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CAPA- Shallow Towers (EP Review)
Album: Shallow Towers
Shallow Towers is an EP released in 2012 by the American black metal band CAPA. It is the second release from the band, and continues the story that began on their debut The Road is a Grey Tape. Shallow Towers is a far more mature and ambitious release than the band’s debut. CAPA’s sound falls mainly into the ‘blackgaze’ hybrid genre which blends black metal music with shoegaze and post rock.
"Shallow Towers I"
There were a couple of things that I immediately liked about Shallow Towers. One was the fact that the EP is ambient, but there is more to draw the listener into the EP than the just the ambience of it. Several of the guitar melodies are actually quite memorable instead of just atmospheric and moody (although they are both of those things, as well). I also like the dynamics and diversity displayed on Shallow Towers. There is a good blend of soft and heavy, and a remarkable range of vocal style- the vocalist switches between a black metal voice and a deeper type of growl which is something I have not come across within the post rock and shoegaze influenced black metal genre. Speaking of the genre, Shallow Towers clearly draws influence from many sources. If I had to compare CAPA to a particular band, Lantlos is the one that comes to mind (which is a good thing, because I love Lantlos). They have that common trait of actually being heavy and metallic when they are trying to be. Oftentimes bands miss out on that, leading me to like them less (Alcest for example). However, CAPA has longer songs than both of these bands and seems to focus more on building a great atmosphere.
All of the instrumentation is very good. The musicians are skilled at what they do. The guitars are flawless. While not particularly complex or technical, they are what mainly propel the music forward. Many of the tremolo picked riffs (especially in the first song) are surprisingly memorable. The vocals are proficient, as well. As I said before, there are both lower and higher growls throughout the music. This adds a good bit of variety to the two songs, and it was one of the things I liked about the EP from the first listen onwards. I can’t say much about the bass. It’s good, but not at the forefront of the music. Lastly, the drums are respectable as well. They are not flashy, but they are nice and solid. Overall, the band gives an excellent performance from a musical standpoint.
"Shallow Towers II"
Shallow Towers consists of just two songs. “Shallow Towers I” is the more direct of the pair, and it is the easiest to get into. It introduces the sound of the band through a haunting clean guitar passage, just before striking the listener with full black metal instrumentation. CAPA are extremely good at the black metal part. The riffs are awesome, and the vocals are incredible. In fact, CAPA are at their best when playing the black metal parts on the album. The acoustic part towards the end of the song has some growling buried beneath the guitars, which I found to be very intriguing and enjoyable. The two songs play almost as one, as they are connected by similar sounds at the end of the first track and the beginning of the second. “Shallow Towers II” begins with an acoustic guitar riff that’s eerie (in a good way) and ethereal. It is followed by some calm guitar strumming that lasts for nearly three minutes into the song. Eventually, the song explodes much like the first song. However, it ends up having even more stylistic variation than the first song. Both of the songs are extremely beautiful, meaningful, and well-written. They are basically equal in quality.
I would recommend Shallow Towers to anyone into the ‘blackgaze’ genre. It’s very refreshing and somewhat different from what other bands are doing. The band has a nice atmosphere and a unique style within the genre. They are all talented musicians and skilled songwriters. Shallow Towers is incredibly good- especially for an EP. It’s very professional sounding, and the songs are quite beautiful. I will be watching for this band’s future releases, both EPs and full-lengths.
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