Capsize – ‘A Reintroduction: The Essence of all That Surrounds Me’

Posted: by Steven Lalonde

I first heard about the band Capsize back in the summer of 2014. At the time I noticed they were touring with my favourite band Counterparts — one of the few hardcore/metal bands that I still listened to religiously. I wasn’t really that into heavy music anymore after college – a time in which I really only ever listened to heavy metal and any “core” genres you can think of – but I still stuck with some bands, namely: Counterparts, Every Time I Die, Architects and Parkway Drive for the most part. In any case, I decided to check out Capsize, and boy, I did not regret my decision at all.

I like to think that I caught onto Capsize at the most opportune time, as their first full length The Angst In My Veins was released in the fall of 2014. I would listen to it regularly, as it kind of brought upon a personal re-discovered fondness for the hardcore/metalcore genres. It was fast-paced, chaotic, emotional and so so angsty. I loved it. Since then they’ve toured the globe non-stop, while their fans, myself include, awaited eagerly for new music. The band later released two singles in 2015 “Enough For Me” & “You Can’t Come Home The Same”, both of which hinted at a new direction the band intended to embark on. Then, with growing anticipation, the band released their first single from their new full-length entitled, “XX (Sew My Eyes)” and lo and behold, what a way to start an album.

The album opens with destructive force with the first track and aforementioned single “XX (Sew My Eyes).” Before you even have a chance to blink, the track grabs you by the collar and yanks you into the crashing opening drum line provided by drummer Andrew Tamayo, which is very Capsize-esque. Lead singer, Daniel Wand wastes no time setting the tone for the song and the entire album as his raw pleading vocal style is enough to hook you in right off the bat. Coupled with arguably the best breakdown on the entire album — and perhaps their entire discography — and lead by emotionally fueled power, the band want listeners to know that they have embarked into new territory, in a sort of re-introduction to themselves, that carries throughout the remainder of the album.

The next two tracks were the subsequent singles released in promotion of the album, and it’s track number two “I Think It’s Best We Don’t Talk Anymore” that truly expresses the new direction of the band. What begins with “clean” vocals is a track that oozes passion and intensity. The song evokes the theme of wanting to walk away from someone for the better, yet not being able to bring yourself to do it. What really stands out about this track is the vocal performance delivered by Wand. Wand proudly stated to Alternative Press that this was “the first song that I have ever recorded that had more singing than screaming in it,” and in all honesty, I believe it’s a breath of fresh air. The third track “Tear Me Apart” opens with a surprisingly melodic guitar riff accompanied by an electronic sound that preludes the aggressive Wand as he continues to mix screaming with singing almost masterfully. Accompanied by Brendan Murphy (Counterparts), Wand conjures raw, honest emotions about problems with his father. Although they’ve since reconciled, the song does carry a heavy purpose that many will likely be able to relate to.

It isn’t until track #6 “Safe Place,” that the bands new sound is positively noticeable. Led by an ambient electronic sound, the track entirely different in comparison to the remainder of the record. Wand’s vocals shine most as the soft harmonious song stands out and represents a nice change of pace from the traditional raucous, aggressive, post-hardcore tones that Capsize fans are accustomed to. Personally, I think the song is perfect for the album. It’s clear that fans will be angered and I know the “I hate that they changed their sound” narrative will cause some fans to be turned off entirely from the record, however, I do think it’s refreshing when a band such as Capsize are able to experiment and progress as musicians and not just stay stuck creating the same record over and over again.

Any doubts that some fans may have about the band are quickly erased in the second half of the album. Although the combination of singing and screaming is still at the forefront, the songs are written with the same vigor and drama that we’ve come to expect. I will not lie, though Wand has managed to expand his vocal range, at times, his style does seem whiney, but with songs such as the final track “The Same Pain,” he’s able to assert himself as a dominant lyricist in the scene. Choruses such as “Never thought that I would see it through, But here I am with empty hands still standing next to you” demonstrate his ability to draw personal, conscientious and charismatic themes to his writing process. Musically speaking, the album’s production is top-notch. Guitarists Ryan Knowles and Nick Lopez provide ominous riffs which are not only melodic but also provide a distinct sound that Capsize has been able to harness the last couple of years. Combined with the pounding drumming style of Andrew Tamayo, the band has created a unique blend of harcdcore, post-hardcore and metalcore, or as I like to call it (I hate genre branding) music.

Overall, though Capsize have transitioned into a new sound with A Reintroduction: The Essence of all That Surrounds Me, they manage to provide the same heavy, aggressive hauntingly honest ideals that were present in their past works. They’ve demonstrated that taking risks and experimenting with a new vibrant sound has provided them to take a big leap forward, not only as a band, but as individual musicians themselves. If you’ve never listened to Capsize, this album truly encapsulates their entirety, and then some. If you’re already familiar with Capsize, don’t settle for just one listen. Let it grow on you. Capsize have managed to get back onto my already small list of hardcore bands I listen to, and I strongly doubt they’re going away any time soon.

Score: 9/10

Favourite Tracks: XX (Sew My Eyes), Tear Me Apart