovering new and exciting tidbits for months on end.
For Fans Of: UnderOATH, Drop Dead, Gorgeous, Emarosa, Norma Jean
By: Connor Welsh